Sunday, 18 December 2016

I'm dreaming of a grey Christmas

It falls in every Christmas movie you've ever seen, is in every TV Christmas special and advert. It's all over Christmas cards. We sing songs about it and even spray fake stuff all over the windows.

But as I approach my 47th Christmas, there is one burning and ever more desperate question on my lips.

Where the **** is the snow?

A ridiculously over optimistic Christmas card scene

Quite honestly, I have never ever seen what I would class as a White Christmas.

I don't know what you call a White Christmas but I don't agree with the bookies definition, which is a single snowflake falling on the roof of the weather centre in London on Christmas Day. Sorry, one snowflake does not a Snowman make. A few bits of left over grey slush by the side of the road from a snowfall a few days earlier also doesn't count.

For me, a proper White Christmas, like the ones you get in the movies, happens when snow starts falling after it gets dark on Christmas Eve so you wake up to a huge blanket of snow on Christmas Day.

You would think, with the law of averages this would be bound to happen sooner or later. A few years ago, things looked good. Remember that run of snowy winters we had between 2009 and 2012? Oh, we came close, really close in 2010. I remember, because I was working as a DJ then, and had jobs on the Friday and Sunday nights the weekend before Christmas.

I drove, or rather slid home from Buckingham on the Friday night in temperatures of -12c. It had been an incredibly cold autumn that year and the coldest December I can ever remember. On Saturday morning, the 18th December, it was clear that a massive snowfall was imminent. I drove round to the White Hart and dropped off all my DJ equipment, ready for Sunday night. It was a good job I did, because shortly afterwards we had one of the biggest snowfalls I have ever seen, about a foot deep in places. I couldn't move my car for nearly a week afterwards.

But it was all a week too early. Despite remaining cold, what snow was left by Christmas Day was old and dirty.

In the last three winters we have had no snow at all, let alone at Christmas. My six-year-old, Jamie, said to me the other day he was sad because he had never seen snow and he wanted to build a snowman. Short of flying him to Scandinavia, there's not a lot I can do about that.

You'll be lucky, mate

Don't take any notice of Granny at Christmas if she tells you "when I was young, it snowed at Christmas every year. because that's bollocks". And you can tell her that, though perhaps don't use the word "bollocks" as she might be offended. I did look back into history as research for this blog (you see how much I do for you people!) and as far as the last 100 years go, this is as good as it gets:

1927 was amazing - a massive snowstorm swept the country on Christmas Day. If your granny is very ancient she might remember that one.

1956 was also a true White Christmas, with snow falling across the whole of the UK between the 23rd and 26th. That's probably the one Gran remembers that happened every year!

And that's about it really, apart from lots of near misses. 1981 was another with a snowy December, but the snow all fell a few days before. And lots of people bang on about the winter of 1962-63 but that didn't start until Boxing Day.

I blame pop stars as well. I don't know where you were Shaky when snow was falling all around you in 1985 but it certainly wasn't England.

One of many Christmas singles that I would
 class as "meteorologically inaccurate"

And this year? At the moment the BBC are predicting most likely mostly wet and windy, but a few computer models say it might snow. Can't say I'm confident.

I am beginning to despair of seeing either a White Christmas or an England World Cup victory before I die. It's not looking promising on either front, even if I get my telegram from the Queen. Which will be remarkable in itself, as Her Majesty will be 143 by then.

R.I.P. Greg Lake, the only musician who was honest with us about Christmas in his yuletide offering...

"They said there'll be snow at Christmas / They said there'll be peace on earth / But instead it just kept on raining"

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