It started at Christmas but it's dragging on and on -- we're in the clutches of the most extreme cold snap in 30 years. It's cold and snow and frost like I've never seen over here. I dare say it feels just like Utah in the winter. And the headlines are all abuzz with Britain's embarrassment on the world stage. National headlines say things like,
WHY CAN'T WE COPE IN SNOW?
(Don't worry, the local paper is as chock-full of un-newsworthy events as usual. This week: FAMILY HOUSE HAS COUNTRY VIEWS. Oh how lovely!) And in the opinion section of the paper, Brits express their shame and humiliation that what would be a minor inconvenience in other countries shuts England down. Schools have been closed all week, traffic is a circus, trains, buses and planes are halted, and there are continually baffling news stories like this, just in:
WOMAN FREEZES TO DEATH IN BACK GARDEN.
uhh. but... really? I guess the ten-yard walk from the end of her garden to her back door was just too much for the poor dear in such extreme weather. I mean, I'm sure it's very tragic and she was a lovely woman and all. But this is not the apocalypse, people. It's winter.
We've been amazed at how strangely home-like it all feels. When we bundle up and walk around the familiar castle fields now covered in snow it feels so...hmm can't descibe it...homey. Happy. Like having a cup of hot chocolate in your mom's living room.
Oh but here's something that I love. Oh it's so perfectly British. So in most wintery places in the world, it's a law that you must clear the path/sidewalk of snow in front of your property within 24 hours of snowfall (Boston, Minnesota, you know snowy places like that). But today I came across a BBC advice column,
SHOULD YOU SHOVEL THE SNOW FROM YOUR PROPERTY?
Oh boy, I thought, this is going to be good. Sure enough, in Britain you are taking a legal risk shoveling snow from the sidewalks in front of your property. One cannot be too careful, you see. Risky business, this snow is:
Oh really. Thanks for that good, sound advice. I shall cease and desist snow shoveling immediately. Like everyone else. On an unrelated note, I think I might have some ideas about "why we can't cope in snow"...By sweeping snow from one part of the pavement to another, if done in a manner that caused injury to someone, legal action could be taken against you under the part of the law known as "tort of nuisance". [BBC]