A right old Carry On

They call it a cold snap because that’s the sound bones make when they break after you’ve fallen over on the untreated pavements of your salt-impoverished town.

Fortunately, when I slipped over on the ice recently, my fall was broken by a large, crusty granary loaf.

“Just one of the hazards of the cold weather,” I thought, as I picked myself up and reshaped my loaf.

But by the time a driver had slid her car into the back of mine the following day, I was sick of the cold, white stuff.

Mindful of the economic necessity of work and keen not to lose any trade that might stumble past the shop, I’ve made it in to work every day despite these setbacks. I have to admit, though, that trade has been rather quiet.

On top of an economic downturn and rising costs of living, the last thing the travel industry needs is a reason for people to stay indoors with a box set of Carry On films.

We’ve got a real-life Carry On here at the moment – Carry On Snowing stars all of us in a truly British comedy about accurate, but much-mocked weather forecasters, incompetent local council planning officers and some excitable news readers inflating a predictable story about snow in winter.

It features lengthy scenes of cars stuck on motorways with small-but-buxom lady drivers (think Babs Windsor) being carried to community centres by tall, solid policemen (think Bernard Breslaw).

“My, I’ve never seen such a big one,” she says of his snow shovel.

No, we Brits just don’t do snow very well.

Snow is great, in its place, and its place is Siberia, where the wretched stuff came from. Or Whistler or the Antarctic. Not here in the UK.

For a start, how many of us can lay our hands on our fondue sets? We’ve all got one, lurking at the back of a cupboard waiting for just such weather as this. But the minute you think about inviting the neighbours round for a little après-ski without the skis, you won’t be able to find it.

The same goes for your thermals. You can make yourself later than ever for work turfing out your underwear drawers looking for them.

But up in Aviemore, the conditions are described as ‘near Alpine’ and the resort is enjoying a busy season – so I guess some areas of business are benefiting.

As a friend of mine said, however, describing Aviemore as ‘near Alpine’ is like describing Clacton on a sunny day as ‘near Mediterranean’.

Want a job done properly?

Some of my friends and family have been forced to work from home during the worst of the severe weather. From the email and phone traffic that has ensued, I deduce that not a great deal of work has been done.

But they all seem to have welcomed the opportunity to surf the net – well, that can feel like work, can’t it? And it certainly looks like you’re working if you’re staring at a screen, even if what’s on it is the contents of the Next directory.

One friend with internet time on her hands sent me the news story she’d read about ‘the best complaint in the world’.

I expect many of you will have heard or read about this indignant complaint from a Virgin Atlantic passenger perplexed by his in-flight meal on a flight from Mumbai to Heathrow.

The letter was a detailed and humorously comprehensive catalogue of grievances about the food, accompanied by photographic evidence.

It refers to ‘yellow shafts of sponge,’ a ‘cuboid of beige matter’ and a ‘crime-scene cookie’, none of which the complainant could recognise or indeed eat, describing himself as ‘the hungriest [he’d] been in his adult life’.

Perhaps my favourite part of the complaint came when the disgruntled man likened the revelation of his main course to opening a Christmas present only to discover “it’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing”.

It’s worth a read if you happen to be working from home. Clearly, it was highly effective as the man in question has since been offered the chance to select food and wines for future menus on Virgin flights.

Perhaps this could represent a new approach to job seeking complain about something you feel you could do better and hope for the chance to have a stab at it yourself.

Right, I’m off. I have a letter to write. Dear Gordon Brown…

Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels, Gillingham, Dorset