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Snow melt!
Tuesday 21st December 2010 9:45 pm

In important news, the snow is melting! Well, it's melting a bit on the roofs. It's hard to tell if it's melting anywhere else because there's either just lots of white stuff, or lots of grey stuff where people have walked on it. But this evening when I left work, in the dark, it was snowing a bit, but not settling, which is a start.

It's also warming up, although that's not hard. When I left for work yesterday it was -10C. A temperature which I'd never before thought I'd experience. It turns out it's cold. I mean, obviously it is because it's a big minus number, but it means it's colder than you ever thought possible. Waiting for the bus for 30 minutes was quite cold, but not too bad. But the bus itself has no heating (well, I discovered later it has one heater by one seat that can heat up one foot) and a cold draft round your feet. Since then, it's been around 0C which feels only a bit chilly. Possibly because I'm wearing a ridiculous number of clothes outside.

I don't like this sort of cold and I definitely don't like snow. I have SAD, only instead of the dark making me depressed, it's extreme (relatively speaking) temperatures that make me grumpy. Ideally I'd like to live somewhere that had seasons, but the temperature generally stayed between 10C and 20C. Maybe it could go down to 5C in the winter, just to make the point that it was winter, and go up to 25C in the summer just to remind you what hot weather was like. But never went below 5C or above 25C. And also doesn't have earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes or stupid amounts of rain. I think I might have ruled out every place on Earth...

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Sunday 19th December 2010 8:39 pm

Unlike the rest of the country, here we had our first snow of the week on Saturday morning. Driving home on Friday the road reports were all about the snow, but it was sunny here. Saturday I woke up to find the world covered in snow and it kept snowing more all morning.

What amused me yesterday was someone in my road clearing the snow off his car with a dustpan at lunchtime and then not going anywhere in it. So then it iced up, then it snowed a bit more. So whereas my car, for instance, has a blanket of snow, his is covered in ice and a bit of snow. Then today one of my neighbours spent most of the day clearing the snow off part of the car park at the back of my block of flats with a shovel and a broom. I have no idea why. He did get it pretty clear, though, so it might not ice over tonight. But since there are no cars near it, it probably doesn't matter.

I'll be getting the bus all week, which is fine because I have plenty of Big Finish audios to listen to on my mp3 player. The only question is what the roads will be like on Saturday when I want to drive home. It's so far in advance that the weather forecasts for this week change daily. It doesn't really matter if I go later - the shops are only shut for one day, I have enough food to definitely last until Boxing Day and Sainsburys is only ten minutes walk away. I hate not knowing, though. I like to have everything planned and then get all of a do when it doesn't go to plan.

I'm ready for it to be spring now. Or as warm (relatively speaking) as it was at the beginning of the week will do.

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Is it spring yet?
Friday 26th November 2010 8:36 pm

I don't like this weather. It's not the weather itself that I dislike - I quite like it when it's cold and sunny, as it is now (well, before the sun went down). But I hate living in a house where the crockery and cutlery is too cold to touch and you're only warm if you're wearing three jumpers, three pairs of a socks and a pair of gloves. It's very difficult to type in gloves. However, I do have an oil heater that I bought last January that I have switched on now it's reached that point. I am now pleasantly warm while wearing two jumpers, which is a vast improvement. It vastly improves my outlook on the world.

Except for the threat of snow. I grew up on the south coast where it only snows every three or four years. Or did while I was growing up. Although it didn't snow while I was at uni, which was further north than I am now, it has snowed every year I've lived here. Including two years when it started snowing and settling during the day (although it was dark), which I'd never previously known was possible. And two years (that would be the last two winters) where it's snowed and not melted for a week. Until then I'd never seen it last more than a day. So to me this is all a bit unnatural.

What makes it worse is not knowing if it's going to hit. If it does snow my choices on a work day are either to get up early and get the bus in (so I have to set my alarm early the night before) or work from home. Which is slow at the best of times and really frustrates me. Plus I hate having to talk to people by email. And work is really cold the fewer people are in there. Although I taped up my window with masking tape, which helped a bit. And bought a heater to put under my desk, which helped enormously. I haven't got it out of the box.

Sunday I'm going to east London to see the tennis. So I could really do with there not being any snow to disrupt anything, especially as the tube strike means that some tubes might stop early (and it's a Sunday so there are fewer trains in general anyway). According to the TfL website it should be ok at the time the tennis will finish. If it isn't, there'll be 17,500 people all wanting to get across London...

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Driving and snow
Wednesday 13th January 2010 7:59 pm

Considering that I don't like driving and given the option would far rather not, I can't quite believe I'm going to say this but... I really want to be able to drive to work.

I'd be warmer, I could leave later, so get up later, so get more sleep, I could listen to the radio (I haven't heard Chris Evans at breakfast yet and I'm missing the Five Live guys with the news on my way home). It wouldn't matter if I left a few minutes late, I would have to slide over so much snow, I would spend ages waiting for a bus and I could leave work whatever time I liked (well, after 5.30pm obviously).

I can't drive at the moment because although the main roads are fine, I'd have to park down a side road, which aren't so great. My road isn't great and to make it worse, I'd have to turn my car round 180 degrees, it's currently on a slight slope and there's a pile of snow behind it because it's been parked there ever since we had the heavy snow Tuesday night last week. And most importantly, having experienced driving on snow once I'm not desperate to try it again.

It's supposed to be a lot warmer from tomorrow (where a lot warmer means above freezing) so hopefully there'll be lots of melting going on. But I am so sick of the snow.

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Wednesday 6th January 2010 7:08 pm

There is currently snow about. You'd be hard pressed not to miss it - even my parents have had snow. But it's quite amusing.

First, the background. I grew up on the south coast of England where it snowed every three years or so. Although it did, however, completely fail to snow while I was at uni - except in the Christmas of my first year where it snowed at home and nowhere else. Until last winter I'd never seen the snow stay around for more than a day. Until this winter and one a few years ago, I'd never seen it start to snow and settle during the day. So I was a bit startled before Christmas when it did just that, it was really slippery and I vowed never to drive in snow again.

Cut to this winter. There are quite a lot of people at work who, at the mention of snow, get all excited. They were rather less excited after the sudden snow we had before Christmas, mind you, but they're back to being yay about snow again.

Yesterday it started snowing about 5pm, so although I did drive home in it, it wasn't really any different from driving in rain. It was forecast to get heavier and it did. We cancelled our Rotaract cheese and wine planning meeting for the second time for the same reason. So everywhere was a bit white this morning.

But it is just ordinary snow. Walking to the station this morning to get the bus was pretty easy because people had already walked along the pavements and flattened all the snow. So I reckon, looking at the height of the bits people have walked on and comparing it to the bits people haven't, that we've got about two inches. The most snow I've ever seen was last January, which was more than that.

The main roads are fine, just slushy at the edges. The minor roads are snowy, but really slushy where enough people have driven. So understandably the bus was 35mins late. And then he didn't drive that fast because the slush isn't great to drive on. The route does go through a village and coming out of that onto the main road the bus did go sideways. I was just glad I wasn't driving.

So I got to work 45mins late to find that no one else in my office was there. One of them lives not far from me and hadn't come in because she reckoned the roads were impassable. Someone else hadn't come in because they didn't believe the bus company's website when they said they were running the buses until 7pm and she thought they'd leave her stranded. (Amusingly, the bus that runs between home and work stops at 6.53 usually...)

Given that I'm the one least used to snow, I can't believe how wet they're all being. I left early because I had loads of overtime to take and had failed to take any of it on Monday or Tuesday. The roads were much better and because there was no traffic and the bus was on time, I had the fastest bus journey home I've ever had. I'm waiting to see how many people bother to make it tomorrow now.

The best part is that I bought some really big, thick gloves from Primark at Christmas (for a whole £3) and although I can't do a thing with my hands while I'm wearing them, they do keep my hands lovely and warm. I was also wearing my fencing socks on top of my usual socks, my walking boots (waterproof and good grip), my tracksuit bottoms on top of my work trousers, three jumpers and two hoods and a hat on my head. The only part of me that was cold was my feet and part of that was because they were really stuffed into my shoes so I couldn't really feel them anyway.

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