Thursday, 12 January 2017

Stand still


There are blizzards forecast for tomorrow and I am supposed to be driving to high ground.

Are you the sort of person who likes to get out in it and have fun trying to get through blocked lanes, or do you prefer to stay at home indoors near a heat-source and read a book, sometimes looking out of the window to see how much worse it is getting?

You can probably guess that I fall into the latter category. I don't mind going out and playing, but I don't like going out in it and working. If I had a Land Rover I might feel differently, but I usually park my car on a cul-de-sac hill to make sure I have the perfect alibi.

One of the things I love about deep snow is that it brings everything to a standstill. The muffled silence that snow brings to the countryside extends even into towns and cities, occasionally interupted by a snow-plough or 4x4.

Ah, you British - the Canadians say - a couple of inches of snow, and everything stops. Yes, that's the way we like it. The perfect excuse to be non-productive and opt out of the race for a few hours or days. Poor nurses.

In 1963, I looked out of my bedroom window to see two feet of pure white snow, and it was still falling. I think it was about two weeks before my school reopened. Bliss, bliss, bliss.

One warm Summer morning in 1969, I was walking down a country lane with a friend. We were on our way to a building site to begin eight hours of back-breaking work on a concrete gang, constructing a new filter-bed for a sewage works.

Suddenly, my friend stopped and began looking around him. "Look at the sun filtering through the green leaves," he began to muse, "Listen to the birds singing. What the HELL are we doing going to work on a day like this?" We turned around and slowly walked back in the opposite direction with the slightest trace of guilt tainting our spirits.

This is a genuine note sent to the employer of a Mexican worker to his boss, and was found by Richard Brautigan:

Dear Boss. I will not be coming to work today. I am not ill, I just feel too good to work. If I feel worse tomorrow, I will come.

29 comments:

  1. I might have thought "you British" were wusses when it came to snow, but since visiting England and seeing the tight spaces in which you have to navigate, I have a better appreciation. I doubt you have snow tires on your vehicles, either. -Jenn (a Canadian who thinks this snow thing is getting rather old and is looking forward to spring).

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    1. We are not alloweed studded tyres any more. Shame. Our roads provide less waltzing areas than North American ones, which means that crashes are over before you have had a chance to enjoy them.

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  2. I would love to be sitting in front of my log burner. Unfortunately an engineer took it out yesterday, ready to fit a larger one, but it was the wrong size. He's promised the new one will be installed by 5pm today, and the old one fixed in my studio. Little pink animals keep flying over the house (which I suppose is better than snow). So now I am cuddled up on my day bed, with a fluffy duvet, a fur coverlet, hot water bottle and a very strong hot toddy, so I think I might just survive. Cheers!

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    1. Yes, just don't bother to get out of bed. That's my plan for tomorrow.

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  3. Great stuff and I agree with you except for the fact that in 1963 the sea even froze here in North Kent and the snow and freeze which began around Boxing Day 1962 didn't end until March 1963 and I was working on a milk round and it was a nightmare.

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    1. Maybe the endless Winter lasted longer than I remember. When the sea freezes, you know that it is going to be a good one. Feed the robins!

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  4. As I look out of my window as I type, I see in the distance a rather ominous looking cloud creeping up between the houses. Most weather reports indicate we may miss any of the white stuff to the north and to the south of us. I like to see the snow coming down and then I like to open the door and stand in the cold air watching it come down. Then I love the coming inside again and find a nice hot cup of something -- glad I was able to keep my cosy slippers on so that I don't have to warm my feet up while my hands are enveloped around the hot cup! The next day I want it to be a memory with no icy steps, or pavements/sidewalks or streets to navigate or shovel... Because, being a New England girl, I have been there and done that!

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    1. I bought a set of strap-on studs (calm down, John) for my shoes about three years ago, and I have yet to use them.

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  5. Drat! I just lost a comment I wrote about an ominous cloud I can see from my window as I write and about how I just want to watch the snow through a window or from a doorway and not have any vestiges of the stuff the next day to trip me up or lay me low...

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  6. Tom, it's been good to catch up with your recent posts re commons, SatNav, and dealing with snow. I admit that for the past few days I have been following new events about the governmental transition process.
    Senate hearings, Presidential farewell speeches and yesterday's President Elect press conference.

    Nothing comforting.

    We are due to have more snow here at the weekend.

    Best wishes.

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    1. NATO tanks are now lining up in Poland. It isn't looking very comforting, and he will not be in power for another week...

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    2. Marine le Pen is visiting Trump Tower today. True.

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  7. With a bit of alteration to the words here and there that final note could be used in so many situations.
    I used to love the snow, now I am frightened of falling and breaking something, I can't stand the cold so just stay indoors and mope. (you can imagine = I am fantastic company at such times).

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    1. I bet you are always good company, Weave.

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  8. Last weekend we had snow flurries, sleet, and almost record breaking low temperatures. Today it's a balmy 70F and I just walked outside in shorts, flip flops, and damp hair. Crazy weather.

    Still no word from Rachel?

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    1. We've had three days of rain that will encase us in ice overnight. Crazy weather.

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    2. Not yet to me, Jennifer.

      We have the same prediction Joanne.

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  9. We've got hit by the blizzard as well, but it hits very differently indeed. On the east coast of this county, we had water covering streets and harbours just a couple of days ago, followed by bitter cold and the water turning into thick ice, followed by rain and several degrees warmer, followed by yet another blizzard causing two buses to slide of the road and trees falling over. Deep snow was way back. I can remember ( I was born 1963 ) the winter 1969 that didn't actually end until my birthday, april 4th. I love deep snow for a short time, as you say Tom, it makes silence possible and stillness will enter the rushhour.
    I sincerely loved that quote, and your friends attitude that lovely day, such a pleasure just being alive!
    I agree with Weaver, took me 25 minutes to walk on the ice from the bus stop. Ugh! I don't agree with this winter thing.

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    1. And your mother's maiden name?

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    2. It was the only thing lacking in that mass of words eh? I'll promise to shorten up!

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  10. I hope you got your giant snowfall and were forced to stay in and be cozy.

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  11. Yesterday I heard that Heathrow was cancelling flights IN CASE OF SNOW. That's the British spirit I like to hear of.

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