Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Burbling on about snow

Well, the weather people predicted there'd be snow yesterday.  There wasn't.  A bit of foul weather, but hardly worse than some other winter days we've had.  Snow is so often predicted for this part of the world that you get blasé about it.  I was glad there wasn't any snow, as I was meeting my son for lunch yesterday as well as playing for four young people who did singing exams.

When we were in Auckland last week, we had to reassure our host, who's only been to the South Island briefly, that it doesn't snow here every other day, as the forecasters tend to indicate. I'm not sure if he believed me.

Back in June this year, the weather people got it right, though here in Dunedin, as is so often the case, it was mostly the upper hills that got the heavy snow.  At the time, the ODT reported that a 'special weather advisory had been slapped on the whole country'.  I like the idea of a weather advisory being slapped on the whole country, though I have no actual idea of what it means.

We were also told that 'emergency refuge centres are being set up, motorists warned off the roads, and shoppers urged to stock up, but to refrain from panic buying.'  Of course, people didn't refrain, and supermarkets actually ran out of some items. But it was a bit of a mixed message: stock up, but don't panic buy. Of course, the supermarkets only have to announce they're going to be closed for one day (like at Christmas, or Easter) and people go crazy.  How did they survive before supermarkets opened on Sundays?  Did they all starve because they couldn't shop?

There was a time when it people just got on with life when it snowed; kids went to school, people went to work. These days it's become a major crisis, in spite of the fact that Dunedin is mostly negotiable in the snow - though you might have to walk rather than drive.  I can remember, as a child, walking to school in the snow, a trip of about three kilometres.  I was quite small, and was frozen by the time I got there, and somewhat later than most of the other boys. I was allowed to warm up in front of a small radiant heater - it might have had two bars rather than one - for a few minutes before getting on with the school work.  We might have had another similar heater down the back of the room. But in general we just froze.

Obviously they made kids a lot tougher in those days!
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