There was a burst of activity first thing this morning here in Sussex in Southern England, the home of warm winters and sunny summers. Yes, it was snowing again and this time, we in the soft underbelly of our great and stoical nation were the main targets in this new piece of winter weather.
At first, the view from my downstairs window showed people struggling to work in snow-covered cars with wheels skidding all over the road.
The blue van had been making its perilous journey passed my house when the driver’s personal drama was dramatised by the arrival of the traffic police from the relative comfort of the police station on the other side of the street. They told the driver that the conditions were dangerous for driving so he careered off to the sound of police walkie-talkies and I felt I was in the middle of a television drama.
Soon, however, the weather won its battle with the automobile and the streets around here were left traffic free and, I guess, prettier.
The snow is still falling and the radio tells us that this is the coldest winter in Sussex for several billion years or was it twenty years or a hundred, no one is quite sure. Bar-room know-all tells us that this shows that “this global warming business is all stuff and nonsense” as they look at the snow piling up by the minute. They are wrong of course, as meteorologists know, there is a big difference between “weather” and “climate.” We are experiencing wintery weather but the World is almost certainly going through a period of general warming whether you think it is because of the Greenhouse effect or if you think it is just another cycle in the climate changes that effect our planet.
Meanwhile I am going to do the winter equivalent of watching paint dry – is the now deeper in the second picture of my back garden? Look carefully at the table and judge for yourselves. I may post another picture later if it gets dramatic. Well if I am not totally snowed in of course – stranded with only a fridge full of food and a pleasantly warm central heating system which can be boosted by a log fire in my wood-burner.
Out front on the street, people and cars have all long gone and this arctic wilderness that is Lewes, East Sussex has taken on a solemn dignity almost like the end of the World.
Oh sorry, I spoke too soon. Human nature being what it is, there is still a lad chatting on his mobile phone and some kids waiting to chuck a snowball at him. Life goes on – I think.