Jack Averty: Snowmaggedon is here and us Brits failed to be prepared

By Jack Averty | Weekend | Published:

Its been b****y freezing this week, in case you hadn’t noticed. Boilers have broken down, cars refused to start and children all over the country were reduced to tears when they realised their school wasn’t closing. It has been utterly miserable for everyone.

The white stuff – it’s been snowing

But it’s not like the cold snap came out of nowhere, in fact we were given fair warning. Those who read a particular national newspaper will have been warned about the UK freezing over for the past decade – between the articles on chocolate being a cure for diabetes and confirmation that Princess Diana is in fact still dead.

For those of us who prefer something slightly more accurate than a broken clock, the ever reliable Met Office has been warning from the start of last week about the cold weather and the impending ‘Beast from the East’.

But despite the repeated warnings from experts and those at that national paper, so many of us were still, as always, incredibly unprepared for when the white stuff began its descent.

In traditional British fashion, the nation was plunged into chaos as soon as a flake of snow hit the ground.

Roads became ice rinks, trains stopped running and people flocked to supermarkets to stock up on bread and water (wouldn’t you prefer some wine and a nice meal if you were going to be trapped for some time?).

No doubt the country would be more relaxed if it was in the middle of nuclear war.

The likes of Norway and Sweden must be laughing in their fleeces and mittens, shaking their heads while us Brits struggle through half an inch of snow.

Admittedly the Scandavian countries have a slight edge when it comes to being prepared, having spent centuries in the slushy stuff, however the way the weather has been going recently it seems the UK is determined to follow suit.


But, being British, instead of being pro-active, we sat patiently waiting for the impending doom to land.

The beast was coming, everyone was warned, and yet, despite the chaos it always plunges the nation in to, we did nothing about it.

We did nothing to keep our boiler pipes protected, nothing to stop car parts freezing over and certainly nothing to make sure the driveway didn’t become the new venue for the UK’s ice hockey team.



Of course, there were conversations, elderly folk in the Post Office queue would start exchanging notes on the weather – ‘isn’t it getting cold?’ – but we didn’t possibly consider that there might be things we could do to prepare for the snow and make our lives easier.

So, surely, with this nonchalant attitude you’d think we’d be happy to accept the consequences of our inaction as snowmaggedon hit home?

Instead it was pandemonium.

Proper British rage ensued – profanities uttered as the car refused to start, mini-breakdowns on discovering the Greggs pasty had gone stone cold and eyes twitching on watching that last loaf of 50/50 be snapped up by another shopper.

The local authorities no doubt faced similar chaos as traffic built up, bin collections were missed and black ice covered the streets – but while we’re working hard on keeping our anger from boiling over, they are patting themselves on the back for gritting the one road that no-one uses.

And it doesn’t stop at snowfall – there are so many occasions where we just seem to sit idly by and let the doom land on our doorstep.

BBC Three going online only, Oasis splitting up and of course that little thing we call Brexit.

Perhaps it’s just in our nature to take what’s thrown at us rather than stop it being thrown at us in the first place. It’s nice to sit back, sipping our teas and dunking biscuits, watching the world go by.

Article 50 to arctic blasts, we know what’s coming, but is it just too much stress and hassle to try and constantly forearm ourselves for these things?

With everything going wrong these days we would spend all our time preparing for disaster and no time living our actual lives.

Besides is it really such a bad thing to deal with things as they come around rather than constantly trying to be one step ahead?

As long as we come through and pop out the other side relatively unscathed, does it matter if we did it the easy way or the hard way?

The snow will melt, the cold will pass and everything will be fine. It always is.

Sure it could be better, we could have self-gritting roads and permanently hot homes but the fact is things could also be a lot worse.

The freezing cold isn’t ideal but still at least we might be able to get some practice in now for the next Winter Olympics.

As the saying goes, always look on the bright side life – well at least try to when the sun finally re-emerges from behind the snow blizzard.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton


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