The Plastic Hippo

February 5, 2012

Snow blind

Filed under: Society,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 11:31 pm

One of the more endearing qualities of the human race is its marvellous ability to be constantly surprised. It is winter, it is February, it snowed. Good grief, we didn’t see that coming.

On Saturday afternoon, with snow falling and settling, the regular jaunt to the supermarket for weekend treats became a delightful cabaret as panicked heathens stocked up for the unfolding apocalypse. It was difficult not to laugh as some very large people were pushing each other out of the way to get to the oven chips, burgers and beer and with loaded up trolleys, lined up to buy cigarettes by the 200. With enough food to feed Napoleon’s army on the retreat from Moscow, they trekked across the frozen tundra car park, eyes cast to the heavens, fearing Armageddon. For days the weather forecast predicted snowfall.

In wellies, three warm coats, gloves and a ridiculous but very warm hat, the rucksack of provisions was conveyed up the hill by Shanks`s pony in half the time it took cars to slide out of the supermarket car park. The Wellington boots proved to be rather efficient at negotiating freshly fallen snow, in marked contrast to the very best of German, French, Italian, Japanese and American design and engineering. One nascent Jeremy Clarkson, attempting to drive up the hill by keeping his foot down and spinning his wheels, finally brought his back sliding “hot” toy car to a halt. On being overtaken by a fat man on foot with a rucksack, he pushed the button to lower his window and asked for a push. The response that he should learn how to drive in snow resulted in a facial expression that was reminiscent of a recently emasculated butcher’s dog. Taking pity and suggesting second gear and keeping the revs down ensured a friendly gesture when we met again at the top of the hill some time later.

Once home, and after cheese on toast, crumpets and mugs of hot chocolate, the family decided on a walk in Walsall Arboretum even as the light was fading. Too cold for vandals, junkies and butcher’s dogs, the Arbo was stunning. Even after dark, the reflected light from the snow allowed snowball fights and some rather tame sledging on limited slopes. Invigorated, we returned to French onion soup, steak, sautéed potatoes, Vichy carrots and apple crumble with custard. The domestic staff at hippo towers were magnificent in the face of a weather related crisis.

Sunday morning saw bacon butties, stuff being thrown into the slow cooker and the promise of a thaw. Determined to make the most of the snow and after checking to see if an elderly neighbour was okay for milk and bread, we collected the adopted dog and again resorted to the Arboretum. You would not believe the fun we had.

In eastern Europe, people are actually freezing to death. Here, with a coating of snow, BAA decide to cancel half the flights out of Heathrow “as a precaution”. The police and the local council advise that we should not undertake journeys unless absolutely necessary. Stay at home, don’t go to work, keep your children away from school, it’s hell out there. Expect the government to explain away another down-turn in the economy in the the first quarter of 2012 because of 24 hours of snowfall. It could have been worse, of course. Imagine the damage to the balance of payments if two and a half inches of snow fell on a Thursday afternoon and was gone by Friday rush hour. Act of God melt down.

Returning from the wonderful Arboretum, we enjoyed a Chicken Marengo worthy of Bonaparte. With the Wellingtons in the hall, and sitting before a warming log fire, some fatherly advice was administered regarding snow. Snowballs only hurt a bit, sledging is perfectly safe until you kill yourself and the best way to avoid polar bear attack is to be accompanied by a friend that runs slower than you.

Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t rain tomorrow. Take an umbrella and watch out for polar bears and make sure that your journey is necessary.


  1. Will you adopt me – I have never eaten like that in my life.

    Comment by wendy collins — February 5, 2012 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

  2. Wendy has beaten me to it! Please can I come and lodge with you? Food sounds divine. I’m a good worker!

    Comment by Linda Mason (@No1LindaMason) — February 6, 2012 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

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