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Snow and the UK

January 5, 2010

I keep looking out of the window in the hope that our road might see the same heavy fall of snow we were greeted with around about (give or take a month) this time last year. There’s little to reassure me snow is on it’s way.

All I can see is the Russian teenager across the road in his bedroom playing computer games in his unlit bedroom, the light of Mohammed’s bedroom hidden behind a curtain next door and a line of parked cars. At the time of writing I know from BBC News that Luton airport has been closed due to trouble with snow.

When will south-east London get it exactly? And, whilst I’m posing a question, what is our fascination with snow all about? Why are we so obsessed with snow?

I think I know the answer the last question. I draw on personal experience.

There’s no more reliable shortcut to childhood memories than the promise of heavy snowfall. The Jacob family was once caught in a snowdrift on the way back from a school carol service. We were forced to abandon the family car and stay the night with people nearby. We didn’t know them. And yet they were so kind. Their home was so cosy warm. It was the perfect adventure. There was absolutely nothing traumatic about it.

Bring on the snow, I say. Pack all the kids up (if you have them) in the back of the vehicle. Go driving in a snowdrift. Really. It’s the best way to promote a spirit of the blitz.

Of course, there are sad stories. There are stories of reckless driving. There are stories of sudden bereavement. One musn’t joke.

Even so. Snow brings out the kid in most (if not all) of us. That’s why we love it. That’s why when the Met Office start issuing severe weather warnings us snow-lovers start rubbing our hands together with glee and going out to buy the woolly hat and glove set we didn’t receive from Santa. We want to feel that nip in the air. We want other commuters to yearn for the same multi-layer protection we’ve invested in.

We love snow.

South-east London hasn’t seen it yet. I remain optimistic. I want the 12 inches we’ve been promised. And I want to battle against the elements and make it to work so I can sit smugly in the office and know I made every effort and succeeded in getting in. If the conversation I overheard on the DLR train home I was forced to take (due to “wintry weather”) is anything to go by, snowfall also provides the down-trodden with more opportunities to slag off the laziness of work colleagues. “He’s got no excuse not to get into work,” said a seemingly aggrieved commuter on the way home, “it’s a 30 minute walk to work for him. It’s take me an hour using public transport.” Miserable so and so.

But while us townies wait for mother nature to do what the weathermen promise us it will do over the capital, I’ve got a good half-hour in watching the BBC News Channel. It’s there I’m guaranteed views of the kind of snow I’d like to see whenever the weathermen say it will be bad – basically I want it to be as bad as the night we got stranded in the snowdrift – but it also offers windows into the rest of the country.

It’s actually quite a relief to see shots of Liverpool and Manchester and Yorkshire and .. places which aren’t London. Especially when they’re covered in snow. Especially when the gas central heating is switched to full blast and I have a glass of cheap merlot in my grasp.

And whilst I know that’s a shameless, sad, narrow-minded and utterly southern view to take and express, I can only be honest. It’s snow which has brought me images of the rest of the country. And whilst I’m a teensy bit jealous the rest of the country has got it before us lot in the capital, I’m making up by watching it on the TV.

Yes. I’m just a kid at heart.

UPDATE: Of course. Just as I post this .. what happens? It’s snows. There’s a fantastic justification for blogging.

  1. People can be wonderful when faced with peeps in difficulty, can’t they? Where I live we’re vulnerable to people pretending to be broken down & needing a phone, cuppa, etc… have to remember to bring them mobile in road, take out a coffee flask etc, rather than trust them indoors when we’re so close to major getaway routes!

    I was brought up in the sticks but still adore snow. Can’t help it! In fact, I am now going to let in the fierce cold draught to find out if it’s falling right now.

    Big baby. ;o)

  2. Love snow, just hate driving to work in it. Glad you got some.

    A x

  3. cyberguycalif permalink

    Becareful what you wish for, you could turn into Scotland or the American Midwest right now. While I don’t live where it snows (it did once in the late 1970’s), I kind of wish for just a little sometimes like around Christmas. It would be nice to have some playful snow and not killer snow like some places have now.

    At least where I like you can drive to snow in a few hours, play in it for awhile, and then drive home where it is nice again.

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