I remember the day I told my dad I was going to buy a motor bike. His reaction was that he forbid it. I then had to remind him that I was 28 years old with a mortgage and 2 kids, I was a grown up.
For so much of our time here on earth we seem to wish our lives away, we can’t wait for the years to pass so that we can become grown up. You can’t wait to go to school, you can’t wait to leave school. Not long until the summer holidays, why is Christmas taking so long to come. When will I be married, have kids, not long until retirement when I can put my feet up and do all things I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time.
Occasionally, I realise than inside this crumbling facade of a body that has definitely seen better days I am really just a big kid. Before I go any further I want to point out I realise that extreme weather is , well, extremely dangerous. It causes massive problems for our emergency services and for people living on their own it is a massive concern. So please take everything I say next in the light of that ‘grown up’ position I really hold.
I woke up yesterday morning expecting a visit from the Beast from the East. It had been coming all week. As I present the early show on BBC Radio Wales. I’m out of the house and on the road into the studio at around 4am every morning. On Tuesday at 4am the temperature in Swansea was minus 2, on Wednesday, minus 3 and Thursday minus 4. The television pictures form the east of the country and Scotland were extremely dramatic. Drifting snow and sub zero temperatures all brought on by a Polar Vortex.
Then came the news that by Friday Polar Vortex was going to bump into with Storm Emma in a mighty clash somewhere over South Wales. To be honest it sounded more like the plot to a new Marvel Comics film than a weather forecast. It’s always hard to predict exactly where and when and how much snow is going to fall but once the Red Weather Warning was announced I was thinking at least up to my knees.
Thursday afternoon in Swansea had the feel of an Apocalypse film. The schools had already closed at lunchtime and one by one shops put up closed signs and locked doors and the streets, normally gridlocked at 5pm were eerily empty. In preparation for the snow which was bound to keep me house bound on Friday morning I had been given a complete DIY radio set which I set up myself on the kitchen table. It was then I realised I’d left a power supply back the BBC. With the snow starting to fall and the temperatures falling and the news on TV saying it had started to snow I decided I had no option. I had to risk everything, jump back in the car and get the essential piece of gear that would keep me broadcasting the next morning.
Just in case!
It struck me on the journey that it was an odd sort of snow. There was quite a lot of it swirling around but it was powdery type of snow, almost like very small bits of polystyrene. The wind was blowing it into small but significant accumulations across the pavements but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Nevertheless I stopped at a petrol station on the way home, filled up again and bought 2 extra pints of milk…well, just in case. I said something to the lady behind the counter and laughed at myself getting caught up in the panic. I turned around and the guy behind me just held up his 2 pints of milk, a loaf of bread and a pack of toilet rolls and smiled at me!
All through the rest of the evening I kept checking the street outside the house. By 10 o’clock I was surprised to see the streets were still quite clear. I gave the radio equipment one final once over then headed to bed. Usually for me the alarm woke me. I’m usually up way before the alarm checking the time on the hour, every hour. The house felt cold but I found an excitement building in me as I rushed to open the curtains. It was a bit like the scene from ‘The Snowman’ when the boy rushes to see just how much snow has fallen overnight.
Nothing…well a very little bit of snow in the corners but the street was absolutely snow free. And I felt my heart sink. I started to dismantle the studio and pile all fo the boxes into the car. I looked up at the sky thinking maybe there was more snow to come. It was only later when I checked a tweet from Derek the Weatherman that I found out Swansea had been in a snow shadow. Lots of snow had fallen in Wales but our area had missed out.
Listening to the radio reports as I drove in I got a real sense of the magnitude of the snow dump. Colleagues joined me on the show from hastily converted back bedroom studios and others were calling in snow bound on the telephone. I knew that we in Swansea had missed out on one of the biggest snow storms of this century and that meant we were not going to suffer some of the dire consequence that others had to face. But it meant, no snow ball fights, no sledge rides, no walking to the shops to check how empty the shelves were…no Snow Day.
Back for the afternoon show on sNOw day @bbcradiowales, tea and crisps
Yesterday turned into a completely different day to the one I envisaged. Later in the day I was back hosting the afternoon show because Eleri Sion, the regular presenter, couldn’t get into the studios in Cardiff. It was great to hear the stories of snow heroes and see all the pictures making Wales look like every Christmas Card producers dream but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed.
I might look like a grown up but inside I’m probably still a big kid.