View Full Version : What is it with the UK and snow?

2nd Mar 2006, 13:20
BBC reporting 10cm of snow and schools are having to close in Wales and Scotland. I can understand that some rural schools simply won't get the staff in to run the place, but if just 4 inches of snow were to fall in a day Canada/Scandi they'd be gratefull!

2nd Mar 2006, 13:28
Probably schools close coz the prattish Health and Safety winkers are scared witless in case somebody slips up and puts in a claim against the authorities.

2nd Mar 2006, 13:31
Folks in countries with alpine climates are used to snow, folks in the likes of the UK simply aren't.
The infrastructure is not there to support dealing with the snow as it doesn't make sense to invest a lot of money for such a relatively rare occurrence.

Curious Pax
2nd Mar 2006, 13:32
More to do with the inadequacies of the heating systems I suspect. Not a new thing - I missed 10 days school 28 years ago because the pipes weren't left on during the holidays, and when they turned things on after the Christmas holidays things burst all over the place. False economy anyone?

2nd Mar 2006, 13:37
Well I'm old enough to remember winter of 62/63 - snowdrifts of 4' outside the house, road closed just up from us, milk came on a tractor, and still I went to school. Playground was quite clear of snow because the wind had blown it away, but plenty of snowballs found their way down peoples backs if you were smart enough to pick up snow in the churchyard on the way.

I think we wore our coats inside on one day, until the janitor had lit the open fire in the classroom (there were radiators as well).

tell that to the kids etc.

2nd Mar 2006, 13:39
Yep remember that too. Shoved out front door and told to go to school. Great fun.

got caught
2nd Mar 2006, 13:41
Wonderful stuff, and if anyone's rambling around kinder scout/edale/mam tor tommorrow, give me a wave- I'm the tall guy with the alsation.

2nd Mar 2006, 13:42
I'm the tall guy with the alsation.

Doing what?? Walking i hope.

got caught
2nd Mar 2006, 13:43
I did once ask a derbyshire hill farmer if he was shearing his sheep.

He told me to get my own !!:uhoh:

2nd Mar 2006, 13:49
I used to go to a school in Brecon South Wales where many of the pupils came from remote rural areas.
Whilst those of us in town could make it in, critical members of staff couldn't and neither could a good proportion of students.
The longest we were closed for was 8 days during the winter of 1982 when the town was shut off for over a week.

2nd Mar 2006, 14:11
As a paper boy in the winter of 62/63 I remember doing the morning round at O'christ hundred and pushing my bike round most of the route 'cos it couldn't be ridden. Getting back home at about 11am, stripping my clothes off and drying them, getting dressed and back to the paper shop for the afternoon delivery of the local paper (Doncaster Gazette) by 1230. Finishing that round, stripping my clothes off, drying them, getting dressed and back to the paper shop for the evening delivery of the evening paper by 1700 and finishing that lot by about 1930. The pay was 13/- a week!

2nd Mar 2006, 14:17

Was the whole day spent with Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 playing around you?

:ouch: :ouch: :ouch:



2nd Mar 2006, 14:22
Most kids get driven to school by their Mum these days.

All those big Range Rovers with 4WD, big fat tyres and low gear transmissions just aren't up to it, I guess.

Eee, wen a wer a lad we ad non othem ponsie caas an we allus gorrersells t'skew!.................(or is that the other thread?)

Windy Militant
2nd Mar 2006, 14:25
I think a lot of it is down to the fact that in the 60's there were far more village schools so kids and teachers could actually walk to school. More importantly they could get home sharpish if things were getting a bit nanuk on them! I think that the authorities are more concerned with litigation in the event of kids being trapped overnight either at the school or worse still in buses on the way home. Looking back at some of the bus rides home I had from school, which at the time were a great laugh could very easily have ended in disaster. Step hills and bendy roads with bloody great drops down into the river, I'd be scared [email protected] these days. :eek:

2nd Mar 2006, 14:30
Unfortunately not the case in the Midlands. Speaking from the Physics laboratory at college where we are forced to "play" on laptops for 90 minutes because there is hardly anyone here.


2nd Mar 2006, 14:36
BHR No. It was more Elgar's Enigma Variations (Nimrod) and trying to imagine Englands green and pleasant land under the 8ft of snow and the soggy Daily Expresses that I was trying to shove through the letterboxes.

So help me, one old bat actually rang the paper shop to complain that her Gazette was late!!!

Loose rivets
2nd Mar 2006, 14:56
Luxury!!!!!!!!!!! We used ta have to get up int morning, before we went ta bed. Do our rounds in 18 foot of snow...and take t'coal an all, cos t'horse was frozen solid.

Then, when it wer six o'clock, we would have ta walk 18 miles ta school, lick the playground clean, while the master beat us with icicles. Them wer the days.:ooh:

2nd Mar 2006, 15:03
I quite enjoyed the first 3 days of the school being closed but as no one could get into or out of town the food stocks rapidly dwindled and we had to have unpasteurised milk that the farm on the edge of the town handed out.
Sledging lost it's appeal after a couple of days and the intense cold set in.

We had huge snow drifts, we had to dig our way out of our homes and drinks froze in the bedrooms overnight due the cold. This was 1982 so not all that long ago, but the snow and cold we saw then does make me laugh at the small covering we get now which shuts us down so easily.

2nd Mar 2006, 15:13
1947 - opened the door and it was a wall of snow. Brother was pushed out of a window with a shovel. Later went 'out by' and were able to reach the telephone wires.
1962 was in the 'Fens' - no snow (to speak of) but SOOOOO cold that the gas froze in the pipes (or maybe it was just the water vapour, anyway we had no heating). Went to bed in my clothes with my sheepskin coat as a 'duvet'.
1982 got stuck getting home to Bedford. Turned off the main road into drifts as high as the bonnet (hood for yanks). Managed to make it within a mile of home before getting totally bogged-down, then foolishly set-off to walk. Only a mile, but whited-out and became totally disorientated (not helped by falling into ditches up to my armpits in snow!). It would have been SO easy to perish.
Spent time in Denmark where they started to shift it before it stopped falling (instead of waiting until roads were blocked). Pavement sweepers too. Walked out four miles over frozen sea (Baltic) to visit an island. Others were driving cars (as the usual ferry couldn't run). Further out the BIG Ferries were ploughing through the lanes cleared by the Icebreakers. Weird that was.
Not seen much since.

2nd Mar 2006, 16:08
You call that SNOW? Pshaw.
It's an economic decision. Here in the frozen north we have tons of big-ass snowplow/sanding trucks and a lot of people have snowblowers for their driveways (or kids large enough to use shovels but small enough not to refuse this character-building duty). But if you only use them one day in two years it's not worth it.
DC snarls up due to snow once a year. The difference is that the productivity of the rest of the nation actually improves when this happens.
And DGMS on 4WD vehicles. Physics, people. You don't STOP any faster than anyone else.

2nd Mar 2006, 16:28
As a paper boy in the winter of 62/63 I remember doing the morning round at O'christ hundred and pushing my bike round most of the route 'cos it couldn't be ridden. Getting back home at about 11am, stripping my clothes off and drying them, getting dressed and back to the paper shop for the afternoon delivery of the local paper (Doncaster Gazette) by 1230. Finishing that round, stripping my clothes off, drying them, getting dressed and back to the paper shop for the evening delivery of the evening paper by 1700 and finishing that lot by about 1930. The pay was 13/- a week!

I tell you what, as someone who works in newspapers, hearing people talk about the days when people had three papers delivered in one day is much like what you guys must feel like when you talk about Spitfires.....:(

2nd Mar 2006, 16:41
We've had over 100 schools 'closed' here in Aberdeenshire but the vast majority have been due to the bus companies cancelling the school runs..and a lot of those are due to the fact that the drivers can't get in...knock on effect blah blah. Ms SLF & meself live in the middle of nowhere and have about 10 miles of country lanes to negotiate before we get to anything wide enough for 2 cows to pass - but fortunately :{ have the 'puter so can work from home.

2nd Mar 2006, 17:09

The fear of headlines like that may be why they stop school runs at the 1st sign of snow. Especially when you consider the state of a lot of the buses they use. Also, the age of some of the drivers, officially retired but who still come out for the school run. Or maybe it's just an insurance thing?

Big Tudor
2nd Mar 2006, 17:43
Speechless Two,

You should remember the winter of '84 then. Serious amounts of snow blocked the roads, winds brought down the power and telephone lines and lightning (yes lightning in a snow storm) took out the TV transmitter. Was off school for over 2 weeks in that one. That was the same year that over 2,000 people got trapped at Glenshee when the snow proved to be a bit heavier than people expected. Ah, happy days!

2nd Mar 2006, 19:39
Well said goshdarnit. Better than the usual clichéd sh!te that the media trot out about not being able to cope with half an inch of snow.


3rd Mar 2006, 17:33
Looks like she's just found the roof of the car with that shovel!

3rd Mar 2006, 18:07
That's not one of those snow shovels that doesn't work below minus 5 degrees C?

With plenty of aforethought I purchased something remarkably similar some weeks ago - and the thing snapped moving a modest amount of snow. Took it back to the garden centre and an erudite sales assistant informed me that "these shovels are not really designed for snow - the plastic becomes brittle" This remark would probably illicit a cool response from even someone who was one snowflake short of a snowman. I was stunned and thought - "nah it isn’t worth it - I could get locked up if this goes much further"

Winter - has anyone else experienced the cost of de-icing an Aztec? They wanted 4500 Kroner up at Tromso a couple of weeks ago. I said - "I'll park downwind of that Braathens 73 and take the overspill" :ok:

"Yeh - no chance" :(

3rd Mar 2006, 19:41
There's snow and there's snow. All snow is not made equal.

The dry powery stuff the people up north see is pretty easy to handle. I lived in Colorado and that's what they had - 30 inches [75cm] wasn't too bad.

But they seldom got snow of the type we usually see in Washington, DC. Snowing just below 32F/0C. Press your foot on it or drive on it and it melts - but freezes into ice as soon as you remove the pressure. We had one such snow when I was in Colorado and they couldn't get around on that type of snow any better than we do around DC. I'd guess that you Brits often see this type of storm.

Probably the worst snow event in my memory occured the afternoon / evening before JFK's inauguration as President. Nearly a foot of the heavy stuff right at the freezing point. I got home without a huge delay because of my knowledge of back streets. But the city was full of people from out-of-town - up north in many cases. They didn't know where they were going nor how to drive on the stuff. There were still abandoned cars in the middle of major avenues 3 days later.

We've had lots of snow other times, but either it was the dry type or at least the town wasn't full of lost outsiders.

I forgot to park down next to the street for this storm. http://users.erols.com/rcarpen/9.JPG

Solid Rust Twotter
3rd Mar 2006, 19:50
The water supply in the Antarctic came from snow which got shovelled into a chamber above the base generator room. Running out in the midst of a shower or developing and printing film (Yeah, it was a long time ago) was a bad idea so before any of these activities were undertaken snow had to be shovelled into the hatch. It would be pushed into a drift with a small bulldozer then shovelled into the hatch by hand. The most frustrating thing was to lift a shovel full of snow, turn to dump it in the hatch and end up throwing in about two teaspoons full due to the wind blowing it off the shovel. Soul destroying stuff...