Tuesday, 3 February 2009


I'm absolutely shocked, horrified, appalled, amazed, gobsmacked!   My ghast is truly flabbered and I have to admit, too, that my shame runs deep, dark and bitter.  

Firstly, the shame.  It's been so many days since I dipped a toe into the wonderfully Oz-like nation of Bloglandia that other people's posts have built up to a terrifying backlog, on my home page. (That's Wizard of Oz, by the way, not the big, beautiful country 'down under' which claims to have a slight talent at Cricket.)   I must read them all - the posts, that is -  the moment I've finished this.

Secondly, I can hardly believe that so much time has gone by since the last bout of frenzied ranting, so politely referred to by certain persons as 'colborning.'  Well, I'll soon put that right! Here goes:

The consequences of yesterdays 'Major Snow Event'  
Our shed roof was partially covered with snow!  Shot at 8 am today.

So that was what the Met Office call a 'Major Snow Event?'  ARE THEY HAVING A LAUGH??? A snowflake falls. And then, before it has a chance to melt, another one lands on top of it and suddenly, everything south of Watford comes to a juddering standstill. The entire London Underground stops, in case a flake might blow into one of the tunnels and fuse the electrics.   Aeroplanes are grounded, buses are locked in their garages, Schools, everywhere, take a day off so the kids can sit at their computers at home. (My broadband ground to a halt yesterday, as if to prove the point.)  

Meanwhile pressmen with cameras scour the parks, downs and uplands of the Home Counties in the hopes of finding some of the aforementioned children having been frogmarched outdoors by parents - prevented from working by the collapsed transport system - to go tobogganing or snowballing, or building really crap snowmen. None of the snowmen I saw would have a hope in hell of flying, with or without the help of Raymond Briggs or Aled Jones.    

So the evening news bulletins were full of jolly snowballers and chirruping children on sledges. Aaah, bless!!!    Mmmmmrrrggghhhhhhh!  They should have been at school, doing Double Maths and their parents should have been hard at work, beating the Credit Crunch and helping to rescue my beleagured pension!   And to cap it all, on Channel Four News, not only were we treated to wise utterances from the current Mayor of Lunnon - he who resembles a bit of a snowman himself - but also his newt-loving predecessor.  Neither was very edifying; neither could explain why a little winter weather had brought the World's Financial Capital to a juddering, quivering, shivering standstill.  

No wonder people in Switzerland, Canada, Upstate New York and other snowy places laugh at us.  If the amount of snow that hit Surrey, yesterday, had fallen in Buffalo or Milwaukee, the locals would wonder what had caused the winter drought.

I'm going to calm down, now, and read all your lovely posts.  Then I'll get back to something loosely connected with nature and gardens.  If you've read this far, you're an absolute saint and I love you for your patience.

I'm listening to Charles Mingus, live, at Cornell University - recorded 1964 - and it isn't helping my mood one bit.

This week's film was Clint Eastwood's absolute cracker of story Dirty Harry.  'Do you feel lucky, Punk?

This day last year was a Sunday and we dined on Roast Pheasant - a geriatric bird, apparently, which appeared to have been shot at 12 feet range.  We also ate the last of the Christmas cake.


  1. Really, we're not laughing at you. Okay, maybe slight snickering, but no worse than at how snow shuts down the Carolinas or Tennessee. We Chicagoans understand about places that are willing to be shut down because they don't want to have to store snowplows or road salt they might not need. No, we're actually just looking for sympathy now that you know how winter is for us in the frozen North.

  2. Okay, I am rolling on the floor laughing. But definitely not at you. Rather I'm laughing with you. You see, I live in Seattle, WA and back in Dec. we went through a SNOWPOCALYPSE. The entire city ground to a halt for almost 2 weeks. Granted, we got more than just a couple of flakes here but still, it was ridiculous. I spent ten years in Wisconsin where even in the midst of a blizzard the buses run. BTW, are you located near TASIS?

  3. I've been nodding my head in agreement through all of this Nige - eeeh! when I was a girl back in the winter of '63 I walked through blizzards to get to school. OK, it was only 100 yards away, but it didn't shut down like 6,000 did today.

    However, it was worth all the money lost to businesses this week just to have the supreme comedy moment from the BBC news this morning. For 2 hours 2 lads toiled in the Blue Peter Garden to build a snow teapot. Progress was shown every half hour when Carol Kirkwood delivered the forecast. At 8.15 the teapot was duly completed and admired by all. Carol turned to one of the lads (now helpfully subtitled as being an ice sculptor), gently patted the teapot handle and said 'Now just how sturdy is this teapot then?' Of course the teapot handle collapsed under the strain to reveal a couple of weedy wires meant to hold the whole thing together.

    Pure television gold.

  4. Good god, man, how do you know what you ate a year ago? We are definitely laughing at you, and for more than one reason.

    Your record snowfall made the news here in the States -- NPR even, National Public Radio, which usually shows good sense. Stress on "usually."

  5. If you can clean it up with a broom it doesn't count at all. :-) I laughed so hard at your posting. Loved it!

  6. Will you have to replace those tiles? And, have you calculated what the extra weight might do to the structure of the building.... I'd have my hard hat on if I were you.

  7. Fascinating!
    How the world changes and stops when the rain suddenly appears in another colour. I've been told that BBC called the mayor of Tromsø to get advice on how to handle the amounts of snow...! How do we survive?!?

    I might have to stop the world tomorrow.

    Best wishes to you and your almost snowcovered roof

    Hilde :)

  8. Golly gosh - what a rapid response! Thanks to all for your lovely comments.

    WeedWackin' Wenches: TASIS? Sorry, I don't quite understand. Am I being dumb?

    VP - that TV programme has never been the same since Percy Thrower stopped being the BP gardener. I went on a cruise, once, with Valerie Singleton and John Noakes.

    Manicgardener- how do I know what I ate a year ago? - it's quite simple, really. I keep a diary. And when I looked that year up, the whole disastrous meal flooded back into my memory. Not that I record every meal, of course - just notable ones like that.

  9. I am so pleased. There is nothing better than a good colborning to restore the circulation. We have rather a fine covering of snow: just enough to cover the molehills but not so much as to cause much inconvenience.
    London is dotted with skanky grey snowmen in surprising places: in the middle of roundabouts and in St Martin's Lane for example.

  10. I'm beginning to wonder whether my village and the surrounding countryside over here in deepest Surrey have suddenly morphed into an alternative universe, where everyone else is wondering what all the fuss is about and we're genuinely labouring under a truly staggering quantity of snow. I'm not talking about a few flakes here, you really did disappear into snowdrifts on a regular basis and my shed had a hat on it a foot thick. We've had a tree by the school pulled over by the weight of it and on the first day when I stepped out in to the garden I really did disappear up over my knees on the way down the garden path.

    It's difficult enough persuading Yanks and Canadians of the significance of this without being colborned from a great height by your own fellow countrymen! Honest, Nigel, it may have been a little sprinkling over where you are but in this little enclave it really was snowing proper like! I had snow like this when I was a nipper too - but not since, until now. The only thing I would say is that when I were a nipper, it stayed on the ground for three weeks. This looks like it'll be gone by the weekend.

  11. Hurray for snow (even little bits!).

    Hurray for extra holidays that strike out of the blue and take (nearly) everyone with joyful surprise.

    See the snowmen on the front page of The Guardian (3rd February)? - Hurray for whoever made them!

    It's the white light to wake up to that I've been missing for so many years . . .

    Come on - rant about the people who moan about snow . . .


  12. Hi Nigel, we had a great covering of snow that disappeared almost as quickly as it came, although in for more, we're promised. i certainly did frogmarch the kids up the park and made them strike joyful wintry children poses while i snapped away furiously, just to be able to prove it to them in 10 years time.

  13. How come the aconites, snowdrops and tiny cyclamen are down but not out? Well they are out actually, but you get my (snow) drift.

    Such a joyful time of year with the improving light and the knowledge that even the Award Winning Journalist is admitting to molehills.

  14. TASIS = The American School in England located in Thorpe. Surrey is the area of England I know best as I taught at TASIS once upon a time.

  15. I loved reading this piece! Well written! :)

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