Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snow Day

Why, in the UK, does the snow take us by surprise every year?

We act like we have never seen the stuff before.

Ohmygod! Snow! On the ground. On the roads. Everywhere! White stuff! I can’t possibly travel in that. Our modern technology just cannot cope with it! We’re just not built to function in snow! Stop the country! Back to the caves!

A hundred years of industrial revolution grinds to a halt in the time it takes for some middle class office worker to pull back the curtains, see an inch of snow on his people carrier and decide that it is simply too difficult to attempt any kind of journey into work.

Scott of the Antarctic would throw his frozen shite at us in disgust. I bet Sir Ranulph Fiennes is out on his front lawn right now sunbathing and eating a Cornetto.

What utter wussies we are.

The entire country shuts up shop. It’s ridiculous. My wife has had to take an unpaid day off work today because all the bloody schools are closed.

There’s barely an inch of snow on the ground here in the Midlands! It’s nothing. Nothing at all. When I was a kid I can remember weeks and weeks of heavy snow in ‘81/’82 and having to walk to school in it every day. The staff all turned up for work. And so did most of the kids. The only time the school ever gave us a day off was when the boilers broke.

Nowadays everybody leaps onto the smallest snowflake as an excuse to take a day off. To have an impromptu holiday. No wonder this country is the poor old man of Europe. Where’s our hardy British spirit gone? Over the last few decades it’s been replaced with a whiny, wheedling, shirking tendency to try and wriggle out of any onerous responsibility or task that requires even the tiniest bit of hard work. Nowadays I suspect schools and businesses close merely to avoid the possibility of litigation should someone slip and smash their buttock on a kerbstone while trying to gain access to their premises.

It’s cowardly, lazy and a little bit tawdry.

The snow up North has been far worse and I bet there’s a fair few people there who will still struggle into work nonetheless.

From the Midlands down to the South though (maybe I’m wrong) the snowfall hasn’t been nearly as bad. It should be business as normal with the added novelty of some beautiful winter views to gawp at from our office windows.

Instead most people are at home watching telly or building snowmen in the garden.

I’m not. I’m at work.


Pass me another turd, Scott old man, I’ve got the ballista working properly now.


Rol said...

I'm working from home, but not enjoying it. Plus I have to try to dig the car out to go in tomorrow when I have suspect it's going to snow again tonight. 7 inches here, and I'm not just boasting.

I hate snow.

RB said...

Yes, I agree. We have had a few inches here but not a lot. The schools are all open though. You would be proud of my son and daughter. My son set off at 7am to trudge the 1.5 miles to the bus stop and my daughter has just set out on the train for Gatwick Airport despite the fact that all flights are suspended. Actually perhaps that is a little daft but she is determined to get to Jersey after being parted from her chap for 3 weeks!

I have had to abandon my car at the bottom of the hill as I was too scared to be the first to try to come back up. So I think I am one of those a little lacking in British gusto!

Happy New Year, Steve! I hope it proves a better one!

Anonymous said...

Oooh you got the day off in '81 when the boilers broke, you were spoiled, bring on the Hovis. Great post!No snow here.
You should come live here, nothing stops people going into work. I remember after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, thousands of people just walking along the streets to work because the subway couldn't run.

Steve said...

Rol: 7 inches. Now that is a respectable amount of snow and worthy of a day at home. You may pass, friend.

Gina: thank you. Your kids give me hope for the future of this country.

MissBehaving: I remember after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, thousands of people just walking along the streets to work because the subway couldn't run... Now that's the kind of spirit I'm talking about! Maybe it's time for me to emigrate?!

French Fancy... said...

I kept thinking how lazy England was when Boxing Day saw the French back at work. I know it's a popular myth how lazy the French can be but for a lazy nation they sure have a lot of successful industries.

What has Britain got left?

(runs away)

Tim Atkinson said...

Up to a point, Lord Copper... Speaking as a (recently-resinged) school insider I can say that there are two huge difference now to the situation in the early-eighties. One, we've all (teachers included) been persuaded to be mobile to the extent that our commutes are a lot longer (which, of course, means more traffic on the roads too); two, jolly old elfen safety surrounds school in red tape to the extent that if they can't guarantee a ratio of one adult to fifteen kiddies they've got to close the school and call the fire-brigade.

Now, when I were a lad we crawled through twelve inches of the stuff in us bare feet...

And then we went to school!

ArtSparker said...

In fact, I read a Yorkshire blog whose author rported walking to work.

Where are Monty Python's Yorkshiremen on a cruise when you need them?

Steve said...

FF: er... Britain's got talent. Apparently. ;-)

The Dotterel: Feet?! You had feet? By God, thee didn't knar tha was born!

ArtSparker: these days they're ringing in sick to their boss or making out that their cars won't start in these barely sub-zero temperatures.

Joe Bloggs said...

Great Scott, Steve!

Your post does indeed hiatus nail on the head - same story here in DK. The winter of 88-89 (2yrs after landing here in dk) was more like it - kinda reminded me of the 81-82 you mention where me mates and I was having fun in snowdrifts up to our necks on our way to Skoolditz (got lost on the way, Sir, terrible blizzard, Sir) about the same time as you - only further south, in Aylesbury of all places.

Suburbia said...

Hee hee! Like your rant!

We have about 4 inches here, schools closed much to childrens delight, yet all roads except side ones are passable. Absolutely no reason to stay at home, as per instructions on the media!

Sorry you didn't get a snow day :(

Savannah said...

I lived in England from '69-'71 and I vividly remember standing on the side of the road up to my knees in snow. We would stand at the bus stop and pray the bus wouldn't get through so we could skip school. Guess what? It ALWAYS got through.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh dear, laughed so much at this I nearly spilt my Pina Colada!
We hardly ever get snow here (as I may have mentioned) and I recall being at work once (oh about '94 maybe) and the snow came down and before it had even settled everyone was running to their cars and heading home!

Steve said...

Joe Bloggs: see, you and me, we're old school... not these young wussies of today who fancy themselves as gangland members and then run home frit of a bit of snow!

Suburbia: even four inches is more noteworthy than the bare icing sugar dusting we got here in Leamo!

Gypsy: these days the bus driver would stay at the depot citing his risk assessment and the latest Health & Safety recommendations. Meanwhile the kids in the snow drifts would be dead from hypothermia within the hour...!

Amanda: but that's the point - you guys hardly ever see snow! We get it every year! How can we not cope with it?!

The Crow said...

Here, too, Steve. Two hour delays in there is three or more inches, but school and some businesses close if we get 6". In '93, we had 26" and the whole town shut down for two days. SUV sales jumped tremendously that year. Anyone with 4WD vehicles were pressed into service driving medical personnel to and from work, which was very nice, really. Made those of us who owned one feel useful.

That sucks that your wife loses a day's pay over this.

(Say, your aren't "Disgusted in Tunbridge Wells," are you? Just read about that in another fellow's blog.)


Steve said...

The Crow: nope, I'm Mr Angry of Leamington and occasionally Mr Annoying of Warwickshire! ;-)

French Fancy... said...

I shouldn't have slagged (isn't that a ghastly word?) off the UK really. It is the home of my birth and all and does have the best theatre in the world. Oh how I miss play-going

Steve said...

FF: yes, and I bet the theatres remained open during the snow! The show must go on and all that! ;-)

TheUndertaker said...

Not that we have any snow here i NZ, but as a swede we certainly do get our fair share of it. However, as much as we used to hope, beg and pray as kids, the roads were ALWAYS open (and ploughed, and sanded), the schools NEVER closed, no-one EVER got time off work. It was jolly annoying... : )
Maybe you should migrate there? Or even better come and join the heat down under.

Steve said...

TheUndertaker: don't tempt me... or rather do tempt me. Both the wife and I both fancy seeing NZ... hopefully, once the kids are at school and we're not so financially strapped we'll manage a visit and maybe check out a few house prices while we're there...! ;-)