Monday, January 11, 2010

<<< 2010 is here !! >>>

So this is my first post of 2010. I would like to wish all of you a happy new year and let us hope that it will be better than the last one. Although it could have been worse I guess. Here in the UK we saw the old year out with some drama, provided by mother nature herself. Yes you have guessed it...the weather! We have been experiencing a very cold spell, which began in mid-December and has continued to bite into the nation right up until now. Needless to say the news media really got themselves into a tizz over this sudden outbreak of...'winterness'. The various news outlets seemed unable to decide just how bad this weather actually was. Some said it was the worst winter since 1991...some said it was worse than the winter of 1984 and some just threw out all those statistics and went the whole way, by saying it is the worst winter weather for over 100 years! Oh yes that terrible winter of 19-0-something or other. Yes that was quite a bummer! We all remember it so well. Of course I should not be surprised by all this (over) reacting. If there is one thing the British people love talking about - it is the weather. In fact I have written a similar post here before, way back in 2007.

Of course this current situation could not continue without some sort of drama...and we got one, when the media found out that there may not be enough salt and grit to treat the roads with. As the snow had fallen over a period of two days and some local councils had not been able to clear all of the roads, then this was taken as some sort of crisis. News reporters were going to remote locations and standing in snow-covered fields or even better, at salt storage depots. 'The salt and grit is running out!'. We were told again and again. 'It is like gold-dust!', they exclaimed. 'We are all doomed!'. Well they did not actually say the last one, but it was inferred a number of times during the very frequent and tedious segments, which news channels had decided to churn out every few minutes. 'And now the latest on the weather'. Having only just shown us a frozen news reporter shivering next to a frozen lake, we really did not need an update. It was unlikely that a mass-thaw had occurred anywhere within the last few minutes, but still they all blathered on, giving us their forecasts of more terrible weather to come and using words such as 'Grip' and 'Hit' and 'Battered' and 'Clutch'. You would think were were listening to a report on a wrestling match rather than the consequences of a season which has been an annual fixture in this part of the world for millions of years. Every year we act surprised by these sudden seasonal changes. It is as if we had never seen winter, or come to think of it, summer, ever before. When it suddenly becomes hot, we panic...and when it suddenly becomes chilly, we panic.

During my time in China, I was able to bear witness to some pretty extreme weather. As the City I was staying in was stuck right in the middle of nowhere and its nearest neighbour was the Gobi Desert, I was guaranteed some wild and wacky conditions. The summers were hot and dry and the winter months were grey and bitter with what can only be described as an ever-present Arctic wind blowing through every nook and cranny of your soul. I was lucky enough to get the chance to experience sub-sub zero temperatures of -30. Yes 30 degrees below zero! This is one of the most barren places on earth. Having experienced this particular climate over a four year period I can safely say that winter 2009 in the UK felt like a beach-towel in July, when compared with the Inner Mongolia ones.

So what is the situation today? Well everyone has calmed down a little and we seem to have survived this wintry calamity relatively unscathed. Of course during this harsh weather, there will always be those individuals who think it would be a good idea to walk over to the middle of a frozen lake or river and see what happens when their body weight is exerted onto the thin icy surface. Of course they fall through the ice and die. I wonder how long it will be before death certificates can have the cause of a persons demise to be... 'Death caused by STUPIDITY'. It would certainly speed up the coroners job.

I think each British household should have a booklet pushed through their door, giving all the 'hidden' dangers that lay in wait for us all. Maybe I can publish my own!

1- Do not eat razor blades
2- Do not push broken glass into your eye
3- Do not stick your wet finger into the power outlet.
4- Do not jump off a tall building
.....(Unless death is the result you wish)
5- Do not put your new-born baby inside a microwave oven.
6- Do not store poison in a cough medicine bottle.
7- Do not buy the box set of 'How I met your mother'.
8- Do not drive a car after consuming lots of alcohol
9- Do not drink scolding hot coffee or tea,
......or pour it into your lap.
10- Do not walk on frozen lakes or rivers.

(Misterduncan) .......................................

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