The Topical Barometer!


It’s been snowing!  How do I know? I know because I have had to spend two nights in a budget hotel to avoid travelling home in hazardous conditions after work.

I’ve decided this week, to find the silver lining in the  white stuff and to consider why snow might be good for us. I’ve come up with the following:

  1. New vocabulary. The term ‘Snow Day’ is now in common usage. I’ve even heard it on the BBC. I don’t know when it started to be used here, but obviously the Americans came up with it. Probably because they have more of them and probably because insurance companies needed a short hand for days when claims spiked.
  2. It is completely legitimate to work from home. Employers are wary about employees taking risks to get to work which could later be used against them in litigation. This means the boss who previously denied you time off work to watch your child’s egg and spoon race will be telling you that they totally believe in flexibility. Of course what ‘working from home’ actually means in these circumstances is walking the dog to show willing and encouraging the children to construct a monolithic snowman while you check emails and put your feet up in front of Netflix for the afternoon.
  3. Everything looks pretty. Even the heap of hard core rubble and assorted crap which has been sitting on next door’s drive scruffing everything up since they had their extension, now looks ok. Nobody would ever know there was a kid’s trike, an occasional table and the drum of a defunct washing machine under there.
  4. You get a lie-in. God knows we all need it. Sleep matters. An American study found that college football players who aimed for ten hours’ sleep per night improved their average sprint time and had more stamina. Who doesn’t want to improve their average sprint time, right?
  5. The quality of sound changes in the snow. I love snow muffle. I don’t know if that’s an actual thing; if it’s not, it should be. You know what I mean though. The world is eerily quiet. The sort of quiet you get before Bjork jumps out from behind a tree. Maybe it’s the absence of traffic but maybe it is the magic effect of snowflakes, absorbing birdsong and putting the neighbours on mute.
  6. You get to wear your ski gear. Donning kit you’d usually only wear in the Alps every once in a blue moon justifies the £400 you spent on the fur trimmed jacket and tailored ski pants. (There’s no need to walk around in your helmet and visor though.)
  7. You get to eat more calories. Have the hot chocolate with the squirty cream and the marshmallows. And today is the day to experiment with one of those Facebook cake-in-a-mug microwave recipes.

See? There are ‘snow’ downsides to snow days!



What am I talking about? Snow is terrible. It makes us all cold and tense.

Even if you don’t have to travel yourself, you’ll be anxious about friends and family who do. Are they one of the hundred people forced to abandon their cars on the A30 and spend the night in a pub? Have they got themselves stuck in the traffic on the gridlocked M3 awaiting the emergency services?

So you’ve got your bloody snow day. You won’t enjoy it. You’ll be texting those you love asking if they’ve got a shovel, a packet of digestives and a sleeping bag in the car.

Like I say, I’ve been put up for two nights this week in a budget hotel to save me from driving home in the wretched stuff.

That’s two nights of no sleep, lying in a strange bed with rubbish pillows, waiting to be murdered.

There’s no upside to staying in a budget hotel. No toiletries to make off with and no decent options around breakfast. I’m not paying  £7.50 for a stale croissant and a bowl of tinned pineapple from the Continental Breakfast menu. And I’m certainly not paying £9.50 for a sausage of dubious origin and an egg scrambled last week.

Other reasons to detest snow:

  1. Things you were looking forward to get cancelled. I may never get around to rebooking tickets for Zoe Lyons at Minehead.
  2. Pipes burst.
  3. People fall.
  4. Other things fall; tree branches and bits of fence, for example.
  5. Undressing loses its appeal. Even if the person doing the undressing doesn’t.
  6. People who do genuinely important jobs – doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, fire crews – are   expected to do them for longer, with no rest, and take risks we ordinary folk wouldn’t countenance. And they’re still subject to abuse on social media.
  7.  Every time you put your ski gear on, you’re reminded that you were ripped off for £400.
  8. You over eat.

Snow: good or bad? You decide!

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1 comment

  1. I’m imagining, perhaps a weather forecaster, working from home. Some friendly soul pops round for a coffee and records it on a mobile phone with a backdrop of a toaster.

    A trifle harsh I felt, on budget hotels overall but fair comment on some of the breakfasts. But why bother? Scoot round to the nearest ‘spoons and get the full works for a fiver, unlimited coffee and maybe a couple of pints if so inclined.

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