England: The Land Where Snow Stops Time!
(don't) let it snow, (don't) let it snow, (don't) let is snow!
Ah, England. The land of royalty, of scones and tea, of small cottages in the country, and of absolute uselessness when it comes to snow. England, as you may well know, is a cold country. If it's not freezing, it's raining, and any sunshine we get we wonder what we've done to deserve it! So why is it that a country as cold as this one, and that therefore expects snow from time to time, cannot cope when it snows?
I'm in my final year of college at the moment, and as I write this, many of my fellow students are celebrating over what is written on our school's website:
"Richmond School is closed today (Tues 5th Jan 2010) due to the snow and black ice.
Every effort was made to clear the school grounds and footpaths of snow and ice in order to open for the start of the Spring Term 2010. Unfortunately, the freezing temperatures caused further black ice to form making it far too dangerous for students and employees."
Yep. It's what we students call a "snow day", and one of the best things a student could wish for is being told not to go to school! But for many, like my parents who need to travel to earn a living, being told not to travel causes disruption and chaos for our daily lives. Having said that, some people still dare to venture out onto the roads. I had a rather exciting experience of that the other day. I'd gone out to go sledging, and as I walked down the road to the field with my sisters, we noticed a rather long line of cars waiting to get onto the roundabout. As we got closer we saw the car at the front had managed to pull out onto the roundabout but his wheels were now spinning madly while the car stayed stationary. So me and my sisters stepped out onto the roundabout and began to push the car. It took several people to get it going, only to find the car behind had now got stuck. Take two.
Norway, on the other hand, manage perfectly in snow. It tends to
snow at least 3 months straight per year in Norway with twice as much
snow and twice as many hills and mountains as us, yet they wake up on a
morning, see the ten inches of snow, get wrapped up and still go to
work, while we take one look at it and say "no thanks, not for me" and
stay in the house all day. I was talking to one of my Norwegian friends
the other day and they couldn't believe we weren't at school. "Wow,
well it's -27 here and we're still at school," she's saying. "So it
must be a lot worse where you are! How cold is it in England?" My
reply: "umm... -4 ...but...we do have a few inches of snow..." How
pathetic! When it snows, it's all over the news, the weather reports,
all anyone can talk about. Classes, parties, events are cancelled
because of the weather. Ambulances, fire engines and police cars cannot
reach emergencies as fast.
Of course, the difference between us and countries like Norway is that they have snow tyres and we don't. It seems to be common knowledge in Norway of how to change a tyre in case you get stuck, and at a certain point every year they take their car to the garage and get their tyres automatically changed so they have snow grips on them, which better help them to grip in the snow and ice to pull them up hills and prevent them from skidding. So my question, which will remain unanswered, is this: why can't we do that, too? It seems simple enough, but evidentally it isn't!
as I sit here on my sofa, watching the snow fall outside through the
window, I wonder when my country will start moving again and when our
lives will be back to normal. The weather forecast says that won't be
for another week yet. All that's left to do now...is wait.
By Daniella Wood