CLIVE SMITH: It was Southsea not Val d'Isère

Oscar Wilde once condemned it as '˜the last refuge of the unimaginative' but there really is nothing we Brits love more than talking about the weather. It's up there with swigging tea and forming orderly queues when we want to get in somewhere.

Monday, 5th March 2018, 7:00 pm
Southsea not the French alps. Picture: Shaun Roster PPP-180203-141441001

It’s mad really when you think about it. It’s not as if we have tornados blowing houses and cattle all over the gaff, wild forest fires or the mercury dropping so low your breath freezes. Yes, we do get four seasons in one day but that can’t be the only reason for this quite odd national obsession.

The hysteria as the Beast from the East edged ever nearer is a fine example.

Portsmouth was told to be on lock down from 6pm and Southsea became a no-go zone because polar bears were predicted to surf in on icebergs and kill all the hipsters.

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There were even some lunatics going to the corner shop on skis wearing full ski attire. Get a grip! There was one inch of snow on the ground, you’re not in Val d’Isère, it’s Eastney and you look ridiculous.

I was ever so thankful for some life-saving tips I got TV as I was eating my Weetabix. The ‘expert’ advised us to put an extra layer of clothes on and have plenty of warm food and drink. Thank God for such valuable information – I had planned to go out in a string vest and then swan dive off the round tower for a brisk 30-minute dip in the Solent.

Temperatures dropped so low we had to put the fire on and the kids were even put to work attaching old tennis rackets to the bottom of my Chelsea Boots just so I could get to work. Some schools even closed before the snow arrived! The school day was over before the snow got here. I suppose we’ll be seeing schools closed when the weather gets too hot or it’s raining too heavily.

Some say it was good planning by the schools.

The cynical among us can smell a snow day... or a pub day.


I guess there can’t be much crime to investigate in Kingston at the moment.

PC Thomas Hooper was recently investigated after taking a tin of biscuits from the nick’s communal area. Apparently, it was a two-tier tin. How dare he!

The matter was referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards because of the ‘gravity of the incident’.

The gravity of it! What? It was a few jammy dodgers and a couple of custard creams.

Yes, you can argue stealing is stealing, but I hardly think this is the sort of thing that needs a police investigation. I’m sure taxpayers’ money could be spent better elsewhere.

Just give him a ticking off and get him to replace the tin.

However, if it had been a packet of hobnobs I’d be calling for a hanging.


Argentina has been puffing its chest out again. This time it’s caused a bit of a diplomatic row after its coastguard fired on a Chinese fishing boat illegally fishing in its waters before then embarking on an eight-hour chase across the Atlantic to capture it.

On the one hand, good on them.

Our waters are illegally fished and we don’t do much about it. I’m sure a bit of gunfire across the bow would make them think twice about nicking our fish, but, an eight-hour chase! Were they in a canoe?

I guess all the big words about taking back the Falklands are just that – I can’t see the anyone in the Royal Navy losing too much sleep about this.