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Friday, 18 April 2014

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A night of going snowhere fast

NOW that we’re already bored with the mild, rainy weather, it’s worth bearing in mind that just seven days ago we were in the grip of Snowmageddon.

EM Peter Grenville column
Peter Grenville

With snowy weather having already made most of the rest of the country look unbearably cute, it was finally our turn, with a Met Office amber warning thing in place, just to make it extra worrying.

It didn’t disappoint. With a little snow for much of the day doing a pretty good warm-up routine, The main act arrived late afternoon, and successfully turned any journey started after about 4pm into a winter blunderland. We soon realised we weren’t getting home that night, and not fancying spending it in a Mitsubishi Colt, opted for a nearby hotel.

The bed was lumpier than the mashed potatoes I endured at primary school, but at least we were safe, excessively warm, and able to enjoy the company of all five of the other guests, who were nearly outnumbered by the staff.

Venturing outside later, it was clear there was more snow that I’d seem for years, and we frolicked briefly, until the sound of branches snapping under the weighty white stuff sobered us up rapidly, and with a cloud of icy powder to gently remind us that it might be pretty, but it’s also bloody dangerous too.

Still, it was the most perfect snowman stuff ever, and the speed at which a giant snowball could be rolled was amazingly cartoon-fast. I felt weirdly exhilarated, like a kid again with the wonderment of it all, but without the concerns of losing a glove, coming home with soggy trousers, or getting told off for being late for tea. Ironically, a clean socks shortage meant I’d dug out an old pair knitted for me 20 years ago, so someone is definitely still keeping an eye on me. Thanks, Mum.

At least the TV News Snow Bingo is over for now. Never played it? For every clichéd bit of coverage of any of the following, you score a point. First to get all 10 wins:

  • A reporter stood outside, in the snow (in case we didn’t know what it looks like);
  • A reporter at a gritting depot (because grit is really hard to imagine, none of us ever having seen any on a road, or tumbling out of the back of a gritter lorry, removing the paintwork from our cars);
  • Cars being pushed by people wearing woolly hats;
  • Kids on sledges;
  • A reporter stood outside a closed airport (because we can’t image what that would look like by ourselves) or train station (it’s like a regular train station, but without any trains, apparently. Who knew?);
  • Any mention of the phrase ‘panic buying’;
  • Any people from other countries laughing, looking bewildered, and generally failing to comprehend how we can be so thoroughly hopeless when it snows;
  • A reporter on a bridge over a motorway, so we can see the lack of cars on it;
  • Ducks on a frozen pond (Ha! Look! They’re confused!);
  • John Snow.
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