|The headline from the Daily Express, a UK tabloid newspaper|
It's that time of year again; the forecasts of snow appearing with dramatic headlines foretelling of doom and gloom, big freezes, records broken, because of a few inches of snow, not likely to last more than a few weeks.
I saw the headline in the screen capture above on Facebook, posted by one of my friends and former colleagues who I worked with on a large Facilities Management (FM) contract across the UK. His comment, reflecting that the extreme weather made the work as an FM manager especially interesting, made me smile. I shared the headline, mindful of my friends and family in the UK who would be subject to this weather if it did indeed come about.
But increasingly I feel it's harder to relate to the drama created by these headlines, viewing the UK with more continental eyes as my time here in Norway increases. Having been here for almost two years now, I have 'survived' two winters, and while I don't especially look forward to 5 months of snow in one stretch, I appreciate how Norway mostly treats snow with what at worst could be described as an acceptance, or even, a stiff upper lip. Where's the stiff upper lip that the UK, or perhaps more precisely, England, is famed for?
With the saying the Norwegians are born with skis on their legs, I am hoping that my acceptance might, this year, morph into something warmer in feeling, as I hope to learn to cross country ski and, not being disabled by Morton's Neuroma this year, being able to physically get out and about more. I have taken with ease to the art of "kos oss", enjoying the cosiness of reading, candles, rugs and gløgg. Maybe I might gravitate to actually feeling a warmish love for the snow?
As I bridge that nomansland and slowly migrate my outlook to become more Norwegian in style, I wonder what the outlook for the UK will be in the months to come. Hibernation perhaps, or examples of people skiing to work as I saw in the Peak District in the snow of December 2010? I wonder if the snow might once again bond people, with the novelty and break in routine it creates. Solidarity in joy, being outside with their neighbours, unrecognised often, but suddenly acquainted. In Norway the snow can bring relief to the darkness: a removal of the grey, overcast skies, children playing outside in the soft, silver glow in the evenings. I understand that, because of the infrequency and general unpredictability of the weather, it doesn't make sense for the UK to invest so heavily in a more effective response to snow. But nevertheless, the weather is a great bond, whether in England or Norway.