A couple of inches and the UK is brought to a complete standstill. The schools close, shops shut, the road gritters skid into ditches and the snowploughs are rusted to the depot floors from lack of use, so as a country we're completely flummoxed by a phenomenon that occurs every bloody year.
Okay, this February is a bit worse than it has been for a decade or so, but we're still not seeing drifts of the cold stuff lapping the eaves, or digging tunnels out into the road to hunt for cats-eyes like when I was a nipper. And we seemed to be able to get to school on a depressingly regular basis. At one point, it's reported that there a foot of snow dropped in one night! I almost feel the need to add another exclamation mark at the end of that news.
And then I made a foolish tactical error. Whilst visiting someone down a steep road, I parked up and nipped inside for 40 minutes. "Ooh," I thought, as I skipped lightly down the pleasantly frosted road, "These large flakes are pretty."
Unfortunately, it's been so long since I've experienced proper snow that I forgot what it does. It stays put, is what it does. I should have noted that all the local yokels had parked way away from that hilly place, walking up to their vehicular conveyances that they'd cleverly left adjacent to the main road. When I came out I was completely unable to move the car, although I was very successful in making my clutch smell like a burning refinery.
Cue an hour and a half of digging two paths for my wheels and liberally spreading the council's precious, precious grit in each track so that, eventually I could reverse back up the hill:
I was knackered. In fact, I think you could market snow-shovelling as a sort of hard-core exercise for people who find triathalons a bit tame. Think of the marketing possibilities of selling Quicksilver shovels for £99.99, or Nike Wellies.
It worked though, and I reversed back up to a flat bit and was able to be towed out to the main road by a convenient 4x4, with the clutch now smelling like someone had set fire to a bear in the passenger footwell.
So I got home, and was greeted by a snow-proof toddler who obviously wanted to go outside and build a snowman. Unfortunately, I was very tired and was more interested in drinking brandy and regaling the family with tales of my heroic Scott-esque adventures that day.
So instead of a snowman, I whipped up a quick snow-gargoyle:
He stared at it bemused, but he does that with snowmen as well, so I consider it a success.
In fact, I am going to put that extra exclamation mark in: