As my first post of the New Year, I should, perhaps, be wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year.
And, for those of you in the UK, suffering the very low temperatures, I should say that, although our temperatures are around freezing, we have had snow. And snow like I never saw in the UK.
It started yesterday or, rather, the night before. Yesterday we woke up to a covering of snow of about 4 to 5 inches. And this is in central Milan! But it has snowed continuously since then and, overnight, has managed to make the combined fall, in two days, of over a foot.
I remember always thinking, when I lived in the UK, that the ‘foreigners’ would always do things better. Healthcare, schooling, public transport, etc., etc. And, not least, weather, particularly if they were used to such weather.
Being as we live not half an hour from the Alps, where, even in the direst of years, snow is expected during the winter, I would have expected that, given a forecast of snow, the snowploughs and gritters would be out in full force. But, no, it seems not. Sure, yesterday (it was a holiday here, in Italy) I saw a snowplough on our street mid-morning but this morning, the roads were like country roads after a brutal snowstorm. It certainly did not feel like were were in the middle of a major city that was so close to the Alps – more like a small village IN the Alps.
And don’t be fooled by the media in the UK. Healthcare; schooling; public transport – they all have the same problems as the UK. Sure, there are aspects that are better, such as the fixed fare of €1 for a 75 minute journey on the transport system (excluding the metro (underground)). I mean, that’s good. But people complain that the trains never run on time; that you cannot get quick service in the public healthcare system; that there is not enough money spent on schooling and that you have to buy all the books for the kids school. These things I knew about but I still expected something different with the snow. Instead, it took me almost two hours to get to work!
Yesterday, as it was snowing and I was on holiday, I took the dogs to the park. For Rufus the snow presents (and has always presented) a bit of a problem. After a while, great globes of compacted snow are created on the fur around his feet. Small snowballs, in fact. These are no problem but the ones that get created under his paws are a problem because he finds it difficult to walk and I have to clear them away for him (he waits very patiently whilst I do this, holding the offending paws up so that I can clear them properly).
On the other hand, not only is it interesting to play with and run through, it is also something new to eat – as far as Dino is concerned – who had no problem with the snowballs getting under his paws. I really don’t know why they should be different.
I am hoping that I shall get home a little quicker than I got here (it has turned to rain now) so that I can take them to the park tonight, before it closes, even if it does mean that the flat resembles a shallow swimming pool about half an hour after we get back.