Oh no! I’ve just realised I’ve committed the crime for which I have excoriated so many others – namely, creating a compound verb. And yet somehow ‘to flagellate ourselves’ doesn’t pack quite the same punch as ‘to self-flagellate’. What to do?
Anyway, what’s brought all this on? The weather, that’s what. It never varies – every year when we get a cold snap and some snow on the hills, the seasonal self-flagellation begins. Why can’t we deal with this? a nation moans. Why aren’t we more like other countries? Every year we compare ourselves with another country and ask why we can’t be like them. This morning, on ‘Today’, it was Russia and their fleet of snow-ploughs. Before that it was Austria – tomorrow it’ll be parts of China. Why can’t we be more like them?
Answer – because we aren’t like them! These other countries with whom we so darkly compare ourselves, have snow every year. They have it in largely predictable amounts, at generally predictable times, and for usually predictable periods. They are geared up to it. What do we have? Unpredictability. In one winter we can have snow, hail, wind, flood, unseasonable warmth, sun, drizzle, fog and rain. The one thing we can be sure of is that we can’t be sure about any of it. So what is the point of comparing ourselves to places that have snow every year and know what to do about it? Sure, we could invest in fleets of snow-ploughs, but chances are they’d stand idle most of the time. And you can bet those same self-flagellators would be the first to complain about the waste of money. So let’s embrace the glorious unpredictability of our weather.
Let’s not embrace flooding and global warming though. Let’s not do that.
A Very Happy Thursday to all,