Don't panic about snow!
It is winter, and in this gentle Isle we call Britain, there has been snow. In some places, like London, a few centimetres have fallen, dusting the trees and icing the rooftops so that our grey old city sparkles and crunches. In other areas there has been more, enough for sledding and snowmen and snowball fights; the sort of days that make ruddy cheeks and rosy memories.
I like snow.
Which is remarkable really, because we are by far and away and without a shadow of doubt, the worst and most pathetic of nations when it comes to actually living with the white stuff.
On most places a mere four or so inches have fallen, and at once the country begins its rapid and inevitable decline into panic and then paralysis. Headlines scream of bitter winters for which we are not prepared and will not survive. TV stations build graphics and bar charts to show the increased statistical likelihood of death due to plummeting temperatures. Schools close, citing health and safety issues ("will no one think of the children!") and then comes the unmitigated disaster that is our transport system.
Several airports around the country have closed, including one of the major airports in London. Trains are cancelled or hopelessly delayed, as previously purchased track warming equipment is unable to cope with the "wrong type of snow". Even parts of the London Underground are shut, which is remarkable given that its most notable feature is that it is under ground.
It's worth reminding you at this point that we are not talking about a Polar winter, or even a Siberian one. We are talking about snow to a depth of about 4 inches, and temperatures around -4 °C. When I told a Canadian friend this, she laughed so hard she swears a tiny bit of wee came out.
I cannot imagine what it is that we find so difficult. All around the world, human beings cope with any number of unusual weather related events with less fuss and more efficiency than the British ever could. Or as my Great Aunt Gertrude would have said, when it comes to the snow, we couldn't organise a cock up in a brothel. There's so much nonsense talked about how the relevant equipment is too expensive to invest in, not for just one or two unusual winters, but it is all babbling excuses. We are crap at this, and more, we do love a good old moan about the weather.
And so this afternoon I sit at my computer, gazing out of the window, hypnotised by the gentle falling of flakes. I can only suppose that they represent the "extreme weather event" that was forecast earlier...