Christmas shopping all Done as the Cold Snap Continues

Posted on December 21, 2010

The last few days have been pretty hectic, but I am managing to get things done that women can do with their eyes shut. This includes sending cards, visiting relatives and buying gifts, not to mention wrapping paper and sellotape. I have even purchased a tree plus some lights and decorations, so no humbugs in my house this year, I am trying to treat it as a season to be jolly and I am generally succeeding I think. I have even been in to Basingstoke shopping twice which will go down as a personal best that I will never attempt to surpass. 

I have achieved this despite the wintry weather that continues to effect many areas around the country and is causing misery for recession proof travellers who are trying to get away to sunnier climes for their Christmas break. Serves the fuckers right, they should stay here and fight the cold like the rest of us skint people. Meanwhile the press and the weather forecasters in this great nation have had a field day reporting and second guessing where the worst of the weather is likely to be (the BBC have an alarming number of snow correspondents) and who is likely to be affected the worst and they often contradict each other which suggests a somewhat uneasy relationship that probably goes back to the Met Office/Michael Fish hurricane incident of 1987.
A wintry scene on the banks of the Wallop Brook in Broughton, Hampshire

It has become apparent to me that the prediction of snow is a near on impossible business for Met Office forecasters as last Saturday they got it wrong again, but only by about 40 miles, it is a nightmare for them as snow deviates very quickly. There was an area of snow coming in from the South West that was tracking north and on Friday evening it was predicted that the centre of this “Snow event” would be south of the M4 meaning that here in Basingstoke we were bracing ourselves for 6-10 inches of the white stuff. It turned out it shifted north and we got an inch or two whilst Oxford northwards took a terrible battering of a up to a foot instead of a predicted smattering. In fairness to the Met Office they stated that they were unsure of how far north it would track, but most people are deaf to that sort of information, they see the radar prediction and take it as read.
However it must also be said that some people become terrible liars when it snows, it creates some sort of odd one upmanship over their friends. There was just about two inches of snow here but I heard people saying there was anything from six to nine inches making them either liars or incapable of using a ruler. Then again some people hear on the radio that it may snow in East Anglia and instantly spread unfounded rumours of blizzards in North Hampshire, again they or liars or they think Norwich is near Basingstoke. I suppose it makes them feel more interesting by spreading dramatic albeit false news, a bit like blokes in pubs who claim they can drink twenty pints of Lager or Taxi drivers who had trials for Chelsea and had Boy George sucking off George Michael in the back of their cab. I have covered this subject before in a pub bullshitters blog and I still haven’t worked out why people say things that we will ultimately make them look daft.
Some of these websites don’t help my you, Metcheck for instance is run by complete and utter fantasists. Some of their long range forecasts are totally inexplicable and they change almost by the hour to increase shock value, at one point last week they were predicting -9c as a daytime high in Basingstoke on New Years day which would be smashing records all over place. They also place by the predicted temperature a gage that says “feels like” which is supposed to give you an idea of the temperature with wind chill taken in to account. For instance if you look at Christmas Eve it indicates the temperature as being -9c at night but feeling like -13c. I challenge anyone to know the difference. Can you ever imagine someone saying “blimey it’s cold out there, it might only be -9c but it feels like -13c?” . What a load of tosh that site is, but I still view it regularly for a laugh as it is a bit like reading transfer gossip in the football section of The Sun.
Finally we have the press. They absolutely love cold weather almost as much as a heatwave in June with headlines such as “Hotta than the Costa” being replaced by “Colder than Greenland”. Within a few days of a cold snap it is known as “The Big Freeze” and comparisons are immediately made with the halcyon days of 1963 when allegedly but doubtfully, some newspapers report it as not getting above freezing for three months and it snowing nearly every day. I find it quite amazing that no comparisons are being made with last winter which was Southern Britain’s coldest since 1979 and Scotland’s since 1963, though I suppose “Coldest Winter Since Earlier This Year!” doesn’t make very good reading does it. My favourite thing about the press however is their need to always say……………”And There’s More on the Way!”. Even if it is a brief cold snap there always seem to be “more on the way” despite Met Office protestations to the contrary. Read the Daily Express, their weather reports and predictions are like some sort of Ice Age Armageddon, it’s ridicolous and aimed at scaring pensioners shitless.
If you don’t want to get too excited about the weather and you need an element of truth try which is an informative Met Office site and quite accurate apart from it’s monthly outlook which it readily admits is only based on speculation by using historical weather facts relate to current patterns. If you are a bit more excitable go to Metcheck and embarrass yourself down the pub by quoting predictions that are at best fanciful and at worst downright preposterous.
Right must crack on I have an indoor cricket match to organise and there is going to be a foot of snow toninght (in Norway).

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