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Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Weather with You

How did you react to the snow fall on Monday? Did you wake up bemused by the silence and early brightness, and on looking out blearily did your heart miss a beat and childlike feelings infuse every piece of your being? Or did you curse and damn the smothering blanket of ice which chilled your heart?

This meteorological event has split the nation. For some the snow has been sheer delight; for others another inconvenience on top of an already chilly (economic) climate. Well, let me tell you on which side of the fence I stand – I’m with the Snow Party. I laughed like a child and ohh’d and arrh’d as the ground disappeared under nature’s white wash and huge flakes of ice cascaded out of the gun metal skies.

The world looked soo… beautiful; the harsh sounds of the town were muted; and the incessant hurry of our lives had a temporary halt imposed by something bigger than our municipal authorities and government departments. Schools were closed, offices and shops shut as the soft white stuff defeated all our schemes and machinations. In many instances the authorities not only looked helpless, they looked incompetent – and no Englishman worth their salt cannot be amused by such displays of official impotence.

On our allotment, the foxes had left their delicate tracks in the snow. Trails running up and down the paths, with detours onto the plots and evidence of digging and noses sniffing out a tasty morsel such a slug, snail or buried cold meats long forgotten but now rediscovered. In the low afternoon sun, the snow had a delicate bluish hue, and shadows were softened into cartoon contours, with splashes of colour breaking through the white washed scene.

An allotment is not the most beautiful of sights. Allotment holders are a breed of hoarders, make doers, and patch up merchants. But in the snow our allotment was transformed into an alien landscape; a turned up wheelbarrow half submerged, like a gigantic fish breaking the white foam of some forgotten sea.

And now it’s thawing, narrow streets whitened into country lanes, are returning to their old hard, inner city contours. The roads are noisy again with the swish of rubber on slush and people gingerly pick their way between isolated pockets of still virgin snows. I don’t want the snow to disappear; it makes me sad to see it retreat and our modern ways re-impose itself, leaving the dirt and disorder once again exposed.

But for a couple of days all that was suspended and for a while I was able to feel a child again and laugh as the soft, chilly flakes settled and then melted on my face.

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