Thursday, December 2, 2010

The first snow

Our garden right now.

Growing up in northern Norway, you get used to six bone-chilling months of winter each year. Many times have I seen thundering snowploughs send a thick white spray through the air, barely reaching the top of the six-foot high bank of snow already bordering the road. I've crawled through snow caves that would have impressed the Vietcong. You have to be friends with the snow up north lest it become your enemy.

I remember how, as a child, I would wake up one morning between October and December and see the first soft layer of snow on the lawn. My sister and I would cry out with joy, immediately waking our parents, who for some reason were never quite as excited about the snow as we were. It was the happiest day of the season, and I still feel excitement at the first snow. It's something new.

A typical Belgian's reaction to snow would be a little more along the lines of Harry from "3rd Rock From The Sun":

In their defense, most Belgian winters go by without a single snowflake falling from the sky. Thus, there is no great fleet of snowploughs waiting to charge down snow-covered highways. Most people keep their summer tyres on for twelve months a year. So when the snow hits, it's not a mere nuisance, but a perfectly good reason to stay at home. Those who ignore this advice will find themselves in traffic jams stretching up to 650 kilometres (404 miles).

I would normally have a laugh at this fearful chaos, so unlike the hard-nosed attitude among the frost-bitten denizens of the icy north. However, Belgians might be facing a real danger this time.

Having just recovered from the devastating floods of November, Belgium now has to deal with the coldest start of winter in 135 years. The potential consequences can only be guessed at.

For now, I hope we can get through this one without loss of life.


  1. Nice photo of our garden, hihi ^^

    I used to get really excited about snow as a kid too, because it was a rarity here :) this has changed abruptly since last year, and even then it wasn't so cold.

    Don't worry, before you know it'll be 40 degrees again ;)Love ya!

  2. Huske du kjelkeakinga ned gangbakken?:) Livsfarlig sport :p

  3. @Bika: Hehe, I'm not sure if 40 degrees is any better than 0 :-P At least we'll get another chance to have a barbeque ;)

    @Sunniva: Ja, vi va heldig som kom gjennom det i ett stykke o_O