The Deep Freeze

My brain is clearly affected the same way by snow and extreme cold as my whole country is: very badly. It should be impossible for my brain to freeze up like it had, I can blog about almost anything if I needed to. It wouldn’t be interesting, it might not even be that long, but By George! I could do it.

Just apparently not in cold weather. Which puzzles me. Not so much my brain, or even my body which doesn’t react to cold temperatures very well either, but this country. We’re pretty impressive in our capacity to complain about the weather. It’s a stereotype but stereotypes start somewhere and this one really is true. We complain when it’s too hot and can’t do anything and we complain when it’s too cold and can’t do anything, but either way, speaking in terms of temperatures, it’s not actually that bad.

In Australia, for example, you literally could fry an egg on the sidewalk on one of their cooler warm days. Same goes for parts of America on their ridiculously hot days. When we approach mid-twenties C, this country panics, yet that’s pretty average for a normal summer day in Australia.

We start worrying whether things will start to melt, people getting heat stroke, old people start to actually die passed the thirties, and then there’s hilarious but inevitable hose pipe ban. Remember this year’s? We had a week of gorgeously warm weather, the water levels dropped so they imposed a hose pipe ban. Remember what happened next?

It rained. A lot. Frequently, as is this country’s fashion. It was ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as we get in the winter.

If you’d have looked out the window these past few days, you’d be forgiven for thinking events from The Day After Tomorrow were actually happening. Flights were affected, trains were affected, buses were affected, roads were affected, schools were closed down, people started panic buying and the inevitable talk about elderly people affording their central heating took place on the news.

I’m thinking this was a sign from some higher power, giving us some proper news for once instead of incessantly talking about the engagement and pending marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Well, it taught us, didn’t it?

If there’s anything we know how to do, it’s to make the weather into news. Not just one piece of news, but everything related to or affected by the weather is reported. The safety concerns about flying because the snow and ice on the runway makes it difficult to land, concerns about the engines freezing over despite the extreme temperatures planes must face when they’re flying in the sky. Train lines freeze over, that’s a story about efficient train services and the amount of money that goes into public transport. Poor innocent travelers are being stranded because of trains, they’ve got no other option than to get the train and without trying to battle through, they wouldn’t be able to get to work. So when the trains go down, there’s more replacement bus services on, but they depend on the roads and the roads are a state! Last time there was heavy snow fall, there was a grit and salt shortage. Would this happen again? What about the lorries filled with food for shops, will they be able to get through?

I’ve never understood the logic that delayed lorry deliveries mean that people should panic buy. If people didn’t panic buy, the stock left in the shops would last longer. If more people followed this logic, this wouldn’t make the news every year.

And that’s what that is. That big paragraph above? That is every single article and headline premise in the last 5 days. For a very conserved country, seen as The Good British Folk With The Stiff Upper Lip, we’re quite melodramatic.

Scandinavian countries, even some of the Shetland Islands here, face this kind of temperature everyday. I don’t see their country grinding to a slow, frozen stop. They still have trains, they still have other forms of transports and if planes couldn’t fly in -5 degrees C, nobody would be able to fly in or out of Sweden for most of the year. It’s ridiculous.

We’re ridiculous. We’d probably not believe the end of the world is here every time snow hits in Winter, if we just knew that life can carry on with the snow. Train Services, I’m mainly looking in your direction.

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