I know I go on a lot about wanting to move to a Scandinavian country a lot, I feel like I’m getting to the point where I might as well start wearing an ‘I’d rather be in Sweden’ t-shirt. So maybe it isn’t so strange that people have been saying things like ‘oh, I bet you’re glad to see all this snow’ to me for the past few days as the UK has been dusted more than liberally with the freezing white stuff from the sky. I can understand it, but god, I don’t agree with it in the slightest.
Living in Newcastle upon Tyne as I do, we’re famous for going out in all weather without a coat. There was even an article that I saw someone sharing on Facebook that said ‘Met Office warning issued after Geordie woman spotted wearing a coat’, which I can only hope was a spoof. But these last few days have actually been hell.
On Tuesday morning, my journey to work (which can take two hours on a good day) took three hours, and was punctuated by the large double decker bus I was on sliding down a hill towards a parked car, and a thirty minute walk to the nearest metro station after the bus driver gave up trying to get us safely to our destination. This is the only time I can remember ever being let out of work early due to adverse weather conditions, as all public transport is stopping at around 7pm. It’s like we’ve all been slapped with a curfew, although it isn’t as if anyone is particularly eager to be out after nightfall.
The thing is… snow is different in Scandinavia. When I lived in Stockholm (which I can quite handily describe as the best worst time of my life), I ran out of money fairly quickly. In fact, by the end, I could only afford to eat one meal every three days, and I had a wall calendar where I would cross off the days until I could eat again. This also meant that I couldn’t afford to use public transport anymore. And as if that weren’t enough, this also happened to coincide with the beginning of winter; so I ended up walking to university every morning in snow that was usually up to my knees. And the only pair of shoes that I owned were a battered pair of Converse. But, looking back, I really enjoyed these walks! As any Scandinavian will tell you, the cold here in the UK is a different kind of cold to the sort you get in Scandiwegia. It’s a dry cold, and it’s actually quite pleasant – whereas here, it’s a wet cold, that seeps through your supposedly waterproof boots and leaves you wondering if you’ve LOST A TOE TO FROSTBITE.
So, okay, I clearly have some snow-based issues. But I’m not the only one! Whenever we get any snow in this country, the whole public transport network grinds to a halt. On Tuesday morning, my bus started sliding down an hill and was forced to stop… so I ended up having an unscheduled half hour walk to the nearest Metro station. So that was a lovely pleasant surprise. It only ended up taking me three hours to get to work instead of the usual two, so… that’s nice. And if you’ll look to the right, you can see my face after realising just how far I was going to have to walk, and that I’d left my gloves in my desk drawer at work. Life sure can be full of surprises, can’t it?
Basically, I’m done with the snow now. Especially since we’re in the UK, and nothing works when we have a single flake of the stuff. So… if it could all just go back to Siberia where it belongs, that would be lovely. And thank you for reading! I’ll see you next month.