DR Rob Gandy  I  UK

Well the weather is frightening, and although there’s no thunder and lightning, the scenes that are being broadcast on television from across the UK bring it home to you that it can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous to venture out when there is so much snow. Many people have been stuck in their cars overnight on the roads, despite the police and weather people telling everyone to stay home and keep warm. We then get panicked by the newspapers saying that the country is running out of gas! (I am tempted to respond with the retort that as long as we have the current media in this country then there will be no shortage of hot air!!).

..telling everyone to stay home and keep warm

Image by Olivia Henry via

So what can you do? The message is to stay indoors and keep warm by wrapping up with sufficient clothes, and if you have to venture out then make sure you have appropriate outerwear and proper footwear. For those of you that have been getting deep snow – whether or not it is being measured in inches or centimetres – you will undoubtedly have to put your wellies on and grab a spade so that you can clear your pathways and dig out your car (if you have to use it). But remember that there will be neighbours who might not be able to do this because they are frail or ill. So once you have dealt with your own property, have your essential hot cup of tea or coffee, and then look around to see if there are neighbours in this same situation. And if there are then check if they are OK and need their paths clearing as well. (This might involve phone calls, wading through snow up their path or yelling from the road). Even if you are not deep in snow, a quick check that elderly neighbours are coping well will not go amiss, and no doubt they will very much appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to call on them and have a natter, and maybe (another) cup of tea.

Other than humans, we should not forget that there is wildlife out there that will be finding it hard to find food in heavy snow. Birds are the obvious example, so putting out some seed, bits of bread and topping up birdbaths with water will be a great help. They might even send you a tweet!

Finally, make sure that you keep the television or radio on so that you can hear what the weather is like now and what it is likely to be in a few hours time. When you hear official advice then heed it – do NOT take the typically British attitude that such guidance doesn’t apply to me, and that “I’ll be OK”. Some people will have done this and then lost their lives. Also, remember that there are people who are out there trying to look after everyone else – from doctors and nurses fighting their way to get into their hospital to do their shifts; to the police, fire brigades and ambulances having to attend an accident in the countryside deep in snow; to the mountain rescuers trekking over the hills trying to find someone who is lost or trapped. The fact that they might not have come to you as quickly as you would like might be because they are already tied up saving a life somewhere. So, if your own life is not in imminent danger, please be patient and bear this in mind.

So remember what Sergeant Phil Esterhaus said in Hill Street Blues – ‘Let’s be careful out there

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