There just isn’t a better topic for the newspapers than the weather, particularly if it’s OUR weather.  The current wintry conditions we’re experiencing (I won’t say enjoying, in case you happen to live in Wales and have no central heating) are supposedly the coldest on record in some parts for November.

It’s funny how we lose perspective on things over time, isn’t it?  I’m staying with my parents today, and they were telling me that when I was born (in the Dark Ages, according to my children) my parents also happened to be in the process of moving house.  My father went on to the new house to get things ready, whilst I stayed on hospital for the mandatory 10 days of  rest before being discharged (haven’t times changed?).  The journey home was through mountains of snow, and must have been a stressful experience with a newly born child.

I’m almost too young to remember the famous UK winter of 1963, but apparently the way we got to school was by digging a tunnel along the path.  It seems there was an igloo built on our front lawn which lasted for weeks.

I used to work as a greengrocer’s assistant in the school holidays, and I well remember cycling into town (3 miles) at 3am, through freshly laid snow.  Wonderfully silent, a truly great time of day.  14 hours later after a day of dispensing potatoes and cabbages to the masses in a biting wind, I needed an hour to unfreeze myself.  Could I do it now?  Unlikely.  We’ve all gone soft.

Eton College. Founder Henry V1

Eton College. Founder King Henry V1

I was meeting Eton College yesterday to discuss running a Musikscool event for their 6th form, and with it being so cold found myself recalling that when I was there, every boy had his own room (they still do), and the heating was coal fired.  You had a coal scuttle every other day, ie one day your room was a furnace (windows open, doors open, even in mid winter) and the next day it was an ice box.  Apart from the safety issues of 50 teenagers each with their own blast furnace in a very confined space, imagine what tribal behaviours this used to bring out in us!  It certainly taught you how to appreciate market pricing.  When you can’t light your fire because you have run out of kindling wood, and the temperature is minus 5, you are prepared to pay more than you would normally for the item.  I seem to remember some poor soul coughing up £5 for 5 sticks of kindling – equivalent of about £200 per bag now!

I fully recognise that this article has a ring of “Grumpy old men” about it.  As I get older the more I find myself saying things that I recognise can only be because I have seen so much more of life than I used to.  The thing is, I do believe we tend to select out previous experiences, and certainly the media have a very short memory.    This is a cold snap, for sure, but it certainly isn’t the first and no doubt won’t be the last.  Warmest wishes to you all!

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