Tuesday, 23 November 2010

No business like snow business...

Sat 09 Jan 2010 09:41 GMT

Around 2ft of snow fell here yesterday and there's more on the way...

A popularly held belief is that the Inuit or Eskimo have a word for every different type of snow, I however have one alone: horrible!

Guy embraces snow, loves the stark seasonality of winters here, for him the novelty has not yet worn off even in this our 7th winter in the Alps. For me the novelty never really arrived. I am just not a winter person, never have been (see photo top left not exactly loving it!). It is not my natural environment, I lose feeling in my fingers at the mere thought of making a snowman or snowball and as for sledging...

I'm wondering if back in the UK the novelty of 'Frozen Britain' has worn off yet? Though having a legitimate excuse not to have to go into work is a bonus I suppose. The trouble with the French Alps is that nothing stops for snow, or rarely, you just have to get out and get on with it (how does the snow plough driver get to work?).

French people are very keen to have a pop at British weather and believe we live under constant rain, 'cats and dogs'. Well, I'd rather good old cats and dogs than penguins and polar bears or whatever the equivalent quantitative term is for snow.

For a start rain tends to run away and does not have to be shoveled away like snow. Rain is warmer than snow. Rain washes away dog poo (a blight of some French towns) unlike snow which preserves it as an unpleasant spring 'time capsule'. Rain is an honest wet unlike snow that sits on you, inert, until you get back into the warm and then soaks you. Rain brings rainbows, green grass, flowers and does not erase the colour of your surroundings. Rain washes the car not buries it.

I know I'm a grumpy old git. I should not complain as I do benefit from snow too - I love cross country ski-ing and those blue sky days when it's all twinkly can be stunning. And, after all, I did choose to live in the Alps so it would be ridiculous of me to expect anything else in January.

I suppose I am just going through 'the winter blues'. The fact that a chionophobe (came over all Stephen Fry then) like me puts up with this for 4-5 months of the year is just testament to how amazing it is here in spring and summer. All that shoveling, shivering and falling over is forgotten the minute I see those green shoots, buds and flowers of spring in our valley!


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