Taking Stock - January 21, 2013

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THERE’S nothing like a little bit of snow to bring us out in a nationwide case of the grumps.

Unless you’re under the age of 15 or it’s one of the three days of the year you don’t have to go to work, snow is miserable.

That’s partly because you have to watch from your desk as the white stuff falls, knowing very soon somebody is going to be having a darn sight more fun that you and partly because, well, it’s a real nuisance.

And, thanks to those helpful folks desperately trying to fill their 24 hour news channels, don’t we just know it!

Even before last week’s white-out arrived they were busy whipping the nation into a panic.

Where once we had the unreliable but loveable Michael Fish with his stick on symbols we’ve now got eager young presenters who waste no time in telling us about their red zones, severe alerts and all that rubbish which, while making good television, is of absolutely no use whatsoever.

Especially when they get the forecast wrong.

So much so that on Friday morning I assured my boss not a flake of snow was going to fall in Blackpool – just as the first drifted gently past the window.

Of course looking like a fool in front of your colleagues is a minor inconvenience if you compare it to the misery of Britain’s travelling public.

Now, I’ll admit we got a fair dusting last week – maybe not here, but in Wales and other parts there was a fair quantity of snow to deal with.

But generally, we tend to accept, in cases of snow, everything in Britain is going to grind to a halt before we’ve all got our coats zipped up.

Even so, I was impressed on Friday by the train companies who decided to abandon their timetable (and therefore their customers) before even a single flake had come down.

There’s nothing like being prepared for the worst case scenario.

Back on the box they were busy screening images from a snowy Heathrow, of crawling traffic on motorways and a whole load of other things designed to make us think the nation wasn’t really coping.

And, I’ll admit, if you happened to be waiting for a train in snow-free East Anglia, things weren’t good.

But the idea other European nations cope better, is it really true?

Well, the pictures of passengers sleeping on camp beds at Munich airport suggests not – proving perhaps that the Germans are, indeed, a most organised bunch, but they’re still at the mercy of the weather, same as anyone else.

Oh, and better not mention the disruption to the Swedish railways from some pretty extreme snowfall.

Anyone who’s tried to get out of New York during stormy weather will be able to tell you even the world’s number one superpower is pretty useless in the face of mother nature.

We Brits do like a good moan – and talking about the weather and there’s nothing better than combining the two.

Perhaps, then , it’s time we stopped our national griping every time it snows. Look on the bright side Blackpool’s trams were running.

Make the most of it!