I can’t argue with the fact that I love what we Aberdonians call ‘A lang lie’. One of my favourite simple pleasures is not having to set my alarm and sleeping until I wake up naturally. My family and friends can testify that I could sleep through Armageddon and the only way I can guarantee to wake up is to make my alarm this:
at full volume and also to strategically position my phone in a place where I have to get out of bed to switch it off, otherwise I am doomed to eternal tardiness and always being late (which I am a lot of the time anyway, but not as bad as it used to be thanks to the screeching of Trent Reznor). My long suffering friends and family will also confirm that if Scotland entered a team into the ‘World Sleeping Championships’, I would have been the greatest sleep champion of all time. Our nation would never again need to agonise over World Cup qualifiers. We would have the sleep thing in the bag.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I LOVE my bed. That wondrous feeling of waking up, realising you don’t have to be up that early and wriggling back under the quilt all cosy to spoon with the mattress and your pillows is just divine. I love and appreciate this simple pleasure, but all the more deliciously on freezing cold mornings when the dreaded white stuff comes to call.
I am not really a fan of the cold. The weather kind, nae the lurgee kind (although I am not fond of the lurgee either, but who is really?). Lots of people seem to get quite excited about the imminent arrival of the snow, especially on Christmas Day, (I place the blame squarely on Hallmark Cards for inciting this madness) a picture perfect Christmas complete with white flechs blanketing athing. One individual close to me (I am naming no names, but she knows who she is) is especially guilty of this notion, that Christmas Day is not completely itself without snow. This kind of hideousness needs to be banned – see exhibit A:
I rest my cynical case. My best friend, who is not a native Doric speaker, many years ago spied the dreaded white stuff out of the living room window and got very excited, held her boy up to the window to give him his first ever view of the snow and exclaimed ‘Oh Shay, look at the shnay!’ I collapsed into fits of laughter. For those not in the Doric know, I’ll give you some examples so that you get the gist.
Sna (pronounced snah) – Snow
Sna mannie (pronounced snah manny) – Snowman
Sna ba (pronounced snah-bah) – Snowball
What I didn’t find hilarious was dragging the buggy backwards in the snow in April/May. That was a particularly long and gadsy Winter. Do I wanna build a snowman? Fuck no. I don’t have that built in excitement that others seem to posses. At the first snowflake, I want to retreat into hiding like a hibernating bear, not celebrate by jumping around in the stuff. I did find sledging quite enjoyable when I was a kid, due to living out in teuchter land and having massive hills (well they seemed massive to me at age 7) to slide down, but even as a kid I wasn’t enamoured with Winter and all that comes with her. I felt trapped a lot of the time, my freedom back then was getting out to play and roaming the village, usually getting into trouble but having lots of fun at the same time. Winter locked me inside, only to be allowed occasional freedom to the garden or the nearby farmer’s field. Perhaps that’s where the beginning of my distaste for ‘the sna’ originates.
I do accept the turn of the seasons, despite my love of the lighter days and the sun, and here, Autumn is particularly beautiful. It is a very Scottish/British thing to talk about the weather, but only in a general, observational way, used solely for the purpose of polite conversation. Nobody really cares what the weather is actually like, but discussing it (especially at bus stops for some reason) is very much the norm.
Weather in the North East is a state of acceptance. We accept that it is cold, miserable and grey much of the time, and we rejoice at the slightest hint of the strange fiery ball appearing in the sky. Once the temperature rises above ten degrees, t-shirts are peeled off, strappy vests and shorts are donned and locals rush down to the beach to soak up as much of the precious rays as possible before they disappear (usually by early afternoon, or else the haar comes in and hides the sun from everybody). Billy Connolly once said that Aberdeen is Gaelic for hypothermia, and told a very amusing anecdote about the North Sea, involving being in it up to his balls. If you haven’t seen the sketch, I’m sure you get my drift.
We are used to seeing all seasons in one day up here, so the weather doesn’t bother most of us, and may be one of the reasons why this sudden fascination for dramatising the weather by the media irritates me so much. I think I have firmly established my distaste for the Winter season, but at the end of the day, it is just plain old weather and not really anything to get your punts (punts is the Doric word for knickers) in a twist about. The latest buzzword (in an endless series of highly annoying buzzwords) is…..wait for it….*drumroll*
This journalistic monstrosity (hashtag included) spawned itself all over the internet faster than an airborne virus. ‘Run! Run for your lives! The #WEATHERBOMB is coming for you! And your children! And your children’s children! Batten down the hatches and thank the lord you panic bought all those tinned foods (in case of the arrival of the ever-impending Armageddon/WW3/Latest invasion by immigrants/Islamic fundamentalists/benefit cheats/gays/etc.). It was like a weather-themed news version of Dallas, high drama and all the sheen with zero quality or reality. And the worst thing is that people were actually buying it. This was me for pretty much most of that day:
After all the weather articles I saw warning us of 120 mph winds, blizzards, disruption and devastation to the nation, what happened? Absolutely nothing. No gargantuan snow drifts like this:
It was a wee bit windy and we got a tiny flurry of snow, which has now melted. I will utilise a heavily sarcastic and much loved phrase from my early teenage years here, primarily used to communicate displeasure at something and loosely translated means ‘so?’ or ‘is that it?’. Yep, that’s what I’d say in response to that whole comedic episode of over dramatised weather. #Weatherbomb aye? = Big fuckin’ chufters.
That sparks off many other idiotic phrases and insults from my teenage years with ‘smell yer ma’ being one of the most popular (I’ve still no idea what it really means) and dubbing someone a ‘fucking spangle’ was considered the height of insults at the time, despite a spangle being a boiled sweet.
On researching the word ‘spangle’ whilst writing this, I discovered from the Narnia of useless information that is Wikipedia, that there was once a pirate radio station DJ who went by the name of ‘Spangles Muldoon’, which I found so hilarious, I had to stop writing and spend a good five minutes laughing my head off. I digress however. This is not meant to be a dissertation on idiotic 1980s teenage Doric insults. You really must stop me from flying off on these ridiculous tangents.
According to the #weatherbomb enthusiasts, there is more of the dreaded white stuff on the way – no doubt carried in on a carriage of death by the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and Satan himself will unleash it on an unsuspecting public, especially those who chose to ignore the warnings of THE NEWS PEOPLE. They will be swept up in the maelstrom of high winds, never to be seen again, or so they would have us believe.
I will believe it when I see it. There are countries far colder and snowier than ours, who seem to manage quite well in conditions similar to the Arctic. Their news people aren’t running around flapping and shouting about the end of the world are they? There is no worldwide devastation or life grinding to a screeching halt. Nope, people are just getting on with it, doing their thing and not paying much attention to the weather, just like most Scottish folk.
So, there you have it. My rant about all things snow related is coming to a close, and soon it will be time for another Sleep Olympics training session. Sadly, I have to set my alarm tomorrow morning (extreme sadface) and I might have to wake up to and go out in more snow. Never mind, things could always be worse. We could be struck by a
*cue dramatic theme tune*
Mon the Summer, the blue skies and light nights I say. But while we wait I shall leave you with this little ditty. Guaranteed to keep you warm on a Winter’s evening, and if it don’t, well……you cold, maaaan.