The winters of my childhood

In the 1970s, I remember proper snow in Hampshire, England. We would go out for walks and the snow would be ankle-deep (on me, a child) and collected in drifts against the fences. The snow only lasted a few days, but when it came, it blanketed the countryside in white and transformed it. I remember building a snowman in the back garden for quite a few years.

We didn’t have central heating in our house, only storage heaters, so I remember cold winter mornings when there were frost swirls on the inside of the window pane, and it was so cold that I would change out of my pyjamas and into my clothes under the bedcovers.

One year in the early 1970s, it actually snowed in May, and I remember going down to the park and finding big snowdrifts there, and jumping into them.

In 1986, I moved to Lancaster for university, and even there, there was not that much snow. I moved to Scotland in 1994, where there was definitely proper snow which lasted a few weeks. But nothing like living in Canada, where the snow stays on the ground for months on end.

But I mention the snow of my childhood in southern England as one small piece of evidence towards the greater picture that we all know is there: global heating. Everywhere is getting considerably warmer at an alarming rate.

Check out this XKCD cartoon showing the rate of anthropogenic (human-made) global heating compared to the very gradual changes over millions of years.

See the rate of climate heating in your area using Show Your Stripes, which shows the average temperatures of summer and winter in your area over the whole period since the data has been recorded. The featured image for this post is the global data from Show Your Stripes.

A history of British winters, 1600 to 2010

Show your stripes data for the UK, 1884 to 2020s

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3 thoughts on “The winters of my childhood

  1. Our heating was powered by a back boiler when I was young, so if you wanted warmth or hot water you had to get up, light the living room fire, and wait a long smidge.

    Happy my life isn’t uphill both ways but quite apart from the aching wonkiness of the climate, part of me misses the viscerality.

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