In case it has escaped your attention, it's been snowing a bit in the UK.
Quite apart from the usual snowy Britain experiences - cancelled trains, slushy roads and over-excited weather forecasters - I've also learned a few slightly more esoteric things about life, which I am generously sharing with you, dear reader. Never let it be said that this blog doesn't enrich your life. Even if it is self-evidently true.
A new respect for ungulates
Being as I am one of those weedy people that can't feel their toes once the mercury drops below 4 Celsius, in the past few weeks I've taken to wearing two - or even three - pairs of socks at once. One of the unforeseen side-effects of this additional insulation is that my shoes no longer fit, and I end up tottering down the road like a satyr that has had a few too many sherries (albeit without the perpetual erection, I might add).
I never gave much thought to what it must be like to have hooves before, but now I realise how ungainly they are, I say 'jolly well done' to all the sheep, pigs, horses and Satans out there.
Panic buying can get surreal
I went down to my town's supermarket over the weekend to get some supplies, only to find the store resembled a scene from a nuclear holocaust movie. No bread. No tinned food. No milk. All the staple items had been bought en masse by people presumably expecting to be sealed off from civilisation like Ernest Shackleton for the next six months.
I guess this is to be expected, particularly with the newspapers enjoying stories about how Britain has returned to the Stone Age, but there was one particular item that I did not expect to see people fighting over - cat litter. Yes, cat litter: those absorbent little pellets are apparently the best substitute for road grit available. Now the pavements are strewn with cat litter, I do wonder if the local feline population just thinks the town has become one enormous toilet.
No change there, then.
A sholley is a weapon
There is a fairly high proportion of retired folk in the town where I live, which adds a little extra spice to the snowy scenes. I was expecting to see carnage in town - old people flying all over the place, broken hips aplenty... but in fact the cunning old codgers seem to have worked out that their sholleys act as an extra foot, giving them the stability of a tripod.
Unfortunately this is also allied with the braking and steering ability of a supertanker. Anyone walking within 20 yards of a sholley-wielding pensioner is therefore in imminent danger of being swamped by a phalanx of tartan-clad shopping bags.
Believe me. It's no coincidence that the more pointy parts of the sholley are exactly at testicle height. You have been warned.
There is good money in plastics
Sales of non-essential items have plunged during the cold snap. Perhaps that's not surprising, that people are postponing the purchase of large items when they can barely walk. But there are still some items flying off the shelves, and it would appear that none are selling faster than sledges.
Not those nice solid old wooden sledges, like Rosebud. Oh no. This is 2010, so our wee kids have to have a pink slab of moulded plastic to sit on. At £30 a pop.
Even Russell Brand is at it. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work.
I am not ready for Canada
Here we are in the third or fourth week of the Big Freeze (TM), and it amazes me that not only has the country not ground to a halt, but I also currently still have a full quota of toes and fingers. Nevertheless, if there is much more of this sub-zero ice-fest, I may have to go into hibernation. I would not last five minutes in Calgary. Especially walking like I've got hooves.