There are some in this country who say that they like the winter. They say that they agree that the thermostat ought to be allowed to fall and fall, past zero and then more and more. They like the idea of getting wrapped up in warm clothes, either dressing for a skying holiday or as a model for the British Wool Foundation. They like gloves. They like brisk strolls in the freeze-dried air. They like the fact that there are others just like them who would, under the right circumstances, give into the call for Freedom of Freezing.
If you are reading this, and are one of them, hang you head in shame and get the back of your neck cold.
We are British. That means that we have a right to a centuries old tradition of being a temperate climate where only rain can spoil ones days. We spend our time watching for minute and frequent changes in the weather and then we talk to our neighbours about those changes. Most of our neighbours will be as alert and well-informed as we are which allows the very fact of Britishness to continue apace.
Back in the time of Dickens, they had a mini ice age. The temperatures fell so much that major rivers froze over. Snow fell like there was no tomorrow. People took to skates and held Ice-Fairs on the Thames. Roast chestnuts, toffee puddings, baked potatoes, and humbug!
A short, sharpish flurry of snow hit the world outside and some of my class were up and at the window. There are some very canny operators in the room and one boy, in particular, looked at me with mock-innocent unawareness, “But, sir, I have never seen snow before.”
Good try. Anyway, as soon as it had come, it had gone. Tonight will be a night for the real stuff to invade. It will arrive as we are falling into the first fields of the day’s farewell and it will be waiting for us when we climb the fence into a new day.
The snow that fell this morning did so in tiny balls of white, neither hard not soft. It was the type of stuff that polystyrene looks like when it has been broken down. The stuff had settled on the windscreens and bonnets, it had collected in juvenile drifts where the wind had chased it, and it offered no threat nor malice to anyone or anything. That was the advance forces; a little sortie, a checking of the ground, a lulling into false security. It was almost playful as I swept it to one side.
The drive in to work was cold too. The roads had a hint of hazard causing me to temper my pace. The Mercedes has big thick tyres and is a rear-wheel drive, altogether unsuitable for the winter climate.
And isn’t that odd? A German vehicle, the top of the range Teutonic talisman from the wintery lands of the east. But they put their cars in chains. Winter snow chains do the job and keep the wealthy of Germany auto-bound.