Thursday, 8 February 2007

Stop whining and grow up

3 centimetres of forecast snow has fallen on much of southern England. See this news story entitled "Heavy snow causes travel problems". The deepest snow is a shockingly deep ... erm 9cm (less than 4 inches). The media goes into predictable frenzy. The news is filled with images of abandoned cars. Schools are shut; airport runways are closed; train services are disrupted ("wrong type of snow"). On the lunchtime news, a person walking a dog along a deserted main road with about 1 inch of snow of it exclaims that "It's terrible, so atrocious." Get a grip.

The media aren't helping. To quote from the BBC news website:

The BBC Weather Centre said overnight temperatures would fall to as low as -3C (26F) ... where overnight temperatures plummeted to -4C ...

"Plummeted"? To -4C? Well, that proves that global warming was all a sham. Meanwhile, here were the temperatures in Finland on monday morning:


The Finns shrug their shoulders, drop their kids off at school (no reason for them to close), then drive off for a normal days work. Very cold weather with heavy snow doesn't mean being trapped indoors. Instead, the Finns go out, take pictures and frolic in the forests dressed as Elves. Go see some of the pictures - especially the "Magical" set - in this Flickr collection.

And on the subject of the Finns when it gets a bit chilly, here's a comparison chart doing the blog rounds:

+15 °C: The Spanish wear woolly hats and gloves. Finns are sunbathing.

+10 °C: Without much success, the French try to turn the heating on. Finns start planting flowers.

+5 °C: Cars in Italy don’t start up. Finns drive convertibles and put their roofs down.

0 °C: Water freezes. The river in Helsinki turns a bit thick.

-5 °C: National state of emergency declared in England. Finns stop sunbathing.

-10 °C : Scots turn the central heating on. Finns change their t-shirts to jumpers.

-20 °C: The Swedish stay inside; England is evacuated. Finns barbecue a few more sausages before the winter starts.

-30 °C : The Greek die. Finns won’t hang their clothes outside anymore.

-40 °C: Fake Santa Clauses move south. Outdoor training of the Finnish Army is cancelled due to warm weather.

-50 °C: The Danish lose their teeth. Finns rent films and stay inside.

-60 °C: Polar bears leave the North Pole. The Finnish Army starts training outdoors.

-70 °C: Siberians move to Moscow. Finns lose their calm, because you can no longer store vodka in your garden.

-273 °C : Absolute zero. Finns say: "It’s bloody cold outside!"

-300 °C : Hell freezes over. Finland wins the Eurovision Song Contest.


  1. I know, a few snowflakes and the UK grinds to a halt, it's pretty pathetic . . . my Finnish friend says that below -15°C, you can't really take young children out cos they get frostbite on their faces no matter how well wrapped up.And thanks for the 'Vittula' info.

  2. No problemo, nmj. Btw the word "Popular music from ..." is a naughty one in Swedish, so careful on the context when speaking to Scandinavians. The book is best read back-to-back with "The Stornoway Way"

  3. My sentiments exactly about the snow. Here in Birmingham there is barely a smattering and yet ALL the schools are closed - any excuse for the teachers to have a day off I think. You could understand it if the heating was broken but it isn't! How, exactly could you get stuck and stranded in the middle of a huge city? You'd hardly run out of food and die!

  4. Heh, this was fun reading. =) Actually, there has been some problems over here; e.g., my the battery in my German car did silently go to sleep -- after just one night in -30C degrees. Weird; they are losing the skill of carmaking over there? (The Finnish Magazine "Tekniikan Maailma" has the only annual, thorough winter car test series that they again featured in the latest issue. The best winter car? A Cadillac! Actually, it is internally a Saab, and made in Sweden, the Americans just bought the factory... See:

  5. ah, my friend already told me the meaning of the shorter word! amazing how 'ignorant' one can be when using foreign language!

  6. Survivor, Finland « Impromptu Librarian9 February 2007 at 01:05

    [...] Hebrides of Scotland and writes a charming blog called Silversprite.  This morning he’s blogged about the winter weather there, and how the attitudes are very different from those of their neighbors, the [...]

  7. No wonder the folks here in Minnesota - which is traditionally very Nordic - are so blasé about the cold weather! It's been -25 F. at night lately, with a high during the day of -7 F. or so. And we got 4 inches of snow the other day.We've taken to wearing gloves outside.

  8. With global warming imminent, now would be a great time to invest heavily in snow ploughs.

  9. Ahhh....Finland, Finland, Finland.The country where I want to be! ;-)

  10. Hey Silversprite, admittedly it has been a bit nippy even here in the south (Helsinki) in the last few days. Don't tell anyone, but most of us do wear long johns (thermal underwear). If people knew that, we might lose our tough survivor rep.PS the v**** word in the book title is actually Finnish, not Swedish. The Swedes swear very badly, the worst thing you can call someone is "skitstövel", or shitboots. We are considerably more foul-mouthed, for better or for worse. This year, someone is actually organising a Finnish Championship in "vittuilu", or being verbally abusive. I would've blogged that on my sadly-neglected site, but just cannot come up with a decent translation of "vittuilu"...