The 24th December 2010 will be etched in my consciousness for a long time, it was a perfectly sunny day but it had snowed, it was the thick crunchy stuff that makes a satisfying crackle under foot as you wade through it – wading through was a good description as it was fairly thick. The air was freezing, and I was Dog Sitting, my partner had decided that he eeded ‘Spike’ – a gorgeous Husky – keeping company. I had meant to out with the camera taking the perfect winter pictures, but I was I Dog Sitting.
I haven’t quite forgiven my partner for that.
It snowing as I write this, it’s the ‘flurry’ type of snow, or as British Rail famously called it – but very accurately – ‘the wrong type of snow’ when it got into the filters of the new ‘BedPan’ trains (yes they were called BedPan after Bedford – St Pancras line they were working on). Yes, it’s the wrong type of snow.
Despite my Twitter feed being full of the #UKSnow hashtag (well it used to be, it has been muted) I fail to be very excited by snow, yes it looks pretty, and I can take pretty pictures, but my mind wanders from the artistic to the mundane.
My first thoughts are always with the street homeless of the one of the richest nations on the face of planet, that whilst we look from our central heated rooms we fail to see the huddled homeless, finding a little shelter underneath an archway or in a subway. Winter is a bitter time, and the heartlessness’ of Westminster Council forbidding charities from distributing a cup of hot tea or soup make the winter a lot bleaker. Whilst we rush to work and complain about the slush we pass the ‘The Big Issue’ seller standing in the doorway, trying to get our attention and flog us a paper, spare a thought, a few words, a few pound to make the this cold day a bit warmer, a bit more human.
The pretty postcard snow is lovely, but if you are a Pensioner or an employed parent trying to juggle the needs of food or heating then it becomes a nightmare, the current Benefits cuts will be biting harder than the wind this winter. In its infinite wisdom this Government feels that capping Child Support is required to save money, if you earn more than £49,000 you lose it, it is no longer a universal benefit. I can run with that to be honest, the only problem if you earn £49,000 and your partner earns £49,000 then you still get it, the math is simple if your household earns £98,000 you still get the support, if you are a single parent and you earn £49,001 then you lose it. The Government thinks this is fair, so it must be.
Under the Government’s plans for the economy this Christmas and New Year were going to be better, we were going to have growth of 2.4% but it has decided it would be fairer to have a triple dip recession, upwards of 6,000 people have lost their jobs in the UK within the first two weeks of 2013, will they be putting the central heating to keep the biting cold out? In Swindon alone 800 jobs are under threat from the Honda plant, and another 300 from its suppliers, and this is not counting the staff of Jessops and HMV. As someone tweeted, are these people classed as ‘scroungers’ or are hey still ‘strivers’ until the axe finally falls?
The song for this is weather is not the 50’s classic ‘Let it snow’ it more the Dickensian ‘In the bleak mid-winter’