Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Posts Tagged ‘pathetic

It’s snow joke (geddit) when we get bad weather*

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Anyone would have thought the UK was in the grip of a new Ice Age when it snowed yesterday. That’s right: in the middle of winter, it snowed. Quite a lot. And the whole country fell apart at the seams.

Our overseas cousins who live in cold climes be must howling with derision at our seeming inability to cope with any extreme weather.

A Canadian who lives in this country revelled in telling me how she chortled as we struggled to do anything ten feet away from our front doors because there had been a light dusting of snow. Where she was from they had proper weather: 35C in the summer and -30C in the winter.

No one missed a day at school or work because of it. They simply had the mentality to deal with it. She travelled on a Trans-Atlantic flight one winter and it landed perfectly well with no problems, even though the weather was Arctic-like.

On her return to England her flight was diverted to another airport because of the inclement weather. It was about -2C and there was about two inches of snow. It took half the time of the flight again to go about 100 miles.

That’s the problem with the UK in general. We can’t cope when it snows and we do nothing to show our mettle. Instead, we put the kettle on, have a nice cup of tea and wait for the nasty weather to go away.

One snap of proper snow and public transport grinds to a halt; people panic about making journeys; roads become gridlocked; the media becomes over-excited at the fact there is a white-out/a big freeze/snow joke etc. To the outside world we must look ridiculous. We are – in general – pathetic.

(Of course, as the subject is weather-related we Brits will talk about it. It doesn’t matter what the weather, we will be able to comment on it ad nauseam: a stiff breeze coming from the east? Oh yes, we will engage for ten minutes about it. Weather too hot? Well, we can regale you with tales of what it was like in ’76.)

But the thing that has narked me beyond belief is that school headteachers were practically falling over themselves to close. Why?

I’ll scream if anyone shouts “health and safety”. According to the BBC, Ed Balls, the schools secretary for England, told Radio Four’s World at One:

There’s always a balance to be struck. In retrospect maybe the schools could have opened.”

This is certainly the case for primary schools, as many pupils live nearby, although I concede there might be difficulties for some senior schools, as some pupils may have to travel long distances on buses to get there (assuming doting parents allow them to use public transport nowadays).

Schools close because it is difficult for the teachers to get in. And? I am expected to go to work in the bad weather. If I don’t, I, like millions of others, have either to take a day’s leave or go unpaid.  Teachers, on the other hand, will be enjoying another day or two’s PAID holiday to add to the 13 weeks+ they already get. I bet if they were told they wouldn’t be paid because of the weather they’d find a way of getting in alright.

Can you imagine what would happen to the economy if everywhere was closed because of the bad weather? The Federation of Small Businesses believes that 20 per cent of the working population didn’t make it to work yesterday. That’s 6.4 million people.

Estimates on the cost to the economy yesterday alone come in between £900 million and £1.2 billion.

That’s the sound of the credit crunching under your snow boots.

(* the headline, by the way, is meant to be hackneyed and cringe-worthy)

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Written by CommonPeople

February 3, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Just another stressful Christmas

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This week is going to be much better than last week. It is a promise I have made to myself and I am determined to see the funny side of life.
Last week, I experienced disheartenment, frustration and bewildermen. So close to Christmas, too.
First, I had the mother of all colds. Yes, I know you probably had one, too, but this is all about me. My cold was worse than the previous four years’ worth put together. I lay under a duvet for two days and snivelled, ached and flopped, while child number two came out in sympathy and joined me for a weekend of coughing and spluttering.
But, a Christmas tree had to be bought, so I dragged my aching carcass to the local farm to see a handful of pathetic specimens left (“Should have come last week, love,” I was told, by a ruddy-faced farmer, who clearly has not seen any evidence of the credit crunch this year. “I had more than 600 then.”).
I chose the least ridiculous looking one and took it home. And there it stood it the garage, all forlorn for two days before I could muster the energy to find the decorations. I’m afraid it looks fairly rubbish with the adornments.
Low number two came in the guise of a bizarre self-inflicted accident on the way to work. Still weary and delicate from man ‘flu, I reached into my car boot for my handbag. Then, in slow motion (as it always seem to be, but you cannot do a darned thing about it), I banged my head on the lock, which caused me to bring my gloved hand down to rub my head.
Instead, my gloved hand overreached my noggin and – for reasons that I cannot fathom – I ended up punching myself very hard on the bridge of my nose. There were chunters, a few tears of anger and sheer embarrassment and a throbbing sensation that was to last the day. A black eye for Christmas, madam? Oh, just what I always wanted.
Then I spent a fruitless day searching for a Christmas present that mother-in-law claimed wasn’t in her bag of goodies that I’d bought for the children.
With an ill son resting in the lounge, I spent a total of FIVE hours looking for the missing DS game. Wardrobes were turned inside out, drawers were emptied repeatedly and beds were moved. Just in case.
Now in full panic mode, I try to re-buy the game online (now not available until January) and almost weep (again) in frustration.
I confess to m-i-l that the game is missing in action. It cannot be found. There is nothing we can do.
“What DS game?” she asks, puzzled.
“The one that you said was missing from the bag of presents,” I wail.
“Oh, I’ve got that. It’s the CD that’s missing,” she chirrups. The CD she said she was going to get.
Anger? Frustration? Helplessness? Tears?
Ah, yes. It must be Christmas. Happy Christmas to you all.

Written by CommonPeople

December 21, 2008 at 12:23 pm