Us Brits love to talk about the weather and for the first time this year my eyeballs actually felt cold when I headed outdoors today. Winter appears to have officially arrived, but how are you preparing for the sub zero temperatures?
Winter weather in your area
One of my previous editorial roles involved web content for a local authority website and weather seemed to be more important than I could have ever imagined.
It has a massive impact on the health and well-being of the elderly community, whether it’s during a heat wave or because of bitterly low temperatures.
It also affects young people and parents trying to get to school during (the UK’s version of) heavy snow, which results in dedicated web pages listing each and every school in the area and whether they are open or closed.
Then there’s the plight of council workers trying to reach people who most need them during bad weather, for example the all important meals on wheals service, repairing pot holes in the roads, or getting the gritters out to deal with the icy conditions.
But fear not, Sky News reported this week when it was announced that we would be experiencing our first real cold spell of the winter, that the Prime Minister David Cameron promised to ensure “everything is being done to help”. Phew, that’s okay then!
Baby it’s cold outside…
I am lucky that I live in a terraced house, sandwiched in between two properties for that little bit of extra body warmth. However, last year my daughter’s bedroom got as cold as 14 degrees and her little hands were like ice blocks.
While she uses a sleeping bag and isn’t quite old enough for a duvet, there wasn’t much I could do. Thankfully I wised up this year and have invested in some lined organic cotton arm warmers, which are really quite genius at ensuring a good night’s sleep for all!
In the great scheme of things, if this is all I have to worry about, it appears that my problems when it comes to cold weather are relatively minor compared to many other people out there – not to mention those who are homeless or live in countries where 14 degrees at night is actually quite toasty.
I am grateful every day that I can put the heating on when I need to and that I have access to a car if I want to go out and and it’s lashing down with rain.
Everybody needs good neighbours
I have an elderly neighbour who is very lucky to have a daughter who visits her daily, but on those days when no one can get to her, I have been known to call by and check if she needs anything. I only hope that if I am ever in the situation when I am elderly and living on my own that someone would do the same for me.
Sadly, there are too many people who don’t have access to friends and family who look out for them during the winter or to help them apply for government benefits, such as the winter fuel payment scheme, cold weather payment or warm front scheme. I think that every street should have a dedicated cold weather neighbourhood watch to look out for people who may be more vulnerable than others.
Will it be a white Christmas?
My one wish for this Christmas is that we (ba humbug) don’t have a white Christmas. With family living all over the country, driving in icy conditions and snow doesn’t really appeal, so we shall see what happens.
I shall leave you with this infographic from the Met Office. You can also visit the Met Office website for the festive forecast in your area. Wrap up warm folks!