Saturday, December 23, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

White Christmases a thing of the past?? Well it makes you wonder doesn't it. Sitting here in my centrally heated home, looking out onto the foggy chill of recent days put me in mind of a search for winters past. I always enjoyed winters, Oct-Dec 'cos Christmas is coming, and January 'cos my birthday was coming. I had a little look on the net and found this neat site: The history of British winters and this one: British Winter Snowfall Events 1875-2004. Just to prove to myself that yes it did snow in the winter when I was a kid.

I used to live in a house that looked over a place we called The Quarry, but which was playing fields (I remember when all this was fields!!!), but not flat, more like a hillside. My bedroom, a box-room, was at the front of the house, and my view over the Quarry was almost a full 180. We had storage heaters in the house, but not in my room, so there would often be frost inside the window when I woke up on winter mornings. It was bitterly cold in there, the nightly routine of hot drink and hot water bottle will be familiar to some. I would then curl up at the bottom of the bed, head tucked in, and warm that little area with my breath, before extending my legs a little until I slowly moved up to full stretch and a fully warmed bed.

Anyway, when it snowed I would stare out of the window from my bed and watch as the world turned from green to white, watch the world suddenly start to look neat and unsullied, watch the smoke rise from the chimneys and look at the warm heated glow of the coal fire-lit windows of the houses around. It was lovely.

I have always loved snow, not just for the sheer childish joy of the fun and games, but because of the beautiful whitewash it gives the world around. For a few days each year the world looked clean and new and untouched.

Here are some details of my winters past ('65-'85 the years I mainly cover here) from the above named site:

1965-66: The second half of November saw snow in most areas. The next lot came a bit later, late January, in Eastern parts. February, the turn of the North East. April was surprising though, as heavy falls were recorded, exceptionally heavy in parts of Northern England, where up to 1 foot was found! Mid April saw more snow, with 5 inches in the South. Quite remarkable late falls, but other than that, not a spectacular winter as that of 62-63! Still regarded as snowy though I would say.

1968-70: The first of these 2 winters saw snow in late December, around the New Year, in Eastern Scotland and England. Eastern Yorkshire saw a massive 16 inches! Mid February saw more snow, this time more to the West, with England and Wales seeing the most. Mid March saw more in the Pennines, and a TV mast fell down. 69-70 saw snow for Northern England, North Wales, and Scotland in mid November. Mid December saw snow for the North again. Mid February, most parts, and early March, snow in Wales and England, with the Midlands getting 12 inches.

1970-76: Little snow for 6 winters! Ring any bells?! Very similar pattern to the 90s-early 00s, ending the snow drought with a hot summer (76 / 03!) when the snow returned for 1976...

1976-77: Heavy wet snow fell in early December, mid December, and mid January. Mid January also saw some good coverings though, up to 6 inches lying at times.

1977-78: Mid January, 6 foot drifts! A week later, and 4 inches fell. Mid February saw 4 inches also. Late January, heavy snow in Scotland, drifting, 28 inches falling in parts! Mid February (see above) was very snowy in the North East, East and South West. February 11th had 1 ft in Durham and Edinburgh. Feb. 15-16th South West England, blizzard with huge drifts, sounds like my cup of tea!

1978-79: Late December falls of 6-7n inches in Southern Scotland and the North East started it off. It was very cold in parts. Mid February saw drifts of 6-7 feet on the East coast of England. Mid March had severe blizzards and drifting, in North Eastern England drifts reached a staggering 15 feet! Very snowy.

1981-82: Mid December, South West and Southern England seeing 12 inches. North East England getting 7 inches, with 6 foot drifts. 2 days later (20th December) Northern England got 7 inches, and 6 foot drifts. Mid January, there was general snow, with a cover of 1-2 feet in parts. Snowy, and very cold.

1984-85: Very cold and snowy, especially in Southern England. It was a very cold winter. Early January, there was snow in Eastern England. Mid January, East Anglia and Kent getting the goods, with 6 inches falling here. Mid January, South West England and South Wales (yippee!). Late January seeing snow in Scotland, and the prone spots, such as Aviemore, getting 2ft of level snow, Northern Britain as a whole affected though. Mid February, Southern England, 6-12 inches, substantial drifting taking place. 29th March gave Scotland snow. A memorable year. Snowy.

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