just imagine a space alien landing in the UK in early January 2010. It’s their first visit, and on reading the papers he’d think we were the coldest place in the world (he may even say it Clarkson style, for effect). And that we were all about to die – and that children would instantly maime themselves if they were allowed within 50 yards of any educational establishment. Yes folks, we had some snow. Sure, it was more than we normally get, but for most of us it barely got below -4 or 5 celsius, and in some parts of the world such temperatures would indicate it is time to take your coat off and sunbathe. But yet we still forget all that and behave like civilised life has ended in some sort of big freeze.
That’s not to say that the cold weather doesn’t bring problems – but it brought a lot less hassle than the twit who told councils to stock a measly 6 days supply of road salt, or the fools who think that because their 4 wheel drive gin palace can get up hills, it will also go down them AND still manage stop at the last minute in the way they do the rest of the year. To be fair, unlike most cold places we have a constant shift between freeze and thaw, which makes snow become ice very quickly, so it’s not as simple as perhaps it is to manage winter in Colorado or Sweden, but they have several feet of snow to deal with – and planes fly, trains run, schools stay open – etc etc. I’m in two minds about the flourescent-hatted safety booted herberts who felt that children are safer running around on icy streets and sliding down the nearest hill (even if it is on the M1) on a piece of 4 x 2, than they would be in warm classroom. After all, who hasn’t enjoyed a bit of sledging or pavement skating in their time, and maybe kids these days are under a lot of pressure (although try explaining that to a child of the 1800′s…), so a bit of fun is no bad thing. Even so, it can only encourage children to think it is OK to give up at the slightest inconvenience. A survey of peers (many of whom had managed to reach the pub but not their place of work….) suggested I am no alone in these thoughts. When I was of schooling age, we had 6 miles (or so) bus journey along a twisty rural ‘B’ road to school. Sometimes, the drifts were higher than the coach roof – but the road was always kept open (somehow), and the school was always open upon our arrival. Maybe some staff were stuck at home, maybe we won’t allowed outside to play (probably to avoid the teachers having to police the ineviatable snowball fights), and we maybe arrived late – or got sent home early, the point is though life was allowed to carry on. And the most important thing? We knew it would hurt if we fell over, so we didn’t. And we knew that in Winter, sometimes it gets very cold. That is why we had coats…
Anyway, beer continues whatever the weather, and I think we only had trouble reaching one pub (ironically twice), but we managed. Mind you, our regular dray has a flaw that results in in gutting stuck at the drop of a hat – even lightly damp grass causes it grief, but we – like any small business – coped because we had to. And, as of yet, I have not had my beard freeze – it does every year, but only when it get’s properly cold in February.
I can’t wait. Can you….?