The last few days has put me back on course for the new year and I’m (almost) back on track with the blogging and practice that I’ve been neglecting for weeks. There’s still a hell of a way to go till we’re back up to scratch but with it being freezing outside and half the U.K still snowed under, there’s no way I’m going back out into the blizzard to sell my stuff for a while, so I don’t have to feel bad about staying in and plugging away on my guitars and laptop.
That’s the great thing about ecommerce, as long as the post gets through, you’re still in business.
It feels good to be back in the driving seat as far as my online duties are concerned and I’ve had so much pressure building up in my head over the last few weeks that just to sit here and plug out rubbish on screen for a few hours feels good.
I’ve got some serious issues to tackle over the next few weeks and I’ll soon get back to blogging about the more useful subjects like playing guitar, but for the moment I thought I’d waffle on about the weather and where I’ve been for the last few days.
It’s mad cause I live down on the South Coast in a pretty cool seaside town (depending on how you look at it), which has got a lot going for it in Summer, but is a bit of a dump in Winter.
You get all sorts of people coming down here in Summer on holiday from all over England and a lot of people come here for a vacation and decide they like it and stay, even Archie from Eastenders lived here before he got the Queen Vic smacked over his head.
That’s how we ended up moving here when I was a kid. The place has changed a bit since then though.
The beach is always packed out in Summer
It’s not out the way or anything and not too far from the bigger towns and cities, and if you love the sea and the beaches and turn a blind eye to the drug deals and smackheads that roam the backstreets, you can have a pretty good time here most of the year round.
In that respect it’s great, but it’s not the city mind.
My other half is a city girl and can’t stand the place, well she used to hate it but has lived here for a while now and over the years has got used to it and appreciates the town for what it is, but you’ll never take the city out of the girl and you’ll never get the beach out of a bum.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the city too, but you can’t go kite surfing or cliff jumping in a city river, there’s too many shopping trolleys in the way.
The difference between us is that she wouldn’t dream of going cliff jumping anyway and there are no record breaking mega shopping centres like Lakeside in Dorset.
I appreciate the benefits of living near the city too though, and it’s cool to be able to jump on the train and be smack in the middle of London in about half an hour.
Taking a Trip
We’re always taking trips up to stay with her family in Essex and go there many times a year. I haven’t been able to do it for a while because of what I’ve been doing back home, but a few days ago, just when the big freeze that’s been hitting the U.K for the past few weeks seemed to be getting worse, we had to do it again.
There had been nothing but severe weather warnings on the news for the whole week leading up to the trip, with every channel on T.V constantly repeating stories of carnage on the roads and churning out news bulletins about people freezing to death and being trapped in their homes and cars by the unrelenting blizzards that were sweeping the country.
‘What ever you do, don’t travel unless it’s is absolutely necessary..’,was the message being rammed down our throats, and typically the day we were booked to come up here was warned to be one of the worst.
The funny thing was though, in our nicely sheltered bay on the coast we hadn’t had much snow at all, and apart from it being bloody cold and raining like hell most of the time with a few doses of snow and sleet, the sea salt that coats the entire coastline means that nothing ever really settles here and there wasn’t much of a problem.
Nothing bad ever really happens where I live, no droughts or hosepipe bans in Summer, no hurricanes or flooding in Winter, no bomb scares, fires, dirty bomb threats, serial killers or anthrax attacks like you have to deal with living in the city. This town’s even got it’s own weather system. Living here you always feel a bit left out watching these nightmares unfold on the news all over the rest of the country.
The only bad thing that ever happened here in Weymouth was this was where the Black Death started in 1348. It spread throughout the country killing half the population of England.
The Black Death killed millions of people in the U.K
I suppose that makes up for it then !
We knew that a few km up the road it would be a completely different story as over the years living here you know that as soon as you go inland more than a few miles in Winter, you’re faced with bad conditions and huge snow drifts.
It’s funny really, I’m talking about huge snow drifts, but it’s absolutely nothing compared to other parts of the world that face these sort of conditions all year round and think nothing of it. Every year in the U.K we get the slightest bit of snow for a few days over Winter and the whole country comes to a standstill. This happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR and they still haven’t worked it out.
The authorities just can’t cope. We run out of grit, there aren’t enough snow ploughs to go round, the airports close, the hospitals and shops run out of food and supplies and the army has to move in. It’s ridiculous.
I was watching on the news a few days ago, and in Sweeden and Norway they were taking the mick out of the English because they get ten times the amount of snow we do and it doesn’t have the slightest effect whatsoever on their airports or public services. They just deal with it as a normal everyday occurrence and the country runs as smooth as clockwork…it’s called P.R.E.P.A.R.A.T.I.O.N … Mr Brown.
The Big Freeze
Anyway… My fiancee was worried sick at the prospect of the 200 mile journey that faced us, especially with a child to think about and almost cancelled the trip. In the end we had no choice but to go really as we’d already booked loads of meetings in Essex with the the vicar and various other people essential for the wedding plans in a few months time.
We stocked up with extra supplies and blankets in case we got caught in the snow for 16 hours like so many other ‘victims’ of the big freeze and headed out.
What an anti climax…there was me all ready with my Bear Grylls firelighting spark key ring thingy and pen knife, ready to kill, skin, gut and eat the first thing that wandered by our frozen ice coffin of a car, and what did we get..?
Nothing….not one blizzard, not one frozen ice blocked road, not one death trap frozen glacial motorway and not even a measly ‘Slow’ sign for nearly 200 miles.
The one thing the authorities did get right was keeping the motorways clear. We’d seen on the news the day before, hundreds of people getting trapped on the M3 overnight for hours on end and having to be rescued, so they had obviously got their arses in gear and sorted the problem out.
The scenery was fantastic with massive coverings of snow across the fields and farmlands, you could see the cars’ roofs on the motorway that had travelled from areas with seriously bad conditions. Huge coverings of snow still on their roofs.
We were pretty thankful really, we got all the way up here without a fuss but as soon as we got off the motorway we were greeted with a huge blanket of snow and ice covering the back roads. Once we got off the beaten track the isolated lanes leading up to the house were absolutely lethal with the car slipping and sliding all over the place.
We did the last mile and a half of the journey at a serious crawl and then kicked off a huge snowball fight as soon as we got out of the car.
Funny how a bit of snow turns even adults into big kids.
These coppers got themselves into big trouble when they were caught on video using their riot shields as sledges.
Well Funny ! I think they all got sacked for it in the end
It snowed for the rest of the day and I ventured out next morning and took some pictures.
It’s a really beautiful sight seeing the whole land covered in snow and I remembered back when I was little, we lived in Yorkshire for a couple of years and it snowed practically 6 months of the year. We used to live on top of this hill and the snow plough would get stuck every day in Winter with huge 12 foot snow drifts.
It was great cause every day we’d wake up and the garden would be completely white under about a foot of snow, and we’d go straight out and make a real mess of it. We’d grab our sledge and trudge our way up the hill until we got to the huge long steep fields above the house and half kill ourselves hurtling down them with our wood and metal sledge.
We’d follow the stream at the bottom of our garden up the valley until we got to Catterick Foss, a waterfall which would completely freeze in Winter and be an awesome sight. We go up to the big caves in the hills and pick huge icicles and use them as lollipops. It was mental !
It was great fun for us kids, and I can never remember the cold really being a problem, apart from when we had to keep digging the car out every morning to get out of the driveway and you couldn’t get up the hill because of the ice. You don’t really notice the cold when your a kid and having fun but my Dad still goes on about how unbearable it was and how it nearly drove him mad.
We left after a couple of years and came to live by the sea. They say it only snows here once every ten years. I’m sure it’s more than that.
Funny how the snow brings back memories.
Back in Essex, the snow was still coming down and after a few more snowball fights I went off to see my busking tree and take a few more pictures.
There it is !
That’s my Busking Tree
It’s great to have the contrast between the two places we move between, and my daughter loves playing in the snow here in Winter and swimming in the sea at home in Summer.
When we come up here she gets to see her grandparents and get spoiled rotten, my Mrs. hits the shops and is in her element, I go off into the fields and make a racket, then we hit London and have a few days out.
I think at the end of the day, I’ll always be a beach bum and love the smell of the sea and she’ll always be a city girl and love the smell of the bus station, and although you’ll never change either of us, I think we’ve got the best of both worlds and are very lucky to have that.
Back home tomorrow.