It’s that time of year again. The wave of excitement leading up to Christmas is about to peak and plummet into the trough of depression that is actually Christmas and the weather has turned a bit nippy. Anybody would think it was winter or something.
Snow! It’s white, it’s cold, it’s pretty, it’s quite disruptive. In some countries – mine, for instance – it’s very disruptive. Many people blame the government but these are the sorts of people who blame the government for everything anyway. Many people blame climate change scientists for using the words ‘gobal warming’ for too long and leading them into thinking it’d get toasty in the higher latitudes at this time of year but these people are morons. The truth is that snow is just a vindictive little sod and he hates us all. Get over it people.
So how do we deal with snow? Quite frankly, we’re not that good at it but help is at hand and with a little practice – if the Gulf Stream shifts position we’re really going to get plenty of that – we can get better.
Dealing With Snow On The Roof
Snow is light and fluffy except when there’s a lot of it and it gets a bit boisterous, a bit up for a fight, a bit hard and heavy. There’s a good chance you’re in a building right now as the homeless and adrift-at-sea demographics poll exceptionally low for this site and there’s an almost equally good chance that your building has a roof.
Roofs are designed to keep you from being spied upon by Google Earth’s fleet of high altitude camera blimps. They additionally provide a place for birds to rest up during the day – a deal reached upon between the building industry and the avian illuminati towards the end of the dark ages – but they are only weight-tested to a legal minimum of 1.3 puffies (puffins per square metre). Thanks to our education system I don’t need to tell you that snow only has to reach 0.03 cubic centimetres to exceed a mature puffin in weight so I won’t. You can see, therefore, that a build-up of snow on the roof can lead to catastrophic collapse.
Clearing snow from the roof using a spatula on a stick is hazardous when it’s snowing but may be necessary. However, a little understanding of thermodynamics allows us to dose up with some roof-based winter preventative medicine. Snow is cold. Heat is not cold. When snow is not cold it dies and decomposes into water. So, a warm roof will stop snow from settling and stressing your building’s structural integrity. And what’s the simplest way to warm your roof without coating it in glue in late October and trapping resting puffins (risking illuminati retribution)? Simply remove all the thermal insulation from your loft and leave your central heating running constantly. You’ll be warm, you’ll be safe.
Dealing With Icy Paths
Snow, like one of my first girlfriends, is cold, sometimes melts a little, then freezes and becomes a terrifying hazard for anyone nearby. We call this type of snow "ice" and this ice has a habit of lying down on paths and pavements and roads waiting to lure any unwary walker into a deadly game of Ha Ha, You Look Like A Spaz And You’ve Cracked Your Pelvis!
Ice works by reducing the friction between what it’s on and what’s trying to walk on it to such a level that normal walking styles become useless. When we walk we move our legs in a way that alters the centre of our gravity. The Earth – being far more massive than we are – tugs on this centre of gravity and the planet’s magnetic ley lines and the iron in our blood does the rest by moving us along. When the expected friction underfoot reduces, our feet can’t always shift to the position our brains are instructing them; the knock-on effect of this is that we are moved by gravity in an unexpected way, our brains tries to compensate and adjust the walking but the same thing occurs and a feedback loop soon blossoms into toddler-like stumbling and skidding.
We can deal with the problem of icy roads, paths, and pavements by increasing the friction underfoot. One way that people do this is by putting grit down on the cold surface. The underside of grit is coated with ice glue so it bonds with the normally smooth ice while the topside is rough like a scab enabling people and vehicles to better cope with the conditions.
However, grit suffers from two problems: firstly, grit is often difficult to come by when it gets cold because grit grows in tropical climates and transportation is often affected by the weather preventing supplies getting where they’re needed; secondly, it’s impractical to grit every surface. The answer is: cat litter. Cat litter works just as well as grit, is sold everywhere that cats live (that’s everywhere), and you can wear bags of it like shoes removing the problem of blanket coverage and marking yourself out as a bit of a trendsetter too with a small possibility of a sponsorship deal from Catsan thrown in for extra measure.
Dealing With Milk Shortages
The first thing to vanish from supermarket shelves whenever snow hints at an appearance is milk. As a nation we can cope with anything so long as we can have a cup of tea but we’ve become awfully selfish in recent times and it’s definitely a case of every man for himself when blizzards are on the horizon.
So, how do we deal with a lack of milk when the weather turns snowy? The answer might surprise you because it’s really blindingly obvious when you think about it: bedroom cow.
A bedroom cow will provide you with all the fresh milk you could possibly need during an extended snowy blockade. For one of a nation of animal lovers you also get the deep-down satisfaction of knowing there’s one less cow shivering in a field somewhere. At night, when the boiler can’t quite cope with the loss of heat through your now insulation-free (and deadly snow-free) roof you’ll be mighty glad for the constant, gentle escape of warming methane into your sleeping environment. And when the thaw finally arrives you can celebrate in style with a slap-up steak meal, new boots, and a jacket without paying over-the-top prices.