Posted by: Paul | January 6, 2010

A dispatch from the Igloo

We are in the grip of the worst cold snap and snowfall to hit England in 30 years. But if you watch the news or read the news sites, you might be forgiven for thinking it was much, much worse than that. That society may have broken down and ceased to function entirely. That people in the north have resorted to eating defenceless old ladies. That the whole country has run out of gas and will have to burn their clothes on giant biers to keep warm. And that a handful of lazybones couldn’t get to work. And yet, here I am, at my desk just north of Liverpool Street as per usual. Maybe it’s not time for the apocalypse just yet, eh?

Media hysteria always makes me laugh. I mean, now (to bastardise one of the Guardian’s taglines) “Content Is Free”, it’s not like people are that desperate to sell papers any more as they know the industry is dying a slow death, so why bother? Just report the plain facts, and if the facts are terrifying, so be it. But a foot of snow? People, please. Take the day off, build a snowman. Throw snowballs at your friends and family. With schools and nurseries up and down the country taking any excuse to shut their doors for a few days and save their struggling budgets, the least we can do is enjoy some unexpected time at home, if we’re lucky enough to get it.

However, I do feel for those in areas genuinely severely affected by the weather. I joke, but when you live in a busy town it’s easy to forget that our little island is twisty and turny, with long thin bits and uppy-downy bits and if you live in one of those you could genuinely get cut off quite easily. And that might be fun at first, if you’re well stocked up, but it could quickly become scary. That’s the real story – not people’s trains or flights being delayed, while they sit in the cosy warm and are forced to wait a few hours. What of the elderly, or those in fuel poverty?

But I’m lucky. I like the snow. It’s pretty. I relish it as it doesn’t come very often and doesn’t adversely affect my life (so far…until the boiler explodes). My wife hates it. Can’t wait to get shot of it, and sees through the prettiness to the cold and dangerous ice beneath. But for now it looks like we’ll all have to get used to it – for the next week at least.

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