Other nations laugh at how we struggle in cold weather

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Looking at the weather forecast for the next few weeks, it seems there is some pretty fresh stuff on its way.

A selection of the more disposable national newspapers have run scaremongering-style headlines pretty much proclaiming the beginning of the end – ‘Ice Age Fore!’ etc.

Now I actually enjoy the cold weather; looking out to sea on a cold, crisp, blue sky morning is up there with a pleasant summer’s day.

But our Britishness in dealing with cold weather is recognised and laughed at internationally.

I lived near Calgary in Canada for a couple of years, where the weather is only a couple of degrees short of being ludicrous.

In the depths of winter, if you walked outside the water on your eyeballs would start to freeze.

We learned that at night the clever thing was to plug our car into the mains in our house.

A slow trickle of electricity through a short wire would prevent the oil freezing in the engine and ensure that the car would fire up in the morning.

Out on the road you’d know if another foreigner was at the wheel by the way the forgotten cable flex was still attached, throwing off sparks as it was dragged down the highway.

My next-door neighbour was a tough old Canadian with a penchant for chewing tobacco.

His teeth looked like caramelised sweetcorn and his breath was akin to an ashtray in a damp 1982 Ford Cortina.

When the really cold weather kicked in, rest assured he’d be rattling at the door, checking if we were okay.

He’d inquire if we had enough supplies and if we’d be able to get about all right on our own.

He was in his late 60s, we were in our mid-20s.

But he was concerned because we’re Brits; as a nation we tend to deal with snow and ice like a fish would deal with a bicycle.

I’m not sure just how cold it’s going to get in this country.

But for the record, a Neil Diamond CD case just doesn’t hold up as an ice-scraper below minus 12.