Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I may be some time...

For John - Zombie Snowmen by Jen Hutchison in Bristol this week.

Snow continues to fall, and most of my energy is taken up by maintaining a reasonably constant body-temperature, or simply standing upright in the strong, North wind.

A couple of U.S. residents were heard to remark (whilst stranded in two inches of short-lived snow at Heathrow Airport recently) that they could not understand how the whole of the UK comes to a stand-still with a light dusting of snow and minus 3 degrees temperature.

Having spent a couple of weeks in Quebec during January, I know their frustration. I was astounded to see cars driving through the city at about 50 mph, on six-inch thick, hard-pack ice, as if they were on Summer tarmac. There is no point at all in salting roads if the temperature drops below about -10, because it has no effect.

North Americans and Canadians have to live through these conditions for two to three months every year, whereas us Brits suffer much milder ones for about a week, and even then only about once every three or four years. We still go stir-crazy though. Up in the North of the American continent, they have winter festivals to stop themselves going mad in the vast expanses of whiteness, but the Scandinavians just lock themselves indoors and drink themselves to death or suicide. I fall somewhere between the two camps.

Can there be a more violent sport than Canadian Ice-Hockey? Well yes, actually, if you watch footage of the wheelchair basket-ball matches in the Paralympic Games! Those blokes have very strong arms.

I have to decide today if the weather conditions will allow me to drive to either the shape-shifting shop in the countryside which sells water-clear resin, or the huge country estate in the North of Bath where I intend to use it on a Breccia Marble column which is falling apart.

I could just stay indoors and drink myself to death, but I think that H.I. might take a pretty dim view of that and freeze me out anyway. She returned home early last night, because the college had decided to shut half way through her Life Painting lesson. This was for Health and Safety reasons, because of the conditions somewhere around the Somerset Levels, about 40 miles away from here.

I love the way Britain shuts down in the snow - it feels so foolhardy and adventurous to set foot outside when the economists are predicting a large drop in productivity and the Met Office is predicting more snow!

Anyway, enough of this - I have Robins to feed.

22 comments:

  1. Hello Tom:
    Now, in venturing out to feed the Robins, we do trust that there is no Captain Oates' sub-text in this.

    We are at one with the remark of the American residents at Heathrow. Here life continues normally, whatever that may be.

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    1. If it's normal for you, dear Hattatts, then that's all that counts.

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  2. Ice hockey is how the Canadian male population get through a long snowy Winter. Only this year the season has started 3 months late because the millionaire players and the millionaire owners had a dispute that was resolved at the last minute and only saw them back on the ice last week. If not resolved, many a Canadian would be inside drinking themselves silly. And yes, it's a very violent game.

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    1. I suppose I would get myself beaten up for a million quid too.

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  3. Britain certainly does come to a standstill in the snow .The reason that other countries are so well prepared for it is that they spend millions on putting things in place for the freezing temperatures as they have much worse than we do and for much longer periods. It is not worth us spending the money for the short time we have snow ( if any ) in our temperate climate. I'm sure that, if we did invest in putting things in place to combat ice and snow, there would be millions of people complaining that the money could be used much more wisely on the NHS etc !!
    Anyway, thats me done with my opinion ..... we have fed the robins, sparrows, greenfinches, wrens and, mostly, the squirrels, in fact, I need to go shopping to get some more fat balls !! Hope that you manage to find the shape-shifting shop again. Take care in the snowy and icy conditions. XXXX

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    1. Just get in touch with John if you want fat balls.

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  4. I hear that Bath is totally swamped, and all that can now be seen is a small but compact city apartment, and a golden cockerel.

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  5. I live in the Mid-Atlantic area of the US, and we also can be shutdown by a few inches of snow.

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  6. Thank you for the zombie pic...
    Made me smile on another cold day.... 2 hens have died so far due to the harsh conditions....
    I wish I had Canadian hens..I bet they are a bit tougher

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  7. Your domestic woes remind me of what it is like around here, just the opposite. It's been so hot in the city that nobody goes outside if they don't have to. A few kilometres inland, 45 -49 degrees C is almost uninhabitable without air conditioning.

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  8. Replies
    1. They love mealworms too Weave ..... I think that we spend as much on food for the birds as we do on ourselves !!!! XXXX

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  9. I live in Wisconsin and if we get 10+ inches of snow, then we think about staying inside for a few hours to let the plows blaze trails. Vast amounts of snow simply challenge us, which is crazy and we know it, but still seems to think we have to BE SOMEWHERE. The last time we got a blizzard with 11" of snow and it took us 3 hrs. to get home with a 4 wheel drive 1 ton truck(which was only 5 miles away!)...I said, "That's it, I am not doing that again!" Did I mention we are crazy? Crazy is a close cousin to stupid at times.

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  10. Here we are dealing with below zero temps (Illinois) high winds and horrific outside conditions for the care of all our farm animals but when hubs came in today and saw more of the wee snow you had across the waters...he asked "How are all your friends doing overthere? I hope they are OK"

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  11. I awoke to -5°F/~-20°C this morning. Kitten Jim cried to go outside after he'd already been out twice. (I called him in, as i didn't want him out for long periods of time with it so cold, and there's a bit of wind).

    The thermometer is now showing 30°F/-1°C in the sun, but it feels colder than that.

    I've lived in places that were ill equipped to handle any snow or ice conditions, and it was awful. Here, i make sure to dress in layers, keep hydrated, and thank God for wool.

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  12. I suppose we don't have enough snow to justify spending money on the kit to clear it - but enough to disrupt us when it does come.

    I had an experience the other day, sliding backwards down a hill in my car. I kept it going straight and avoided an accident but it did make me wish I'd stayed indoors.

    I don't think having to slow down for a day or two does us any harm.

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    1. I don't think slowing down for a year or two does either.

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  13. I want a shape-shifting shop. What is it?

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    1. It's a shop which is never there when you want it, so don't want one.

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