As one might expect, this is very exciting news for a South African. I have never had the experience of snow in my back garden, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I woke up on Wednesday morning and saw frost on my room’s skylight.
The trees outside my room had little patches of white beneath them and I walked down the road with magical flecks of cold, white dust drifting lightly around me. I bounded into class that morning and my classmates just chuckled and shook their heads at my awe-struck exclamations that it was snowing outside (which I couldn’t help but do every time I looked out of the window). I couldn’t understand why they weren’t as enthralled as I was!
Three days of snow on, I’m beginning to get it. My enthusiasm has started to ebb as I realise what snow in the UK means for everyday life.
First of all: IT IS FREEZING.
I am wrapped up in so many layers that I could honestly probably fall down a flight of stairs and get up at the bottom unharmed. I waddle to and from class in the minus-something degrees as fast as my ‘bubble-wrapped-teddybear’ legs can carry me. The only part of my body left uncovered is my eyes and I have, for the first time in my life, wondered whether eyelashes can freeze together.
The second problem that comes with the cold white dust is public transport (or the lack thereof). This dawned on me quite quickly when I set off to watch a show after class on Wednesday evening and realised that I might not be able to get home from London afterwards. I managed to get back (hooray) – but not without a number of delays and cancelled trains.
My friends here seem to just accept with a shrug that transport grinds to a halt when it starts snowing. Now. I don’t mean to criticise, but it seems absurd that things stop working when it snows, in a country…where it snows!! Or so I thought, until I heard that snow is a relatively uncommon occurrence in England. Apparently it only snows for a few days every couple of years and it’s very unusual for it to snow at all in Surrey. I mean, not as unusual as it is in South Africa, but definitely not as common as it would be in, say, parts of Scandinavia or Canada.
So I’ve decided to forgive England for this idiosyncrasy. The bad thing is that many things get cancelled as a result of people not being able to get from A to B. But the plus-side is, you can camp out in a warm pub with friends for hours or have an excuse to stay cuddled up in bed with hot chocolate and a book.
Let it snow! It’s beautiful to see the world draped in a soft white carpet…
as long as you’re watching from inside a warm room.