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To think that British people need to get better at winter?

(279 Posts)
honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 16:40:01

I have noticed lots of people worrying about the cold weather and their DC coming to harm due to eating/sleeping/playing outside.

I am confused as to why in a country that we all know has miserable weather for much most of the year some children don't have clothing that enables them to spend time outside. The risk of vitamin D deficiency, the higher chance of getting ill when inside and childhood weight issues could all be made better if kids were encouraged to spend more time outside.

I know it isn't all families, I have just been supprised at the amount of people worrying about thier children being damaged by winter weather. It doesn't even get very cold in the UK, nothing a pair of breathable woolen thermal underwear and a good coat/all in one wouldn't solve.

I am British but I now live in Sweden, here the kids at daycare/school have to spend at least 2 hours outside by law, it doesn't matter if it is raining, snowing or -10 the kids are still out playing/eating/sleeping. The schools only shut due to weather when the temp drops below -40.

AIBU to think that we need to get better at winter, it does after all happen every year for about 6 months

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 10:38:27

We don't have properly built houses is a big problem and they are small = no room for mega amounts of weather preparation equipment.

And remember, the rest of the world are SHIT at rain. Where as we take it in our stride. In many many other parts of the world people won't go out or drive in the rain.

I have been in the states when federal alerts have been issued for 1 inch of rain. A while back when 4 inches of rain fell on London Victoria station was closed for a few hours while everyone got on with their business.

Our airports close for snow but many in the rest of the world shut down for rain.

It was 15 degrees here two weeks ago! But we still have to have them. The weather is very changeable. As I said, they aren't just for snow, it's a common misconception.

I had to break hard to avoid a car in mud in the UK last Feb, he had sports tyres and skidded all over the place, thanks to my winter tyres I stopped dead and my family were safe.

You can also get year round tyres which work well in winter weather, which might be more suitable for the UK.

When I lived there I never really thought about winter tyres tbh.

spoonsspoonsspoons Wed 05-Dec-12 10:44:59

Not just for snow, but generally weather below 7 degrees

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Wed 05-Dec-12 10:55:48

ethel I read once that the British citizenship test should consist of just one question: What is the difference between 'isolated showers', 'scattered showers' and 'intermittent rain'?

Indith Wed 05-Dec-12 10:57:04

aha! found the grit. Trying to snow too so tonight dh shall be sent out to clear and grit.

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 11:01:51

luckily I can answer all three @flamin

Switzerland can be pretty wet,and of course they have to deal with melting snow.

And I say this as someone who grew up in Wales. <<sideways rain>>

There was a crisis in the village with heavy downpours in September as several of the house owners opposite us had gone away and the extra rain had made their swimming pools flood. The water gushed through their houses and the fire brigade had to pump them out. Last week I got an extra bill from the local gemeinde with an extra payment required for the fire service this year. hmm

Next year I might run out with the paddling pool, to join in the drama and get my money's worth....

XiaoxiongMerrilyOnHigh Wed 05-Dec-12 11:25:30

I wasn't going to post on this thread but this morning I waited for over 90 minutes for a commuter train to Waterloo. In vain. The rails were too slippery as a result of the "adverse weather conditions" and the trains couldn't move, apparently.

The snow was quite heavy here - I think I saw at least two flakes. Maybe three.

So, yes, at least the subset of British people that run southwest trains need to get better at winter. It's not like any other train companies had trouble - the rest of my office managed to get in fine angry

Acekicker Wed 05-Dec-12 11:31:34

Ouch to the fire service bill!

What's frustrating me today is firstly people who don't clear their cars properly of snow before they drive off - I was out clearing my car and our neighbour came out, he did his front windscreen and then drove off - snow still on his lights, back window, mirrors and roof!

Secondly our County Council is in blissful ignorance that for the last 3 years it has snowed in December. I take the point fully that we don't need Canadian/Scandinavian levels of preparedness as the cost/benefits don't work out. However I would have hoped that they might have filled the grit bins for the side roads at some point between March and today (and I did email them at the start of November)...still no grit so this morning no-one could get out of our close (on a hill and a 180 degree turn at the top to get out, cars parked on both sides of the road). Some people have slithered out, one person has clipped the parked car nearest the junction and I'm waiting until about 1pm to go and try to shift my car somewhere else. This is for 2cm of snow on top of ice, that's all, hardly a blizzard. They didn't grit the main roads last night either in our town so it was gridlocked from 7.15 to 9.30 as well...

redlac Wed 05-Dec-12 11:40:45

Central Scotland here and we currently have snow however I agree that the weather is just whacky here! Last Christmas Day was 15 degrees which is WARMER than some days we had this summer!

MinesaBottle Wed 05-Dec-12 11:44:02

It amazes me the number of people who don't wear hats...if I go out hatless in anything less than about 5 degrees I get a horrendous headache. People coming into work complaining how cold they are - well wear a hat!!! It really, really does help.

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 11:47:54

@xiao thats pants. My bit of southwest trains was fine this morning.

Plus this shouldn't be a problem as they invested in several de-icers last year which I frequently saw going up and down the tracks.

Peetle Wed 05-Dec-12 11:49:11

We're out of practice down South in the UK as well. From the early 90s to about 2009 we had a couple of frosts and possibly half an inch of slush one day every winter. It's only the last few years we've had "proper" snow and suddenly find ourselves unable to cope.

The damp is what makes it feel cold. I'm sure I feel colder when it's dark, windy and damp and 2 degrees in London than when it's dry, calm and -5 in a ski resort. I've worn fewer clothes going out in ski resorts than I feel the need for in London anyway.

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 11:50:50

@peetle that's true. My whole childhood there was one snowy day (i'm 25 in London/Southeast where the snow stayed.

So that's over 20 years with no proper snow down here. it all kicked off in 2009. Before that I had only seen snow like that on holiday.

Acekicker Wed 05-Dec-12 11:57:03

Yep, the first 3 Christmases my DS remembers were all 'white Christmases', last year he said it didn't feel Christmassy on Christmas Eve as there wasn't any snow and he was staggered that it never snowed at Christmas when I was a kid. We only used to get proper snow (East Anglia) every 3 or 4 years when it came in from the East, we've had it every year for a few now and often in December.

TessOfTheBaublevilles Wed 05-Dec-12 12:53:42

YANBU - I once spent a winter in a rural part of (the US state) Minnesota, as I have family living there - the winters they have there are real winters. It reached -16C when I was there and that's normal. And the snow, my God the snow, it was over my knees!

I almost cried at first, but I stuck it out, and now I never moan about the few inches of snow we get here.

Janeatthebarre Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:43

We're the same here in Ireland. People go out on freezing cold days in a track suit top or a tiny little jacket. If you see someone properly wrapped up in scarves and gloves and hats they are more often than not foreign.
Nighttime is even worse. You see young girls teetering around in bare legs, and strappy dresses with six inch hems and their skin turning blue beneath their orange fake tan. Very stylish.

honeytea Wed 05-Dec-12 13:11:48

Update from Sweden. I spoke too soon! my train was delayed by 20 mins this morning, that has never ever happened before.

There is a huge snow storm I have never seen anyhing like it, 30 CMs of snow in 24 hours.

Everyone is just getting on with things (I was wishing I was in the UK and could just stay at home but I had a ultrasound scan I had to attend.) Stockholm this morning was very organised, parents left prams/pushchairs at home and the kids were being taken to daycare/school on sedges, shopkeepers were clearing the snow infrount of their shops buses and trains were late (not hugely so) but still running.

Wallison Wed 05-Dec-12 13:51:06

I agree that we don't seem to have the resources to cope with winter. It has been really icy these past couple of mornings and no grit in sight. It's actually worse than snow in some ways because it's much more difficult to walk/drive on and impossible to cycle on. Wearing ice grips doesn't help either because it's that thin ice from frozen rain, not ice from packed-down snow which is what they are designed for.

CheerfulYank Wed 05-Dec-12 15:38:59

Up to your knees, Tess? Pssht, that's not even a concern in's the hip-deep snow that gets irritating. grin What part of my lurvely state were you in?

I live in the middle now and it's a toasty -6 your temp today...not at all bad for December. When I lived way up North it was much colder.

FryOneFatChristmasTurkey Wed 05-Dec-12 17:40:12

I took DD for her music lesson yesterday, and when she went in she complained she was cold. Her music teacher is Latvian and said something to the effect that it wasn't so bad here, after all it's -15 at home....grin

I did smirk when she couldn't see.

FryOneFatChristmasTurkey Wed 05-Dec-12 17:56:14

I believe there's a lot of penny pinching going on with how well councils are prepared.

A couple of years ago I set off for work (a 30 mile trip) at 7am, and found myself stuck in a queue of cars going at 20mph. It was extremely icy on the road, even at that speed I could feel the car slide slightly at times.

We passed I think 3 accidents, one bad. At one point the queue of cars was heading downhill when a fire engine came along blue lights etc. I could not stop the car; it carried on sliding downhill while I braked. I had left a very large gap between me and the one in front, so I carefully turned the car into the kerb which helped me stop the car going any further forward, without going over the kerb into the ditch.

However, once we reached the boundary between counties, the road was completely clear, no ice. That second council had gritted the roads the night before, whereas our own council hadn't. It made a massive difference, and I heard on the grapevine that the police had "had words" with our own council.

It took me 2 hours to get to work that day.

MrsMerryMeeple Wed 05-Dec-12 20:29:53

For those still comparing Sweden and the UK, Stockholm had loads of snow today, and it was really windy. The buses and trains really struggled, and the airport was closed. All the evening news has been about the weather, and the current affairs shows interviewing the roads authorities etc.

Personally, I sympathize with the authorities. They just don't have the budget to have resources to deal with weather extremes, and today was extreme. As the airport people said - it doesn't help ploughing away the snow if the wind just blows it straight back onto the runway behind the ploughs! And the snow ploughs can't get through traffic jams on the roads.

Hope the wind drops so the ploughs can get out overnight. I need to leave the house tomorrow. smile

honeytea Wed 05-Dec-12 20:39:57

There was "chaos" in Stockholm today but I still managed to get into the city on the train for my appointment and home again, my DP did a full day at work driving his truck and just went to pick up a friend in the car, I think the Swedish idea of chaos is different to the UK idea of chaos.

MrsMerryMeeple Wed 05-Dec-12 21:42:55

I maybe should have added - I don't think they should spend my taxes on resources to handle freak weather. If the city struggles a couple of times a year, when the weather is really bad - ok. That's part of life. The fact is the snowploughs are all out tonight, and if the weather stops dumping snow on us, the roads will be clear by tomorrow. Despite 30-40cms of snow falling today.

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