To be honest, today I'm kind of ashamed to be English.

So overnight and this morning it snowed, the snow lay and as I write this we have about two inches of it all on the streets.

(Rather amusingly, as I don't watch the weather reports I only found out it was going to snow because of my Twitter cloud).

I'd planned to visit my mum, so I had a careful drive to her house – my car felt as if it had power steering and as I opened the front door I was greeted by my brother.

I may have mentioned before how my brother is a teacher, he'd gone to school and had been sent home. Apparently half the teachers hadn't turned up to work and a similar number of children were absent. A cleaner had slipped over in the hall (and then a trampoline had fell on her) breaking her leg. The headmaster then decided to send everyone home.

Cue much phoning of parents and writing of letters. Now the streets of Dagenham are more dangerous than normal, not because of of the snow, but because there are gangs of teenage thugs roaming the place.

So everything shuts down – snow is headline news (although as I'm writing this the BBC is showing pictures of puppies in the snow. No dumbing down there…) Why is it I can remember winters like this, but without all the fuss that this current fall is making.

Ernest Shackleton nailed planks from his ship to his feet to trek across hundreds of miles of frozen tundra, but a bit of snow and everything grinds to a halt. That is why today I'm ashamed to be English.

I *am* however looking to racing around icy streets in a big, heavy yellow van tomorrow (although I'm not looking forward to getting up at 5am to do it).

39 thoughts on “Snow”

  1. As you don't check the weather forecast let me warn you. It's very wet snow. It's going down to -3 tonight. At 6am the roads will be a sheet of ice. Pack extra blankets and Haemaccel (or whatever's in fashion) in the big bus before you go out. And a flask of something hot mightn't go amiss either.

  2. Minor correction… Shackleton wasn't trekking across tundra (which Antarctica doesn't have). In fact, he and his crew were crossing pack ice (which had sunk their ship), en route to a small and very uncomfortable island refuge. Certainly puts frozen windscreens into perspective…

  3. Right with you there Reynolds. Here in Essex we have three, maybe four inches of snow that is melting already, and it's bloody chaos. The radio stations are reporting the chaos on the roads, the schools are all closing, the teachers “can't get in” yet most roads have traffic just running a bit slower than normal on it. Sky & BBC news are splashing the “Snow Chaos” stories all over, and it's really not that interesting.It's winter, it's cold, voila – snow. And England grinds to a skidding halt. I know other parents that have said “If it's icy tomorrow, I'm staying in with the kids” – it's just ice! Walk carefully!Course, now *I* will probably fall over and break something! hehe Don't worry though – I'll call a cab 😉

  4. Puppies in the snow! Yay! Dogs are much better than coping with weather. And they don't argue. As my lecturer said today, “The only animal you don't have to treat is the one sitting next to you”.

  5. I think the usual argument is that you guys are used to it, and also expecting it.Imagine you're a town council with a budget. You're in Ontario and you know that for several weeks, perhaps even months, every year, there will be snowfall of several feet each day. That really is a health risk, and that amount of time can really damage local business. Life has to go on, people can't afford to just put things on hold until the thaw. If you spend tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands on snowploughs, gritters, etc, it's a worthwhile investment.

    Now imagine your town council is in the UK. You're expecting perhaps four days out of three hundred and sixty-five to involve snow and ice in any noticeable amount – and even then it'll be the sort of amounts that people walk over rather than through and will probably all have melted by lunchtime. Is the enormous amount of money for an army of snowploughs and gritters, capable of clearing every street by 7am, a justifiable expense?

  6. The fuss and feather ruffling that a teeny weeny amount of snow causes is incredible. I mean, Snow! In February! What is the world coming to? Apart from the hysteria in the media making out they have never seen snow before and reporting disasters which havn't even happened yet, the other infuriating thing is the attitude of teachers. The slightest snow falls, they shut the schools so they can go and put their feet up. Last year the school shut on a day I managed perfectly well to drive to a site 25 miles away, carry out a survey and return. All the parents complained, and the teachers just spouted that pathetic and parrot like excuse 'Health and Safety!'Makes me want to scream. I'll probably vent my spleen on my blog instead.

  7. I was in NYC a couple of years ago when they had an unexpected early heavy snowfall. Not only were they no better at dealing with it than we are, they were to a degree worse.

  8. hehe.. we have been watching the BBC news presenter blathering on about kids “Tobaganning up and down the Brecon Beacons' over lots of cute live action shots.We watched for ages and ages waiting for what we considered to be the only newsworthy moment – a child tobaganning *UP* the Brecon Beacons, but alas we only saw lots going down…

  9. well i can drive without stress today. there is not a lot of traffic on the roads.same everything is at a stand still

  10. I take issue with the summation that the country has ground to a halt. Judging by the vast number of “It's only snow” and “Canada has a foot of snowfall and they don't have any trouble!” mouth foaming that I've been reading on blogs and news sites, most of the country has actually gone into work today with relative ease. I'm certainly not receiving any less phone calls. A few schools have closed but I can tell you that all of those I had to pass this morning were open (approx 5).So, just as the newspapers and television reporters are wetting themselves over the chaos that hasn't happened there are an equal, if not larger, number of naysayers who say the country cannot cope with a smattering of snow even though they can still drive down roads, get to the shops and do almost everything else they would have normally done – albeit a bit slower.

  11. Over here in Canada we've had snow for some weeks now. Where I am, in southern Ontario, it's pretty mild; there's only around five inches on the ground. Further north it's more harsh. The temperature, as I write this at exactly noon is a warm -4.8 deg C though with windchill it feels more like -12.Having moved from the UK last year I am rather amused by how much England grinds to a halt the moment there's snow – certainly in Canada it doesn't begin to be a problem until there are several feet of snow on the ground, and even then in major cities regular gritting and plowing keeps the city roads clear for traffic. It's still treacherous, but hey – winter means snow.In contrast southern Ontario can hit temperatures of +35deg C and above in summer, which would have everything in England grinding to a halt as “too hot”… so really you're damned if it's cold and damned if it's not

  12. As an ex-pat presently in Madison, Wisconsin (USA), just thought I'd mention the high on Monday and Tuesday this week was -17C (getting down to -25C overnight), with a stiff wind taking the wind chill down to -37C at points and with 1-2″ of snow falling on Tuesday morning. The major highway around town had ~50 accidents involving ~100 cars, local schools and HE colleges typically closed – and my university stayed open because it was only 'dangerously' cold (as opposed to 'life-threatening' – see the article in the university paper: We were less than amused, but having said that it was much easier than usual to walk into work (~30 min.) due to the lack of students on the sidewalks! (I'd rather be moving when it's this cold than standing at a bus stop.) I am not sure what I will say when I get back to England and people complain about a low of -3C…

  13. Here in Southern California it's a chilly 10C. And we may get some rain tomorrow. We're all indoors, bracing for the worst.

  14. But looking on the bright side at least it's given us a break from the media trying to drum up hysteria over bird flu…

  15. Can I just echo Autumnflare's comments.I used to live in Canda (Bramalea, south Ontario), and I remember stupidly cold weather with 3-5fts drifts (I was a kid at the time, so maybe not 5ft!), etc. And every day of every winter, I had to go to school. Was most disappointing!

    Oh, and even our little residential crescent was snowplowed every morning there had been snowfall, and it was done by 7AM sharp, every time!

    Gotta love that sort of efficiency!



  16. Be warned: driving big yellow truck in snow not as fun as it sounds! Hope to the Gods you don't get an LDV, because you will NEED the multi-channel ABS that the Mercs offer! I just brought my truck home (not on-call for once, but the motor was spare), and parking in my estate was tricky. I have no ABS and no traction control!

  17. It makes me want to scream too. Luckily our school stayed open but the secondary school decided to close. We had less than an inch of snow and it had melted by lunch time. To cap it all I hear some idiot on the radio saying that most schools are in residential streets so they have to bear in mind that the roads haven't been gritted, and he has shut his school for tomorrow too because by then the pavements will also be icy. Whaaaaaat? Anyone want to bet how long it will be before we have mini gritters out on the pavements every time there's a cold snap?

  18. Come on man, enjoy it while it's here. It's probably the last we're going to see of it this year (at least in this quantity). I agree that schools shouldn't have been cancelled, but it's the same kind of nanny-knows-best attitude that many schools employ even if they do stay open. I'm 17, and my school thankfully was fairly relaxed about it, just telling us to stay out of the car park. Other schools that i've heard of have banned throwing snowballs, or even making snowmen, which is ridiculous.

  19. I suspect what Tom was thinking of was a bit later on. After trekking across the pack ice to Elephant Island, and sailing across the Screaming Sixties to South Georgia in a life boat, there was the small matter of a quick hike across South Georgia. South Georgia is as far south as Britain is north, but it is covered in glaciers. They didn't have crampons, so they worked nails out of the life boat and nailed them into their boots to provide some grip.Shackleton has been my hero for as long as I can remember.

    I love the saying: “For speed and efficiency, give me Admunsen. For scientific discovery, give me Scott; but when disaster strikes, and all else fails, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton”

  20. Banned snowballs and snowmen?My old school basically gave two choices. You could stay indoors, in the warm, or you could go outside, in the snow. Indoors, don't complain about being bored, outdoors, don't complain about being hit by snowballs. Although throwing snowballs over the fence at the general public would get you in trouble.

  21. I'm with you on this one Batsgirl. We're never prepared properly and why should we be? 4 days out of 365 – why doesn't everyone just call it a holiday and enjoy the time off? I think snow is great. Why should everyone be at work or school and miss all the fun? I think days with snow should be declared national holidays, and those who have to work, like emergency services, should be paid extra 🙂

  22. Well, I'm not ashamed of being a great big snow jessie.We had 4″ yesterday and another 1-and-a-bit today. Now, I didn't go to work yesterday (would have been needing an ambulance – I live on a steep hill and I ride a scooter). But I thought “oh no, today's OK, it's slushy.. and the main roads are clear” so we manhandled said scooter to bottom of hill and off I went. Got to work fine – then it starts snowing again.


    Try riding a scooter in the snow, wiping flakes off your visor every 3 seconds, doing no more than 30mph on a dual carraigeway (before you say it, yes it WILL go faster than that – I was being exceedingly careful) while muppets overtake you at 50mph and spray you with slush… and then turning into your snowy back road – and decking it for all to see.

    I felt very foolish indeed. It took 2 of us to push scooter to top of hill again.

    *embarrassed to have ridden in such stupid conditions*

  23. Never mind, you gave the street a laugh. I hope you weren't hurt? I agree with the “Snow's fun, let's take a holiday and enjoy it” excuse, but let's not hide behind elfnsafety for a reason to stay in. Unless a scooter is involved!!!

  24. Quote “Ernest Shackleton nailed planks from his ship to his feet to trek across hundreds of miles “Ouch, bet that hurt.


  25. No not hurt, I must be the only scooter rider on the planet that bothers with full motorbike gear, hence I bounced. I did feel silly though.And I did spare a thought for anyone who can't use the “snow excuse” for not coming to work – I wouldn't want to drive a socking great ambulance down the back roads I live on.

  26. This may indeed be true, but by the same token it seems like people are getting progressively more lame when it comes to dealing with the white stuff. When I was a kid (and I know this sounds like a Hovis commercial), it snowed more and the world didn't come screeching to a halt. Heck, my Dad even had a set of SNOW CHAINS. And, no – we didn't live in the North of Scotland, we lived in Bucks. The fact the the rail network ground to a halt with only what amounted to a dusting is just pathetic – and it's not due to lack of equipment or budget, it's due to just plain old ineptitude.Everyone should really enjoy it while it lasts. After all, you could one day be telling your Grandchildren about this 'funny white stuff called snow we used to get'.

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