War is hell. Women and children are under terrible threat and nobody’s doing a damn thing about it. Politicians seem powerless to stop it and outrage is everywhere.
Even those far from the front lines have their routines badly disrupted. But this is no ordinary conflict. This enemy is different – insidious, targeting the weakest in society, culling the sick and the old like a less cuddly Shipman. It’s an unwinnable war against a truly evil adversary.
Yeah, it’s a bit nippy out.
And don’t we know it. News loves weather and this week is like D-Day and 9/11 rolling down a snowy hill and smashing into Marjory Stoneman Douglas, as Fiona Bruce grins and cackles maniacally. DRIVERS HAVE POSTED VIDEOS OF TRAFFIC ON THE M20 AT A STANDSTILL, NORTH OF MAIDSTONE. There’s icy wind coming from Russia, Storm Emma heading up from Portugal and that white stuff on the weather map is a blissful blizzard of weatherman jizz.
And with the weather comes the moaning. A flurry of snow begets a flurry of whingeing that people can’t get to work exactly on time despite having left home at the same time as the last time it was sunny out. Why won’t trains work properly? Don’t people realise how vital it is I’m in the office to email someone about something for some reason? Incensed commuters decry the feeble British response, comparing it unfavourably to Scandinavia, never mind that sensible taxation gives Nordic authorities bulging coffers to deal with their 495 days of snowfall a year.
For the sane among us, cold weather is the silver lining around the cloudy life we’re trudging through. Snowballs pitched Olympian distances through crisp air, the breath in front of your face so thick you could be Snoop Dogg, cars sliding backwards downhill. These are the days I look out upon a shivering world and rejoice, given for half the year it’s too hot for me to contemplate leaving the flat, is the story I’m sticking with.
I’ve been to every Scandinavian country, and Greenland, intentionally in the frozen months in each case. Few trips abroad have been so calming and peaceful, which is quite something in the land of £20 a pint. A couple of weeks ago I was in Tallinn, wandering through -13 temperatures in the faithful hoodie, wondering whether the t-shirt under the sweatshirt was overkill. I love it cold more than I love it black with a creamy head.
If you think hot weather is better than cold weather you must have failed physics or chemistry or wherever the hell the mysterious art of meteorology sits. It’s tricky to get naked on a hot bus without some spoilsport calling the police, but you can jam an extra coat on and basically create a mobile quilt for yourself. Snow makes the world look beautiful; sweat, less so. A bright, freezing winter’s day or the fearful shimmer of a Central line carriage in July?
Obviously the media can’t help but make an apocalypse out of it; it’s free content after all. According to an ‘Antarctica expert’ on the radio: “If you let the wind get on your skin, you’re in trouble.” Frostbite and hypothermia will be the least of your concerns if you mistake that blue sky for t-shirt weather. This startling wind chill whistling up your skirt will almost certainly render you infertile; those brave men battling the elements will have to start sharing what few testicles remain.
People storm about with grim faces like it’s winter 1942 and the Wehrmacht are edging ever closer to Stalingrad. Launching oneself on a shiny pavement could end in broken limbs or, worse, embarrassment. This horrible attrition might never end, never mind that a fortnight from now a battalion of berks in shorts will be on their marks as the gun goes off for the ever-extending barbecue season.
Can’t you just put up with it for a few weeks a year? Hot is going to be the predominant experience for humanity for the next couple of centuries at least, as winter recedes into the mists of memory alongside such fondly remembered planetary features as the Maldives and polar bears. You will get your desire for ‘sun’, which if I might remind you is a ball of fire that gives you cancer. Can’t you just let me have the last vestiges of chill before we return to the type of utter hell that ends with me needing collecting from the cricket by the wife because I had sunstroke, is the story I’m sticking with?
Unless you’re fixing a broken roof or a broken leg, being a bit late to work probably doesn’t matter. If your boss is such a bastard you’ll get in trouble for the functions of Earth itself, take the day as holiday and use it to start looking for a job where you don’t have to work for a man in a top hat and monocle demanding the coal scuttle in the drawing room be refilled forthwith.
How can you begrudge children the incomparable joy of opening the curtains and realising it’s a day of snowmen and sledging instead of isosceles triangles and double PE? When winter turns white it’s the world giving us a little extra happiness, for free, not that we deserve it. Don’t treat cold and snow as your enemy, but as what Christmas would be like if it hadn’t been taken over by jingling adverts for wall-to-wall football on Sky and turkey so dry it’d choke a Bedouin.
Stop moaning and stay frosty. Jam another jacket on and stay off the M20. This ain’t war, it’s serenity.