Minus seventeen degrees is cold. Very cold. It was the coldest night for a hundred years I’m told. It wasn’t quite that cold here. That was a couple of hundred miles away in Wales. But it wasn’t far off. What makes it different, is that it’s hardly winter yet. It’s only November.
Something else happened here that doesn’t normally happen in November. Snow. It snowed heavily here on the south coast two days ago; in fact I had trouble identifying my car when I walked out my front door that morning. Three days later the pavement outside my house is still buried under the white stuff. The thing is, it’s been below freezing day and night for ages so it just sits there, frozen and very slippery. Funny that, because it wouldn’t take much for the local authority to clear it away. After all, it’s a hazard. I live in a hilly bit of town. It’s not too bad shuffling along on the flat, but trying to keep upright going up or down would challenge an Olympic skater!
Local authorities are, after all, responsible for health and safety. The Health and Safety Department are normally vigilant to the extreme. The other day I heard about a school which is planning to put on a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk this Christmas. The Health and Safety Department have told them that the little boy playing Jack has to use a small stepladder to climb the beanstalk rather than clamber six feet up the wooden leaves. Not only that, but he has to be tethered with a safety strap and don a crash helmet! There is a lovely pebble beach here in Sussex, where visitors are warned with a hideous bright yellow sign and a pictogram of a man falling over that there is an "uneven surface". Another pictogram, complete with another tumbling idiot, warns that the beach may have a "slippery surface". Yet there are old folk on the streets of the same town slithering and sliding on packed snow and ending up in the already overstretched A&E Department!
Instead of clearing the snow, the town council workers have been busy during the last few days attaching plastic Christmas trees to the lamp posts in my part of town. They look very festive. Just a shame about the hideous solar panel which sits atop each tree! I suppose I shouldn’t complain. They are after all doing their bit to conserve energy and help combat global warming.
Which brings me full circle to where I started. A couple of days ago we endured the coldest night for a hundred years, and it’s snowing two months earlier than usual. Clearly our efforts to combat global warming are having a profound effect!