Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whether the weather...

Winter has been late and light this year. December and January were so mild that daffodils started flowering then. But with a cold March, they’re flowering still. Buds on trees are now desperate to push through, the pressure building up. All they need is a day of warm sunshine and the country will suddenly be green, flushed with new growth.

I can’t help but feel a little sad, though. There are many reasons to be thankful for a mild and event-free winter. Less strain on the NHS, ease of commuting, and avoiding the endless TV and radio news when travel chaos hits London. But I’m of an age when I can remember the relatively regular excitement of fat flakes of snow spiralling down, not just for a few minutes, but enough so that we could excitedly shout ‘It’s sticking, it’s sticking!’ and wake the next day to an entirely new landscape. Yes, I know: rose tinted glasses with lenses blurred by the Vaseline of nostalgia. I didn’t have to get to work then, or worry about shopping, heating bills or having to stay off work because the nursery or school was shut.

But snow angels, snowmen, sliding on compacted snow were all regular occurrences. At junior school, the exciting moment when, on a snowy day, the headmaster would emerge, dustbin lid in hand. Not because of concern over litter, or due to some weird form of corporal punishment but because, on a snowy day, he let himself be fair game. He would run, with lid wielded as a shield, around the playing field whilst we tried our hardest to pelt him with snowballs. Climate change is much more serious than missing out on the chance of getting your own back on your headmaster, but it makes me just a little sad that this regular occurrence seems to be disappearing. Our little boy has barely seen snow; just a few flakes, a sprinkling. Frantic scraping of a dusting led to a snowman a few inches high last year. This year – nothing.
Instead, a late spring will bring fat flakes of green as a storm of leaves appear on branches over the next few days. But you can’t make a snowman out of that.

Monday, March 28, 2016