So when it does snow, the wintry weather is guaranteed to make headline news and to be the first item on every news broadcast. Last winter it snowed so hard on one day, that London came to an absolute standstill. For the whole day almost every government office and private business was shut. Schools were closed, (for everyone's safety was the explanation given..). The London Underground was shut down, London buses were parked securely in their terminals. This was unprecedented. In fact, when I rang my office to explain that I was snowed in and wouldn't be able to make it to work because the pavement on my street was under 1 foot of snow and was therefore impassable without great risk to my person, the phone just rang and rang and rang.. It was clear that nobody else had managed to make it to the office.
In reality, it seemed more like everyone was glad for the opportunity to take the day off, because I couldn't imagine that all the children I saw on sledges on the shallow slopes in my local park, or others joyously building snowmen and throwing snow balls at each other, were "safer" in the park out in the wild wintry weather, than they would be in their perfectly safe classrooms at school. Many adults too, who otherwise would have been stooped over a desk doing a boring job in an office, let their hair down and rollicked in the snow alongside the children.
There's something about the snow in England and the effect that it has on the people who live here. When it snows people get excited.. It has been snowing again over the last few days and for the first time ever, I even had to scrape off ice from the windscreen this morning before I could drive my car, although I was glad when the heating inside the car finally kicked in and I realised how much better-off I was than those poor souls on foot, who were shivering and sloshing their way towards the bus stop through the inches-thick slippery snow and ice on the pavements..
The local Council had kindly seen to it that the main roads were gritted, so the drive to work wasn't too bad. The snow too was kind, because it stopped snowing long enough for the sun to come out and make it a quite pleasant afternoon. However, on the way back home this evening it had started snowing again. On the 10 O'clock news were numerous reports about the effects of the snow. Three of London's four major airports were closed for several hours, most schools were closed, most train services were delayed due to snow on the line, etc, etc..
The only other story on the news (apart from the goings-on at the Copenhagen climate summit and the obligatory shocking crime report from the Old Bailey), was that of an unfortunate couple who had picked today of all days, for their church wedding in a country church somewhere in Kent. Unfortunately, neither the couple nor any of their guests were able to make it to the church, because the roads had become impassable because of the heavy snow. The bride's sister is said to have telephoned a local radio station, which put out on air a call for help from people who own 4x4s in the area, urging them to come to the rescue of the couple. Help came, 4x4s arrived on the scene, the day was saved, the couple were married successfully and my hope is that they will live happily ever after..
Now in London its all about the weather, and in particular, the snow. I sometimes wonder how it is in places like Tromso, Norway or in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, or parts of Sweden or Finland and in the cities and towns of Siberia where heavy snowfall is normal. Surely in those places people aren't taking the day off every time it snows and sitting around talking about the snow all day long. I think the UK needs to get used to it and be better prepared for severe weather occurring more frequently, as the world experiences the effects of climate change, since this is what is predicted as the century progresses..