Monday, 9 February 2009

The Delights and Dispair of Snow

Snow has been subject of much debate lately due to this extraordinarily long period of cold weather. Questions arise like “Why does the country come to a standstill with an inch of snow?” and “I can remember when I was a kid when winters were real winters…” Well I have no such experiences of long hard winters except perhaps one in the late seventies where the local bypass had snow piled up either side to several feet.

But I can remember in my childhood home rubbing beautiful and intricately patterned ice off the inside of the windows in a morning. You have to remember however that ‘in those days’ (showing age and maturity) we had single glazing and no form of heating in the bedrooms (showing good memory) and pyjamas and a dressing gown were a must if you didn’t want to freeze to death on the journey between the bedroom and equally cold bathroom. I can still remember a stoneware hot water bottle that my grandparents used to have for their bed in the tall three storey Victorian house I used to live in as a kid. Double glazing, central heating, smaller rooms, carpets and instant access to gas/electric fires have made us soft perhaps, hence why we probably suffer more colds and sniffles these days.

Let’s face it this country has always come to a standstill whenever there has been snow – when was it any different? Why do we moan about it – it happens in a winter – live with it! My concern I suppose is the economy and our jobs. More of us feel the need to take a risk and travel to work. Bosses should be more understanding (ha!) and good bosses (and there are some) should put contingency plans in place to allow workers to ‘work from home’. Clearly, extremes of weather allegedly caused by climate change will continue but it doesn’t necessarily mean temperatures are simply rising; as I understand it weather will be come more extreme which means harsher winters and hotter summers. I just need to buy more table salt for the drive in case the council run out - they've bought up all the gritting salt! I have some rock salt in the kitchen cupboard, it's better for my health but is it good for the environment?

The forecasters will tell you that long hard winters when it snowed for weeks and winters were permanently cold year after year is an urban myth like long hot summers every year – they never existed; statistically anyway. Simply put, the memory plays tricks because as kids we had the freedom to spend more time outside; thats it! But I do have this child-like fascination with snow – I love it, which I know is selfish because it does bring hardship to the vulnerable, but I can’t help it. I love being in and watching thunderstorms and seeing hard rain bouncing off roofs. But being fifty something does mean that for the first time, I feel the effect of the cold more. I was out just before Christmas in a particularly chilly wind gathering up the tons of leaves that seem to end up in my garden from the surrounding town’s trees when, after an hour outside I couldn’t feel my face at all and it took ages for the feeling to come back so I could get to the point where I could smile or articulate my words properly. And here’s the rub, I’m not fit enough to wade through feet of snow having fun or climbing up hillsides all day to go tobogganing.

So here I am – a spectator of the wintry weather, still affected by it through higher heating bills, longer journeys to work, more reluctance to walk, work, drive or play in it, but I still love the magic of the sight of thick laying snow.

BTW (text speak for 'by the way' - is that cool that I know that?) I only knew one blogger personally, Andy Comfort a senior broadcaster on BBC Radio Humberside. I met another today - Lisa and I look forward to reading her blogs about food - a favourite pastime of mine.

NO spelling mistakes today - wow.

Chat soon…

Ta ra!

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