Nothing too unusual in this extreme weather

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

As I write this, on top of my usual around the house garb, I’m clad in a long, very ancient cashmere cardigan, topped with an equally ancient cashmere scarf, an extra pair of tights and the blind is up because the sun is on the window giving an extra bit of cheer, if not heat, to the day. Outside, of course it’s Baltic-like, not even the pets want to leave the house.

The weather’s difficult I know, but it’s been worse. Years ago, in my early teens, I remember a prize giving event in school one winter evening.

Snowy weather on the M1

Snowy weather on the M1

There was no indication at all that the weather was to turn nasty – there was no serious weather forecasting in those days, none of this ‘wrap up warm’ nonsense – and as I had to go in school uniform I think I had nothing warmer than a Burberry coat over my clothes. In those days I lived close enough to school to walk there, a distance of about a mile.

Caught up in the events in the school hall that evening no one noticed that outside the weather had changed. The stiff breeze of the earlier day had upped its strength and deposited snow, not just a flake or two but a proper load of the stuff, in places a foot deep. Those who had cars soon realised that negotiating the road outside the school was not an option. I had no option but to walk home, clad in nothing but my school uniform, that light coat and no gloves. I won’t ever forget that journey home nor will I forget the next time I had to wade through deep snow. It was about five years later when the family lived in a big, old elegant house with a long driveway clad on both sides with rhododendron. The distance from the bus-stop to the house was a good mile. I arrived home, looking like the proverbial snowman and vowed never to be caught out again. As a result, today, my winter wardrobe is extensive. At the last count I had 12 padded wind-proof coats – some of them really old - 14 big long scarves and endless pairs of gloves and mitts. I throw nothing away. Himself says I live permanently dressed for winter, which is about right.

Lots of people think this sort of late, cold and snowy weather is abnormal and down to global warming. My generation knows better of course – we’ve been there and live by the 18th century maxim, `ne’er cast a clout till May is out’. Basically it means never discard your warm clothing until the end of May. It the sort of expression that makes hoarders of us and my cloakroom is testimony to my faith in it.

I have listened to scientists tell us that our changing weather patterns – think of the extensive flooding, fires and drought that have blighted various countries in recent times – are all down to climate change as a result of global warming. President Trump doesn’t believe in climate change – though he believes in arming school teachers – yet he has more support for his former view than you might imagine. Esteemed commentator and writer Christopher Booker (Sunday Telegraph) suggests that 30 years of what he calls `groupthink’ has led people to believe in global warming – now the tide is turning.

He suggests many scientists are `highly sceptical’ of global warming. He points to the UN conference in Paris in 2015 `when documents supplied by every country setting out their intended energy plans up to 2030 showed that, although Western countries, pledged to cut their ‘carbon’ emissions by 40 per cent, the rest of the world had totally different ideas’. He points to the increase in the building of new coal-fired power stations by countries like China and India.

Maybe President Trump knows something the rest of us don’t know – he certainly is not against coal-fired anything – and other countries are beginning to believe him. Booker suggests Trump has ‘finally called the bluff of the groupthink which for 30 years has driven the whole global warming scare story’.

My simple mind which tries in vain sometimes to keep up with the whole global warming issue, tells me to believe what I see. And right at this minute it’s a very cold day for March. Nothing unusual there then.