Thursday 6 January 2011

06.01. Frosty conditions

Last month was the coldest December documented for the UK since nationwide records began 100 years ago, the UK Met Office has confirmed. However, the first analysis released of global temperatures shows 2010 was one of the warmest years on record. How mad is that? Well, OK, I know that the UK is just a poky little island in a corner of Europe, and people here don’t even consider themselves living in Europe...but that’s an entirely different matter, and could be a topic for a whole post on it’s own...but what I am trying to say is that I realise that on a global scale, UK, or even Europe is not a big part of the World. But still, you might say, it’s here we’re living, and when the weather is behaving like an unruly child, it’s us that gets affected. I am used to cold temperatures and wintery conditions; being from Norway originally, I have shuffled more snow than I care to remember – and one of many reasons why I
moved to London was for the mild climate. Hah! I must admit I do appreciate being able to send off emails with photos of the first daffodils and camellias to friends and family in Norway, when they themselves are still buried in 3-4 feet of snow...but the last 2 winters have been gruelling here in London, with temperatures down to minus 7 just before  this Christmas. And snow on the ground for days on end, I mean, I didn’t see snow on the ground until March 2005, and I came here summer 1999. I thought it never snowed in London, how wrong was I?!

I have even experienced the madness of driving with what we in Norway would call ‘summer tyres’ on my car, on fully snow and ice covered roads here in London. In Norway I would have risked getting a ticket if I had ventured out with my car on roads like that without properly studded tyres, possibly ended up in court if I had caused an accident! And here, everyone are supposed to just plod one has got one bit of training when it comes to driving in wintery conditions – and it shows! Everyone complains when the roads get gridlocked with cars that can’t move on the icy roads, and after just 24 hours of snow, the country is at a standstill. Again. As if it hasn’t happened before, and people should know better? As we are only in January and have already experienced a long spell of cold and snow, we might be in for a double hit this winter, or we might even have time for a triple one! Last year we had episodes of snow until late March so there’s plenty of time for more chaos!

OK, I’ll stop this rant now and show some wintery pictures instead, the first one is from my street, and you can just about see my car here, poking through the snow. Note the window boxes on the wall, I wrote about them earlier in the week, and here the plants are almost completely covered in snow – but survived the ordeal. It is just amazing how some plants are able to survive being in solid frozen window boxes for weeks on end, and still survive! The council didn’t clear my street at all and neither did they come and grit when the snow started to melt, so the street, and all the other smaller streets around here were more or less ice rinks until they thawed completely.

Here is a picture of my garden, almost unrecognisable with all the snow. What you really can’t see from this picture are all the different sized animal prints; my cat and the foxes living mostly next door but who uses my garden as their front room. Amazingly, it seems like they leave my cat alone – or perhaps he is just clever enough to avoid them. He hasn’t been in a fight with the foxes yet at least, I would have known if he had. 

I’ll talk more about the foxes tomorrow though, I think I need to wrap up today’s post and go and put my electric throw on full setting. All this talk about snow and cold weather has made me a bit frosty. I can’t wait for the spring to arrive! 
See you some other time...I’ll be back :-)

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