A Snow Flake or Two


The recent snowy weather ground good old England to a halt, despite it being nowhere near as severe as winters in days gone by.  In the winter of 62/63 the snows, frost and severe cold started at the end of December and continued until the beginning of March.

I was just a teeny tot when that winter occurred so I don’t remember it but I do recall a particular bad winter in the early 80s. There was deep snow making it genuinely not possible to travel far and I couldn’t get to work; it was so cold the buses had seized up… But despite that, the country did not ground to a halt! For some reason this country has forgotten how to cope with even a slight downfall of snow…

I fondly remember the time I first drove in atrocious snowy conditions. The adverse weather caused a power cut which meant my alarm didn’t go off and  I was late for setting off to a choir reunion; I leapt into my car without thinking!

I was half way through my journey to the choir reunion which involved a practice in the morning and a concert in the evening when I realised that the snow drifts at the side of the road were at least 4 times the height of my car!!! I wondered at my stupidity, but thought that since I was half way there now I might as well continue on my journey.

We had the morning practice and the weather had got even worse. After the practice I dropped one of the choir ladies off near to her house which was not far from the practice venue. When I dropped her off she gave me detailed instructions on how to drive in the snow. Every time I drive in the snow I think of her.

It was a complete white out on my journey home; I missed my turning on one occasion and had to retrace my steps. I also experienced my first slide in the snow and the best response to recover from that!

Eventually I got home safe and sound and found that in addition to the power cut there was no water supply.  The M6 motorway had also ground to a halt and become impassable due to the adverse weather and people were stuck in their cars for many hours.  But still the country did not shut down.

It makes me smile and despair in equal measures that the snow used to be far worse over here and the country never ground to a halt.  I think that modern vehicle technology has a part to play in this but there is more to it than that, we have lost the skills and ability to cope with cold and snowy conditions, because they have become less frequent over the years.  It is sad to see that this country has lost the skills to be able to cope especially when it lasts for only one day.

1 thought on “A Snow Flake or Two

  1. And if we had a fraction the snow that you have we too would grind to a halt. Lack of familiarity, lack of drive. And when a car powered by a computer chip malfunctions it is beyond the average driver to fix. Progress.
    I love your image though, and in the heat wave we have been experiencing my dreams looked like that. Thank you.

    February 1, 2013 | Soosie
    I think you have summed it up perfectly Cherry. I also remember walking to school in snowy English winters, slipping and sliding on the way, and having lesson in classrooms so cold we were allowed to wear our coats in class. Hats, scarves and gloves had to be kept for outside. Do you remember frost on the INSIDE of the bedroom windows? I remember walking to work whatever the weather, and part of the only route was down a steep hill. I think we were tougher (and a lot younger!|) in those days. Now, in my 70s, I won’t go out in snow or ice unless someone is with me or a car picks me up at the door!
    Beautiful picture by the way.

    February 1, 2013 | Sheila E
    We’ve heard about your recent and unexpected snow. It looks absolutely beautiful..magical -in fact! It really does seem as if the weather is shifting globally. It was unthinkable when I was a kid – not to have winter without snow. Now – there are many winters where there is less..and sometimes no snow at all..and yet others where it’s non-stop.

    Enjoy it while it lasts!!!

    February 1, 2013 | Marcie
    As I have often mentioned, I grew up in Illinois and often experienced copious snow with six-foot snow drifts formed by the wind blowing across the prairie. Now, in Tennessee, every thing comes to a screeching halt when snow is even in the forecast!

    I look out my window this morning to see a very light dusting of snow…I can still see the blades of grass underneath the light powder of snow, and school has been cancelled for the day! I’m shaking my head, and like you, thinking ‘It’s just a flake of two! Why can’t people cope!’

    *sigh* I think our society has become so fearful of law suits that no-one wants to assume responsibility for traveling in ‘these conditions.’

    Your image brings back memories. I often long for a real good snow!

    February 1, 2013 | Sue
    That’s quite a story, Cherry, it’s not fun driving in a whiite out … and a fantastic image!

    February 1, 2013 | Susan
    wonderful story and very well said!
    i enjoyed driving in the snow with you
    (some of my fondest memories include snow travel)

    February 1, 2013 | Jennifer Richardson
    Your story brings up memories of a blizzard in the Midwest in 1978. I think that was the last time I felt my life was in danger due to really extreme winter weather. I know that at least where I lived then, the world kind of shut down for a few days.

    The best memory I have of that time is that my grandfather did get out with his camera, having my dad drive him around, and he took photos of the amazing snow drifts.

    February 1, 2013 | Deborah
    One thing for sure it is a photographer’s dream and I envy your photowalks in that white out landscape. For some reason our varied climate seems to heighten our relationship to weather. Winter creates a special emotional well of memories and pictures for us all. Even though we hardly ever have snow, I still dream about it too and long for it like a kid on Christmas Eve. Maybe if it’s only for one day we should all just pack up and go out in it for the pure fun. Thanks for the snowy interlude:~)

    February 1, 2013 | Catherine
    Exactly as Sue says, I grew up in Michigan where we had REAL snow and blizzards. But when I lived in Atlanta for 25 years, yes, everything came to a screeching halt at the mere mention of snow. But in their defense, they didn’t have the road equipment to take care od snow, no matter how much fell. So I know exactly what you mean, Cherry. I LOVE snow and just wish the Netherlands, where we live, had more of it. It really doesn’t feel like winter without it. Yup, we’re way to old for the present time! 🙂

    February 1, 2013 | Ginnie
    Having lived in Colorado and Utah for most of my childhood and adult life, snow is a regular. Driving in snow is its own set of skills, isn’t it? I’ve had a few mishaps over the years, but never anything too serious. I find as I get older I do it less and less and am thinking of settling somewhere warm and sunny and dry in the winter. Although I love the beauty of fresh snowfall – I’ve tired of navigating it. What a beautiful image you’ve shared. Travel safely!

    February 1, 2013 | Barbara
    A gorgeous image Cherry. I recall a line from Winter Wonderland “and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Isn’t it the truth? Getting around in it and maintaining internet connection etc. becomes quite a problem these days, but oh it is beautiful.

    February 1, 2013 | Elena Caravela
    I guess the snowy conditions happen so rarely that there is little time to really practice. i’ve driven on snow with snow chains etc etc, europe and there everyone is well used to it because it lasts so long. maybe things are changing and we brits will have to get used to snow, mind you it never seems to snow when i am home and i also don’t have a car there so rarely drive (as a brit i still feel ‘involved though :).

    February 2, 2013 | Eliza
    I will start to say that I do love your picture. SNOW……. HA…. we had some too…. I remember the first day of snow, ‘we’ had a traffic jam of standstill traffic of 1020km (= 633 miles). It started snowing when a lot of people were already on the road and the road service was not able to do their job.
    I remember our schoolvacations around Christmas and New Year. I was maybe 9 or 10 (the famous winter of ’63) We built castles of snow in the street and we would have snowball fights. My mom had several pairs of woolen gloves on the coal stove, to try to get them dry…. I was like an icicle the whole vacation. Outside all the time. I loved it……
    Yes the seasons are changing….less snow and what is not nice….LESS ICE… I love to skate, with my ‘long skates’ I want to go from village to village and have a backpack and stop every once in a while to have some food, that is sold by people along the ‘road’…(read)canals that freeze up.
    I think you are right that we are not used to big changes of weather, we are ‘spoiled’. In our house we had the most beautiful ice-flowers on the windows. I could stare at them and wonder how they came there.
    Last year, and I still can smile about it, I park my car in a parking garage, around the corner. It is possible to park on the roof. Snow was on the roof and because of no space elsewhere I had to go all the way to the roof…..
    In front of me was a big MBW, the car kept on sliding down… no snowtires….. okay, here I go…. easy-peasy… the smallest car on the block makes it upstairs.
    I had that same grin on my face like I just won the snowball fight years ago. I come prepared into the winter, from October to the end of March I have snowtires.
    I am like a little kid when it comes to driving in the snow. Not that I become reckless, but I come prepared.
    For the ones that do not know, I live in the Netherlands, Ginnie is my wife and I love it for her when it snows!

    February 2, 2013 | Astrid
    I live where it snows at least a hundred inches a year but still it is hard to get used to driving in the snow on highways…but I still lve living in the cold and snow of winter. I want to regain my love of being active outdoors in the snow again even in my 50s…

    February 2, 2013 | Donna@Gardens Eye View
    Cherry, I could picture you right there in your car in the snow. 40 German winters – and I know exactly what you’re talking about. I remember winters with -25 C – and no, the country didn’t shut down. Snow could pile as high as it would, the country wouldn’t shut down. I think it still doesn’t. But here in California – when there is a faint dust of snow on the ground (which happened once or twice since I moved here 12 years ago) that is gone by midday, schools close! When I heard that for the first time I laughed out loud and thought they were kidding. They were not…

    February 2, 2013 | Carola
    Cherry, what a gorgeous image! I recognize that kind of snow. I’m here in Toronto where we can get more than our fair share…but we are also getting less than, too. The weather patterns are changing. And, for all the anxiety snow – and driving in it, can cause, I would so miss it if it were to disappear! I love this season called winter! Hang in, and enjoy! 🙂

    February 2, 2013 | Juli
    I remember winters growing up, you are right, the snow started in November or December and lasted until March or April. It’s scary to think how quickly it all seems to be changing. We still get enough for it to be a routine thing as far a clean-up goes, but I can imagine in places that aren’t used to it, it is a much bigger deal. I am always happy to be snowed in, but I am lucky that I work at home, driving in it is definitely not fun!

    February 3, 2013 | Kelly
    Thank you all for sharing your snow stories with me too. It is interesting to learn that the weather patterns are changing elsewhere too.

    February 4, 2013 | CherryPie
    Your post reminded me of several snows as a child…major drifts, with my mom walking with me to the bus stop because it was so deep. Now in southwest Virginia snow has become somewhat rare. I’ve always loved snow…and wintering a couple of months in the desert rarely gives me that opportunity, so when I am in New York or Virginia…well, I welcome it!

    February 4, 2013 | Gotham Girl Aka Robin
    We have become a little wimpy haven’t we? My daughter on the other hand, love the school closures!

    February 4, 2013 | Puna
    Beautiful photo. Weather is changing everywhere. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story

    February 5, 2013 | Zena (Healingmoments)
    Cherry, I had to smile when I posted a post on my blog titled “Snow here and there” and then I came here and saw your title “A snow flake or two”. Snow is fascinating! Isn’t it? 🙂 The photo is beautiful.

    It was interesting to read your story. I’m quite sure that people didn’t use to make such a fuss about so many things we make now. Children were going on foot to school covering long distances, adults were working much harder and couldn’t buy all those gadgets we have to make our lives easier. But perhaps we can’t have it all. The resistance of the past time and the advantages of this age…

    February 5, 2013 | Petra
    Yes, I miss the challenges that a foot or two of snow brings. I miss being snowed in with a good book. And fortunately I have a four wheel drive truck that will get me where I need to go when needed.

    February 6, 2013 | Maery Rose

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