Everybody knows that the weather is a national obsession for the British and no more is this true than when it snows. Most of the UK is currently residing under a few inches of snow – yes, for my Canadian readers, I do mean a few inches not a few feet. Now, I know for Canadians a few inches is laughable, not even worth mentioning, but for us, Brits, these couple of inches of cold, white stuff is dominating all news headlines pushing far more important events unfolding on the world stage into the realms of “And finally, in …..”.
Never before in my lifetime has snow being so widely and dramatically predicted, talked of, warned about (and indeed correctly forecasted which is unusual in this country where our weather forecasters are inclined to get it wrong more often than right). With pinpoint accuracy we were told when the snow would start, how long it would last for, how much would settle etc.
If you live in one of those countries which are covered by a blanket of snow for months on end in the winter, you may well ask why such drama is necessary – after all it’s a little bit of snow. Let me tell you the reason – we can’t cope with it, the country grinds to a halt. Add to this the fact that all Brits love talking about the weather (and moaning about it ) and you’ve got the “perfect storm”. The TV is full of endless news reports from around the country showing closed airports, closed schools, closed railway stations and empty supermarket shelves. Do you know what? We, Brits, love all this – weather drama!
In addition, it gives us a naturally reserved nation the opportunity to “all be in it together” – we start talking to people we don’t know (very un-British) in the streets, in the shops – “Isn’t it cold? Do you think it’s going to snow?” or “apparently we’re expecting 10 inches of snow”. There is nothing the Brits like more than a feeling of its “us v the rest of the world”. Nothing galvanises us more – we are united!
Snow also brings the menfolk the opportunity to behave as children (although many don’t appear to need snow as an excuse for this). Nothing demonstrates this more than snowball fights. To me, snowball fights are nothing more than a legitimate excuse to regress to the age of about 8 and then pelt those you are not terribly fond of with large balls of ice and snow, all under the guise of “having fun”. I have witnessed some pretty aggressive snowball fights over the last few days and it never fails to amaze me how entertaining men find these to be. In my experience, most men are unable to be out in snow for any length of time without hurling it at someone – bizarre but I guess explicable by the fact that the snow gives a legitimacy to something which if it was done with any other material would end up in court.
So today I sit here at my computer, looking out at a white world, with one child whose school is shut (health & safety again) and the prospect of yet another afternoon of watching my kids hurling themselves down a slope, on what is essentially an overpriced plastic tray, trying to avoid the brambles at the bottom and failing. I like snow but I am over this particular “sprinkling” – come on schools, please open and get on with it like every other country.