Snow Business

Seeing all the snow that’s fallen, and the inevitable panic that always comes with the unprepared, had me remin reminis remembering what it was like in days gone by.

This picture was taken in the Winter of ’63 when I was about 18 months old. I remember being so excited that I dashed outside without getting properly dressed, yes I am wearing a jumper, but no underwear and only my bootee slippers on my feet, but we were hardy and impervious to cold back in the day!

The next snow event I remember was when I was a teenager, we lived in a small village at the time about 5 miles from school and had to rely on buses to ferry us back and forth. When it snowed, the village was cut off and we were reet excited about not going to school…but the authorities had other ideas. We had a small hike to the main road where, surprise, surprise, the school buses were waiting. Damn. We drove through snow drifts almost as high as the bus, the country did not grind to halt like it does today. Life carried on pretty much as normal.

That was pretty much a localised snow event, the next one was not, it was the Winter of 1978-79. I was working in a department store at the time, and through the day the weather got worse…and worse…but it was an old-fashioned store who believed in being there just in a case a customer wandered in. By mid-afternoon it was quite clear that anyone with an ounce of sense had gone home, in the store however, we were all standing there looking at each other in an increasing sense of panic.

When they finally let us go, all the buses had stopped, so I had no option but to walk the 1.5 miles or so, home…in high heels…and about 6″ of snow…moderately uphill. I’ve no idea how long it took, seemed like forever, I was sobbing with the pain of the cold and the struggle to walk. At the half way point, my heel gave out, and I had to half limp, half drag myself the rest of the way home. I was so traumatised I have no recollection of whether I went to work the next day, but knowing me, I probably did!

I’ve been through many other snow events since, but thankfully I’ve been able to stay inside, which is what I’m doing now…and starving to death* in the process because Sainsburys cancelled my grocery delivery this morning!

*author’s artistic licence


I don’t care what the weatherman says

Most entertaining weather forecast on telly? For my money, it has to be the week-long forecast on the BBC’s ‘CountryFile‘. Even now, with all the world’s 21st Century scientific know-how at their disposal, forecasters still struggle to predict anything very meaningful further than about four days ahead.

But what we like about the Countryfile approach isn’t the accuracy. It’s the dress code. After the main news bulletin, the weather, both local and national, is presented by people in more or less formal attire. On Countryfile though, the same presenter returns, only this time they are usually wearing jeans. We, however, are no more fooled than when we see world leaders wearing similar casual clothes, as they try to pretend they have the ‘common touch’.

With its relaxed attitude to clothing, we also feel the Countryfile weather forecast has a more nonchalant feel than any other forecast. It’s like a kind of Hey, weather’s gonna happen: deal with it sort of vibe. Or to put it another way…

Monsoon? Meh!
Cyclone? C’est la vie πŸ™‚
Hurricane? What hurricane?

Oops, I forgot, that one really happened once a few years ago. Maybe if Michael Fish had been wearing flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt, nobody would have minded. Then again…

Il pleut

Be honest. What do you think of the French?

Me? I think they’re a nation of lovely warm-hearted people. But their language? Well, it is, in one word, namby-pamby. Here’s why.

This morning at 2:30am, to cut a long cliche short, the heavens opened. No exaggeration: this was by far the most fierce (and fearsome) rainstorm we have experienced for several years. It was like waking up inside one of those Karcher pressure washers they’re always banging on about on the shopping channel. The noise was like an Olympic-sized car park full of turbo-engined Hummers all revving up at once. Waffle Towers was battered for over a quarter of an hour as the rain lashed down without mercy. And through it all, the French language came to mind, and I finally decided what I thought about it:

The well-worn French phrase for this morning’s weather is “Il pleut”. (It’s pronounced ‘il pleut’.)

And basically, ‘Il pleut’ just doesn’t cut it. Not in this day and age. And certainly not in this weather. It is, as the French themselves might say, pathetique. πŸ™‚

Anyway, we’ve all just about recovered by now. But tonight, we’ll be taking brollies to bed, just in case il decides to pleut all over again. Zut alors!