Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poor old UK ... that snow stuff.

I've been quietly sniggering to myself these past few mornings. Empathetic smugness, we'll call it. It's 'cos I is such a hard nut now, innit. A winter hard nut.

Whilst battling through my new commute (which I have not yet been doing long enough to get bored), I listen to my Sirius radio in the car.

I am currently tuned in to Chris Moyles on the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show - got to keep up with all that new-fangled music somehow, and the UK is still a hotbed of some good bands. Canadian offerings of Death-by-Nickleback wear a bit thin, very quickly.

And as much as I'm enjoying the music and the general silly banter of the studio crew, it's the road and weather reports that have me smiling right now. There is something quite bizarre about being in one continent thousands of miles away from a weather report in another land, but which is also very familiar to you.

Being a Brit who used to live in a house at the top of a steep drive, situated down a sloping road, in a village at the top of a hill 5 miles from anywhere, I truly understand what a snow fall means to the dear peeps in the UK. Simply put, it's chaos, nicely documented in Rob's blog here. I can recall many a snow day there and I used to miss school and work days every so often - maybe one day every other year or so. So I do understand.

Ignore "Miss Pretty in Pink" in the foreground and you can see the angle of my old driveway - that is no fun in the ice. Well, actually, it is great fun on a go-cart if you have no fear for life nor limb, but not when serious matters are calling - like work and school and beer.

Old photo of Daughters Number One and Two - taken in about 2005 - so I know this snow phenomenon does happen.

The UK, I think, is currently enduring it's third week of snow falls and the country is slipping and sliding to a painful halt. I hear of panic food buying, transit routes gridlocked and even the co-host of the breakfast show was reporting the issues of no baby milk in the village. This really is quite serious!

I am now, of course, a veteran in Alberta - entering my third winter here, I know a thing or three about snow. A veritable expert no less. Yeah - OK, I'm a novice by Canadian standards, but give me a break.

But the British Isles are generally not able to cope. Really. No-one has ever heard of snow tyres - I know I hadn't when I lived there; each council (municipality) probably proudly owns about two snow ploughs, and stores of salt (no grit over there) are only hoarded for a 4-day period, with barely enough gritting lorries to distribute it anyway (funny how they are still called gritting lorries, but they don't really throw out grit). The investment into "winter" is not top of the agenda in order to deal with, what might normally be, about 2 days of snow a year.

During Week One of The Great British Winter of 2010, I was driving down a highway in Calgary, Alberta listening to Chris and the breakfast gang reading out messages from the listeners about the various locations around the UK. My highway was at -19 degrees, and we were knee-deep in the white stuff. Pah - come on you British wusses - you call that snow?

By this morning, three weeks later, Calgary has been basking for five days in almost tropical temperatures of 7 degrees and we are over the pristine Christmas card good looks - we are awash in grit and dirt but little snow. We are warm, relatively speaking. And warmer than the UK which is funny - and a first! It won't last of course, but I take my glee where I can.

Friends in the UK, in the meantime, are emailing me wondrous photos of their home towns - which look more like Canada than Canada!

I should get their permission for posting these, but it's currently 2.30am in London so I won't wake them up, and I'm too impatient to await a reply to an email. So thanks Mr K - I'll pay your royalties later.

This one is a pretty country lane near Merstham in Surrey. Cute, huh? Until you have to go out for baby milk I guess.

Real purdy !

So, to any of my readers in the UK considering emigrating to the Great White North - how are you feeling?!


  1. I can relate to the UK's difficulty coping... whenever it snows here in Victoria (very rarely) the city essentially closes down... I like it and keep hoping for snow but three weeks of that... no thank you!

    What great photos, Ann. Your girls are exceedingly cute. :-)

    I keep hoping for snow

  2. Ok... ok Mrs Smug pants......we know we're wusses when it comes to the real thing.... but allow us our 15 minutes of panic.
    And do yourself a favour and stop listening to Chris Moyles..... no good will come of it.
    Chris Evans is on Radio 2 now..... we got rid of Wogan at last.

  3. Due to the snow in the UK I was unable to get out of my mum's village to buy my stash of Jaffa Cakes to bring back to Canada with me :(

    (It was also touch and go as to whether we would indeed get to Heathrow. Oh, and I rolled my eyes as my mum sent my brothers trudging across snowy village fields to the nearest Morrisons to panic buy bread and milk!)


  4. OMG Flossie - wot, no jaffa cakes - hardly worth visiting now, was it?! LOL.

    Neil - I like Chris Moyles! Inane banter for the half-asleep. Actually, I don't really have any other choice in my car for BBC programmes - it's BBC1 or Radio Disney in my vehicle these days!! Love from Ms Smug Pants.

    Marnie - snow vibe wishes coming your way ......


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