Tag Archives: Cold

A Weather Advisory

24 Jan

Hotter:ColderAlthough admittedly my certificate in meteorology is from a non-accredited correspondence course, I am in possession of some important weather facts. I would like to share these with you now to help you avoid embarrassment in future interactions with humans who have, at some point, traveled outside of the British Isles.

England’s weather is generally pretty mild. Why you refuse to accept this, I do not know. It’s not a bad thing, we don’t mean it as an insult. For those of us who have ventured the world, mild weather is often a blessing. It keeps us from having to purchase entirely separate wardrobes for each season, and it allows children to be left out in the garden for the better part of the day without fear of sunstroke or frostbite. Mild weather is something to treasure, and I can testify that I do.

England can get hot in the summers, this is true. Why, I remember that I almost broke a sweat while sharpening my secateurs one July afternoon! Heat in England is lovely because it means the sun has come out. Alas, sunny days in England are too few but when you’ve got one, you should surely make the most of it. Sit in the garden, cool yourself with fan, but for goodness sake, do not whinge about the heat. Try telling the people of El Azizia that you feeling a bit parched by an English swelter and see how much sympathy you receive.

Let me also assure you that, despite what some people are saying, Britain is not suffering from arctic weather.  Would you like to know why? Because they’re stupid. I was raised in Trenton (NJ), which is hardly a hotbed of frigidity, but even Trentonites know that 2C is next to nothing (in fact it’s two degrees next to nothing). The average temperatures in January in my hometown range from -4C to 4C and we once even dropped down to -26C. I’m not saying that makes Trenton (NJ) better or worse. I’m just saying, keep perspective. When it feels like this in your sitting room, then you will know the true meaning of arctic.

Now, yes, today you probably had some snow outside your front door. I grant you that. The problem with snow here is not the snow itself, but the inability of people to cope with it. Here’s the scoop: the climate, my friends, is changing, so we should probably just accept that in winter snow will fall and figure out some way to make sure the roads are safe. Maybe this is something David Cameron could get Nick Clegg on: sort out a community response to snow so that everything doesn’t go all haywire. Just a thought, Dave. You’ve got your priorities, I’m sure.

Let’s all just try to stay sensible whatever the weather reports say, yeah? Overall, Britain’s weather is not too bad, and having to deal with extremes every once in a while is probably something we can all manage. Try to make the best of it: I insisted Christopher shovel the walk three times today and can honestly say I enjoyed every moment of it—sitting at the window watching my little snow bunny heaving the white stuff around. I managed to get through a pot of tea and a whole box of bon-bons.

It was lovely.

Taking My Responsibility Very Seriously

10 Jan

While thankfully I rarely have to do this, I am prepared to apologise for being wrong about the weather. This winter has been rather cold, apparently the coldest in the last 1000 years. So while I still stand by my original comments on British weather in general, I was concerned that some readers may take my comments about the English overreacting to the cold to heart and do something stupid. Therefore, I want to take a moment to discuss some of the dangers of cold weather.

I was shocked to find out that when the thermometer shows below 0C, pensioners in Britain die at the rate of one every six minutes.  I am led to believe this has something to do with the fact that many of them are on the poorer spectrum. Shame on you, British Gas! I, for one, would be happy to pay an extra 2p each month if it would help keep an older couple from freezing to death under their Littlewoods duvet (especially if they still owed on it). Our nation is in a positively frightful state when we let our pensioners die from the cold rather than through more usual means.

However, bad weather can be treacherous even for those of us who still have reasons left to live. Ice on the roads in Britain can kill you as soon as look at you. But even if you don’t venture away from your house, you can put yourself at risk. You could take a tumble as you fetch your morning’s milk and many a cardiac arrest has resulted from snow removal. Just this morning, I myself found my heart rate racing like a bastard as I watched Christopher clearing my path. It’s never bad to see a young man’s exertion, but it’s important not to go beyond one’s limits.

Perhaps my most perilous exposure to the freezing weather happened during Trenton, NJ’s coldest winter. A gentleman friend and I had gone to the theatre in the City as we normally did on Saturday evenings; that night we were honoured guests at the opening of Dolly’s Destiny, starring the gorgeously drunk Quentin Wisteria. On the drive home, my friend (whose name currently escapes me) and I decided to stop off at the Lucky Diamonds Motel (extremely reasonable hourly rates) in New Brunswick. After, we popped into a liquor store to purchase a bottle of whiskey, which was fortunate for as soon as we had gotten back onto I-95, the weather made a turn for the worst. We were virtually “snowblinded.” Darren (I’ve just remembered his name) temporarily lost control of our sedan and we ended up in a bit of a ditch. Because we were dressed rather dapperly, we decided that fleeing the car was not a viable option. Instead we cracked open the drink and spent a delightfully dangersome hour or two until we were rescued by some charming policemen. Some of you may remember the consequent news story—believe me, we were fully clothed when the officers arrived and I have long since forgiven them for arresting us as charges were dropped once they realised just who exactly we were. In many ways, I am lucky to be alive after that evening and although I never spoke to Darren again once he reunited with his wife, the fact that he and I came so close to meeting our maker together means he will always hold a special spiritual place in my heart.

Hypothermia is not a joke, my friends. Listen to me.  I hear it’s quite an unflattering way to go. So indulge in some cocoa, keep well bundled and snuggle up in front of the fire, Britons, until the cold snap passes. I don’t want any of you suffering frigidity under my watch.