It may seem a tad usual to write a blog about snow, coming from a country that doesn’t get a great deal of it. And where I live, in the South West of England, we get even less. And thank the Lord and all that is holy for that! I don’t like snow. I’m sorry, I just don’t. As a kid, I had that vague excitement that every kid gets; waking up to a blanket of it covering your street, and finding out school was shut. Oh, the joy! When I was 10 years old, it snowed heavily on my birthday (never once has this been repeated), and I thought that was the coolest thing in the entire world. But even then, as a child, I didn’t like the near-frost-bite and subsequent finger amputation you might encounter if you handled the stuff for two long. Now I’m grown up, just the mere threat of snow fills me with dread…
Just the other week, the TV and radio were warning about impending snow across the UK (even in our area which, I like I say, doesn’t get very much). Britain went into a bit of a panic. You see, us Brits don’t handle snow very well. We don’t have enough experience of it. There were news reports that the snow would hit at about 4pm, so everybody fretted about getting home from work and school etc. OMG!!! SNOW!!! The now didn’t come at 4. But as it was, pretty much the entire country woke up to, what I would call, a mere dusting. Y’know, as though you’d sprinkled a meagre amount of icing sugar on a yule log because you’d forgotten to replace your near-empty box from the cake-making shelf (do you have a cake-making shelf? I do. It’s a very small and poorly-stocked shelf because I hate making cakes). Anyway, that was it. The kids opened their curtains with a little sigh of disappointment, and I had a secret chuckle to myself. Panic over. Crisis averted. Phew (I can’t speak for you guys up in Scotland; you may have been wading through the stuff. I’ve no idea, I would never be silly enough to live in Scotland because of the higher incidence of snow. I wouldn’t be silly enough to live anywhere with a high incidence of snow. Not unless my job and the kids’ school was two minutes’ walk from the house)! But the recent snowfall for us down in the South? Not so much. By the time I set off for work, it had mostly gone.
I think my irrational dislike of snow comes from an incident I had in 2013. We had the usual snow-threat reports on the news, then work and school sent out their snow policies (so I had an inkling there may be a fair bit of it). Then we all woke up one Friday morning to deep, unadulterated snow. It was, I admit, beautiful. But my little heart sank. My current employment at the time was 45 minutes’ drive away with a full quota of patients probably waiting for me… So it was panic stations at our house. We all hurried downstairs to switch on the radio; fiddling with the dial to find a local station to listen out for local school closures. My children stood silently praying that they would hear the name of their school announced, I stood praying for the exact opposite. And low and behold, both my kids’ schools were pronounced as being closed, to the subsequent whoops of joy from my children. But that news only put the fear of God in me. Just because school closes, doesn’t mean that work does. I was going to have to take them with me…and just put them…somewhere. I’d sort out the details later. So, equipped with my best (fake) gung-ho attitude, we set off after breakfast. I’d just get in the car and drive very, very slowly – right?
Wrong. I knew things were going to be problematic when my car struggled to even climb the slight incline in our quiet street without sliding backwards. But I thought, ‘once I get onto the main road, things will be better. Lots of other cars will have already done the trailblazing for me’. Not so. It was fairly early and even the main roads were thick with snow. I’m not sure if it was just my totally ill-equipped two-wheel-drive hatchback’s fault, or if it was my lack of snow-driving experience, but I was sliding about all over the place – and I had only been driving for about five minutes. It was then that I decided I was being very stupid. Not only was I putting myself and my children at risk, I was potentially endangering pedestrians and other hapless drivers too. I had literally no control over my car. So, with great difficulty, I turned around and inched my car home. We even had to walk some of the way back because I couldn’t get my car up a certain hill without sliding backwards again. Like I say, we don’t handle snow very well in our country (well, I don’t). I have never, ever even seen a set of snow chains in real life, let alone put some on my car tyres. I wouldn’t know how. We’re a maritime country; we understand how to deal with rain perfectly well, just not snow.
Anyway, the kids had a lovely day after that – we had no choice but to have an enforced ‘snow day’. I called work and explained that I’d attempted the drive, but it was impossible – I’d have to owe them a day. And off we set (on foot) down to the local park, where every schoolchild in the land seemed to have converged; building snowmen and sliding down hills on sledges. On the subject of sledges, we didn’t have one at the time. And guess what? Sliding down a snow-clad hill on a tea tray really sucks. Tea trays just aren’t designed to be ‘slidey’ at all. Who knew? It’s a serious design flaw. So after that, I saw a sledge on sale at the end of the season, and I thought, ‘I’ll have that for the next time it snows’. And do you know what? It hasn’t snowed since. That was exactly 4 years ago. The sled was the kiss of death for snow in this country (a bit like buying a vest in the summer = end of summer). I keep it in my lobby and smirk at it every time I walk past.
So to all you English people who, like me, don’t like snow very much, and are grateful that we’ve had virtually none in recent years. Well, you have me to thank for that. That pink, round sled put the kibosh on any future snow, it seems. You’re welcome. And for those of you that do like snow and hold me responsible for the lack of it – well, tough t*tties. Oh, and to whoever controls the snow up there, just so you know, I don’t want any. Unless you’re prepared to ensure it only snow on Christmas Day, then have it entirely cleared away by the Monday that we have to go back to work. Because by January and February, I’m just not interested. Thanks!
NB: If it snows heavily this weekend as this post goes out, I’ll be severely pissed off…