Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brittle Britain rant

At about 3pm this afternoon I officially turned into an old woman. Either that or I reverted back to being a proper 'Yorkshire lass'.
I'm not sure there are many differentials between the two. They both involve a large amount of moaning.

The swathes of columns in every English newspaper about the inches in height of snow, are as almost as depressing as the columns dedicated to the absence of inches of C list celebrities' skirts. It's bloody snow. It happens. They're starlets, they happen - and then they go to rehab - bloody lightweights.

I remember as a child, one bleak and bitter winter, in Denholme, Bradford, where all the men of the village had to come and dig tunnels between the houses so that we could eat and get to the road and stuff because the snow was so deep. I remember the snow was higher than my head (okay I was only 4 feet tall). I remember ice on the inside of my bedroom window and being told that was okay because 'Jack Frost' had come to decorate. I remember being scooped up every morning and run into the living room wrapped in blankets because it contained the only heating source in the house (a 3 ring gas fire).

I remember in Leeds one year a large snowfall was so unexpected and fierce that people froze to death in their cars because they couldn't get out of them in time once the blizzard started.

One time my sister and I, had to make our way across a field (which contained two football and two rugby pitches) in sleet so blinding we couldn't see. By the time we made it to the other side (dressed in skirts knee high socks and thin jackets) we realised we'd been blown in the wrong direction and had to stagger blind for another hour until we found the row of trees that marked the school lane. My parents would NEVER let us have a day off school unless it had been declared an emergency on the local radio which usually only happened after we set off, so we'd take an hour and a half to get to a closed school.

In Prague I have experienced 5 month winters where temperatures regularly dropped to -25.

Yeah, when I were a lass..... that's when I realised I'd become old or Yorkshire.

But all this is even nothing compared to the Canadians I have worked with who regularly endure -45 degrees C - EVERY WINTER. They just shrug it off and buy ugly weatherproof jackets. Which is why most of them are insane.

I guess there's an element of jealousy here. One time in Prague it took me 30 minutes to walk 10 metres on my way to work because the hill was so frozen I couldn't get any traction. The next day I went to work with a bag of salt and sprinkled it in front of me so that I could get to the tram stop. In Prague we can't use excuses like snow or ice. It doesn't wash. I wish we could. What happened to innovation?

But, my point is, when did the British become such wusses? It's almost like those people in the Pixar cartoon WallE. Unable to fend for themselves or cope in unexpected situations. Tip them out of their armchairs and they are unable to walk. Slightly adverse weather conditions and it runs the first 7 pages of every national newspaper for days. It disgusts me. Only Hurricanes and Tsunamis usually warrant this much press. Genocide in Rwanda doesn't warrant this much press. This was 2 inches of snow. I thought we once conquered empires? Burned witches? Invented concentration camps? Sent people to Cuba without proper trials?

Well if the terrorists or witches really want to win, lets hope they have never seen a Kate Bush video, because if they ever invent a weather machine we're all fucked.


1 comment:


    Possibly the best blog entry I've ever read!

    Did you know Eddie Izzard was from Yemen? :)