It snowed nonstop for a whole day here in our little village outside Manchester 2 days ago. It didn’t take long for our front and backyards to be covered in a thick, puffy quilt of white.
For all that it felt so cold during those days, I find that the temps were at its worst just below 30*F (-4.0C), — quite a ways away from the sub-zero (Fahrenheit) windchilled winters of Chicago. And yet — why did it feel so cold? Why did the snow fall accumulation seem even more extreme? I was griping about the cold until the Hubby reminded me that it is nothing compared to our winters in Chicago. True, I probably complain less about the cold there than here.
Simple explanation. The cold is more challenging here because the UK is largely unequipped or unprepared to tackle extreme weather of this sort. On a grocery run for instance, I was surprised to find that SALT had run out, in Tesco, Sainsbury and in the neighborhood co-op. I was later told that many had to resort to using table salt to dust their icy front door to prevent elderly from slipping; — which gives you a clue that the roads are totally ungritted. The council took a while to send trucks to plough the snow off the streets, and if they did, it would only be the main thoroughfares. Most houses are not amply insulated for harsh winters (and of course, let’s not forget the prohibitive cost of heating). And the government services all seem to come to a halt. The garbage bin (“wheelie bins”) were not collected. Mail was not delivered. Schools are out. Parents cannot go to work because schools closed. The roads to the supermarkets are superclogged. Cars are stalled and abandoned. Power is cut off in some places…. yadah yadah yadah. I’m sorry if this sounds like a gripe sheet, but in some way it probably is. It’s crazy how life almost comes to a stand still, and daily living just seems helpless to go forwards for those few days. It makes me realize how much I miss the efficiency and readiness of Chicago for wintry elements which make for what appears to be hardier, keep-going, can-do city. Remember this comment of Pres. Obama regarding a snow day in D.C. same time last year?