Tag Archives: snow

A weather-related ‘Did you know?’ post

Did you know that wintry weather is more likely in March than December in the UK? On average, snow falls on five days in December. In March, it falls on six days.

That makes no difference to my wish for this seemingly endless winter to begone, though. Honestly, it seems to have been going on forever. And I’m not being fooled: look at this picture. This is my back garden.

Don't be fooled. It may look lovely and sunny and warm in my back garden, but it's brass monkeys out there.

Doesn’t it look lovely and Spring-like?

I just went outside to put the washing out, and my fingers froze solid. I’m typing this with my (freaky monkey) toes.

So, anyway. My point was this: it’s not particularly unusual weather for March. It’s just really annoying.

A short musing on snow

Twitter, Facebook and the bloke in the pub are waxing lyrical about how rubbish the UK is when it comes to snow. “It’s only a few flakes!” they cry. “Why does everything grind to a halt?” they complain. “Look at Canada – they cope with several feet of snow for weeks on end, and nothing stops!” they proclaim.

Well, yes. Of course they do. They have feet of snow every year, as do parts of northern Europe, North America and the Far East. They’re used to it. Their entire infrastructure is built around coping with large amounts of snow. Their populations know exactly how to prepare for the coming of snow, and how to perambulate and drive through it when it arrives. They all have snow shoes and snow chains, and it’s a way of life for them.

The UK, in contrast, hardly ever gets significant quantities of snow. Scotland and the higher areas of England and Wales do get more snow, and those areas cope pretty well. But they’re remote, and infrastructure is generally not affected. When populated, urban areas get blanketed, of course it causes disruption. We’re not set up to deal with it! Generally, we cope pretty well.

In 2010, we had lots of snow. I went up a hill, made snow angels, and danced. This is a photo of that.

Snow joke. It’s a snow dance.

By altering the way we do things slightly – like not travelling unless it’s absolutely necessary – the world doesn’t have to stop. In this age of technology, there is no reason why many office-based jobs can’t be done from home in poor weather, but this requires an attitude shift from senior management…

“But why don’t we set up our infrastructure to cope with heavy snow?” I can almost hear the wails from the legions of Daily Mail readers. The answer is simple: it would cost an enormous amount of money, and it wouldn’t be worth it. Not for our winters. Countries like Canada have built their economies and services around their climate; we haven’t. Unless our climate changes and we begin to have regular harsh winters like they do, it just isn’t worth it.

We’d do far better to alter our working practices where we can, and adjust our driving to the weather conditions (something surprisingly few people do). But having a good old moan about how rubbish Britain is, is one of our national pastimes, so I guess that will carry on. People really should stop panic buying everything though. It’s probably not going to be that bad in most places. And I need to do my normal shop tomorrow…

Anyway: stuff this. I’m going out to build a snowman. Did I mention that I LOVE snow?

Snow, pain and science

This is going to be a mostly science-free post, as I have been busy for the last couple of days. Busy being a tough cookie, and busy recovering from said toughness.

However, a quick recap of where I’m at now: I am almost at the end of my virtual study tour in the Teign Valley, having just taken a look at the water composition of the river and its tributaries. I’ve got to be honest, the course isn’t gripping me so far. BUT – the books look much more interesting, so I shall not be disheartened.

It’s most definitely more of a “geography with science benefits” course, and I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into the pure science again after this course. Astrophysics all the way, baby!

I am, though, learning a lot about spreadsheets. This is useful, but dull. It’s driving me to drink.

Enough of that, though. I spent yesterday evening doing this: the Grim Night Terror. Here is what it looked like:

Grim.

Yes, that is snow. Basically, we ran seven miles (it was supposed to be eight, but the ice necessitated a change of course) in an hour and ten minutes. In the snow. It was bloody good fun, and felt fabulous!

During the last mile, I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other – and then there were the crowds of onlookers. It’s astonishing the difference a bunch of strangers shouting encouragement can make. Suddenly, with their help and a man to overtake, I found a burst of speed and crossed the line at pace with a huge grin on my face.

That was nothing compared to the journey home though – four hours in heavy snow, with vehicles spinning off the motorway left, right and centre. It was quite exciting, and completely exhausting. Driving snow gave me flashbacks to my misspent youth…

With a swollen knee – not to mention the swollen sense of pride – I’ve just signed up for this one too: The NUTS Challenge. And I’m probably going to do the Tough Mudder in the summer.

I am this: NAILS. Factoid.

Sign up now. It is fun most excellent.