Graham Turner: Why don’t we learn our weather lessons?

Snow in the town centre
Snow in the town centre
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The weather bowled a googly last Friday which saw poor old Tuffers and his Question of Sport colleagues dismissed from the BBC1 schedule in favour of a half-hour ‘snow special’.

It’s not that I’m a huge fan of the sporting quiz, but I was apoplectic with indignation that the BBC would waste 30 minutes on such a programme.

After all, it was only a small corner of the country which had seen more than a few specks of snow and even then, it was hardly of Arctic proportions.

As usual, Auntie seemed to have a correspondent on every street corner and I huffed and puffed as we visited them in turn – only to discover the airports were coping, the trains were running smoothly and roads were largely passable.

“It’s winter, it snows – that’s not news,” I exclaimed to my poor wife. “What a waste of time.”

I know I didn’t have to watch, but my inner Victor Meldrew kept me glued to the seat – I mean, I wouldn’t want to miss the (same) weatherman explain the wintry meteorology for a fourth time.

My despair at the programme brought to mind a former South African colleague who used to complain: “The trouble with this country is that you don’t have a climate, you just have weather!”

And how right he was - we have non-stop weather. Rain, snow, wind, sunshine, warmth and cold of various degrees for 12 months of every year and sometimes all of them in the space of a few hours.

You’d think we’d be used to it by now, so why do we insist on making a big deal about something that happens with almost boring regularity? If it doesn’t rain for a week, we’re in drought; sunshine for three or four days constitutes a heatwave and a few centimetres of snow has us locked down in ‘Arctic Britain’.

Equally annoying is our inability to cope with any of these situations.

Year after year we stagger from hosepipe bans to floods to BBC snow specials, apparently unable to learn anything from previous crises.

So I feel a bit smug after this week’s snow - I’ve learned a valuable lesson: With the new high-tech kit we’ve got at the Bury Free Press, I can be just as productive at my kitchen table as I can at my desk.