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06 January 2008 @ 02:21 pm
Let It Snow  
Let It Snow

This week, all across our beloved islands here in the United Kingdom, snow caused havoc; roads were blocked, electricity cut off, and public transport ground to a halt. Reports flooded in of cars being abandoned at the sides of roads, because their owners were unable to go any further in the treacherous conditions. Thousands of homes were thrust into darkness as power lines tumbled to earth. Schools were forced to remain shut for the day, extending the Christmas holidays for delighted children. Airports closed; runways had to be cleared, and planes de-iced. The country, effectively, ground to a halt.

In Canada, over the last few weeks, temperatures have reached -20 degrees Celsius, and lower. They’ve been shrouded in feet of the white stuff. But has their treasured nation come to a standstill? Of course not. They’re prepared for this sort of thing.

So if the Canadians, and the Scandinavians, can take the time to prepare for such weather, why can’t we? Why do we down tools and stop working at the first flurry of snow?

Well, let’s face it. The Canadians and their cold-weather buddies are used to this sort of phenomenon. On an annual basis, they’re wrapped up in their winter woollies, shovelling snow out of the driveways and driving to work with chains on their tyres. It’s all in a day’s work. This weather occurs every year, to a varying degree, and they know how to handle it. Practice makes perfect.

It’s the same with summer. They, usually, have decent enough summers where the sun shows its face for more than three days. Because of this, they don’t go out on the first day and turn an awful shade of red, which will ache for two weeks. When the weatherman tells them it’s warming up, they get their shorts, hat and sun cream out, and know how to deal with it.

Which brings me back to our isles. The blizzard and battering we received is nothing like what we are used to. Maybe, if we are lucky, our gardens will receive a light dusting of snow overnight, which melts away by lunchtime. Several inches of the stuff are a bit of a shock to the system. So could we have been better prepared?

Well, yes. I do believe we could have. There’s no doubt in my mind that this country has the ability to deal with a bit of a turn in the weather – at least it’s something different from rain. However, to be ready for such an infrequent situation – the last time it was this bad was seven years ago – would require more research, more manpower and more machinery. Where would all of this come from?

In order for the government to fund such an operation, it would be the British public paying for it. Although I don’t speak for our nation, I am sure some of you will agree that paying an increased or additional tax is not an appealing thought. The argument then arises of why we should be forced to pay for a service that may not be required for another seven years?

I feel that the people who have got it right over the last week or so are the children. Those lucky devils who have been granted an extra day of rest; they have taken full advantage of the situation by using their initiative and creating snowmen, sleds and even igloos. We could all learn from them – enjoy it while it lasts, you won’t see it again for a long time.
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