Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saved from a fate worse than death — apparently

So much for winter hell on Earth. After spending more than a week away from home and seriously concerned that I would miss out on important episodes in my children’s childhood (such as discovering it is quite possible to watch TV 24 hours a day if there is no one there to curb such excess), I was determined to get back to Cornwall from work last Wednesday. Being of late rather more mature and responsible (I’m afraid it happens to us all, dammit, despite all those grass-induced late-night pledges that ‘I’m not going to grow up, man, I mean like, you know, who needs it, I mean like growing up, I mean why lay that trip on yourself, man, when there are people dying everywhere, you know, dying, just dying, and all the fatcats, you know, man, all the breadheads, are just sitting there and they don’t give a fuck man’ etc ad nauseam) I checked and double-checked the forecasts — in London, Exeter (where I would travel to by train and pick up my car), Okehampton in the middle of Dartmoor and here at home in St Breward — and did so several days running to ensure I had the very latest information. I even rang up the BP service station at Belstone, just outside Okehampton for an up-to-the-minute eyewitness account of the situation, and a guy there confirmed that the A30 was not only passable but completely free of snow. So I took off.
The first thing I noticed on my journey, or rather the first thing I didn’t notice, was snow. According to the TV news, everywhere apparently, except the small corner of West London where I live and work between Sunday and Wednesday, was several feet deep in snow. So, I asked myself looking out of the train window, where the bloody hell was it all? Where had it gone? For most certainly the TV pictures had not been faked (we have strict laws against that kind of thing — only radio phone ins and TV quizzes can be faked these days), but where was the snow?
The mystery deepened when I got to the station at Exeter St Davids. There the streets were, I must admit, a little damp — it was foggy — but incontrovertibly snow-free. The road out of Exeter to the A30 and the A30 itself were also resolutely snow-free. I did eventually get to see a little snow when I got as far as Belstone, but it was an embarrassment, nothing but small patches in the grass which couldn’t make up its mind whether it was still snow, whether it had become ice or whether it was by now something in between. Snow should be majestic. There is undoubtedly something wildly impressive when you come across a six-foot bank of freshly fallen snow, however inconvenient or even dangerous it might be. You cannot but respect it. It is there and it is beautiful. It might even move some, although not me, to try their hand at verse. But this kind of snow, the kind of whatever it was masquerading as snow on Dartmoor? It was as embarrassing as a fat man man in late middle-age reeking of nicotine and with hair which is beyond thinning who still comes on as though he were some virile he-man in his mid-20s. And for this I endured an additional three days in London? Give me a break.
Thursday and Friday the temperatures climbed and today
was as mild as any day one might enjoy in late winter or early spring. Today it is also pissing with rain which is very re-assuring. The weathermen, who completely cocked up over the ‘cold snap’ are informing us that we should not be fooled by the ‘mild spell’ and that the cold temperatures could last until well into April. Yeah, right. Sounds like a bad case of over-compensation to me. And his from the guys who promised us a ‘barbecue summer’ last year. Did we get one? Answers on a postcard, please, addressed to your nearest municipal dump.
The two pictures were taken just a few minutes ago. They show the remains of a snowman my children built. One is a general shot, the second is a — very necessary — close-up. Take especial note of the rain.
End of rant.

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