A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

It's Snowball Warming! Britain Is a Freezer

Britain Completely Covered in Snow
The last week has been bitterly cold in the UK. I've lived here for a decade and the weather has been getting colder and colder every year. Two nights ago the snows started blowing in and last night there was more snowfall. Everything is covered this morning and it's covered inches deep. I attempted to go out to check the car, but could not open the car door as it was frozen shut. Because I don't own snow boots (I've never needed them here) it was "slip and slide" carrying buckets of hot water to get the door to open. This isn't normal.

Cities in Great Britain aren't like Chicago or Kansas City or even Burlington, Vermont. They aren't prepared for this sort of snowfall. In the US Midwest, for example, people are armed with snowblowers and the city has snowplows that (usually) are out in the mornings clearing the roads. As I think back on the years I spent in New England and the Midwest, I cannot remember when the roads were an issue. I would wake up in the morning, get dressed and by the time I was out the door for class or work...the roads had been cleared and salted. In Scotland two pensioners (retirees) left their daughter's house in Glasgow for home in Falkirk which is normally a 40 minute drive. They left at 10 a.m. and they were stuck for 17 hours in -14 C until they were able to make it to a hotel at 4 a.m the next morning.

Here, everything ground to a halt. The trains stopped running (dead on the tracks, mind you), cars were stuck in the snow and people were simply spending the night in snowdrifts. Today, I attempted to order something over the phone and was greeted with: "Welcome to X company. Due to the record snowfall, many of our employees were unable to come into work today. Please bear with us as it might take a bit longer to get to your call." When I got someone on the phone to take my order, I asked how bad the situation was up north. "It took me seven hours to get home yesterday," I was told. Then, he proceeded to also tell me that they had to close down one day this past week as there weren't enough workers to man the office because of the weather. This, by the way, was a large mail order company.

I am still amazed that there are people who insist that we are "globally warming". I can tell you that in the UK, we had about two weeks of true summer this year and that was in June. We are experiencing extreme weather conditions. I wrote about this last January. Now, traditionally, January is a month of extremely cold weather in some parts of the world. But here, it had always been mild until about 2008. Last year the snows came in January. This year, they came at the end of November. At that rate we should expect snows in September of 2011.

I'm ordering snow boots. And a sleigh.

But I'm not sending Al Gore a Christmas card this year.

(See what it looks like below:)