Springtime distractions

When people ask me why I live in Britain, I tell them it’s for the wonderful weather. Of course they usually react with disbelief, but here’s news of the climate in which I grew up (via Radio Canada International):

People in southern Alberta Sunday [27 April 2003] continued to mop up heavy, wet snow after a record-breaking spring blizzard. As much as 30 to 60 centimetres of snow in some areas Saturday left people battling slick roads, power failures, cancelled flights and back-breaking shovelling. Calgary and the surrounding area got blasted with snow throughout the entire day Saturday. The snowfall amount was a record for the date since Environment Canada began recording weather 118 years ago. The storm stranded hundreds of travellers, closed highways, toppled trees and knocked out power to thousands of homes. Two Calgary men, aged 58 and 62, died from heart attacks while shovelling. In all, paramedics responded to six patients suffering such attacks while digging out from under the blizzard. Snow fell as far north as Grande Prairie and heavy snowfall warnings were in effect Sunday night for most of central and north-western Alberta, including the Edmonton area. Forecasters were calling for 10 to 15 centimetres.

It’s on record as having snowed in Calgary in every month of the year. I have even experienced snow in August in the Rocky Mountains to the west of the city. I’ll take Britain’s milder climate over western Canada’s extremes any day.

As it happens, we’ve had fantastic weather in the UK this spring. The gardening correspondent of the Financial Times recently described it as “divine” and the myriad of statistics produced by the Met Office confirms the perception that it’s been a beautifully distracting spring.

That’s partly why I haven’t written much in this virtual space in April. It’s been beautiful, and I’ve been busy tackling real world pursuits.

New words of war

Now that the war with Iraq is well under way, a number of news organisations have published guides to the new military jargon that has inevitably arrived. The BBC has E-cyclopedia’s words of war and the Guardian has The language of war.

However, I can’t help publishing my own list of neologisms with their real meanings as follows:

  • Coalition of the willing: a euphemism for sex between consenting adults.
  • Decapitation strike: occurs in baseball when a player fails to hit the ball, but hits the pitcher instead.
  • Shock ‘n Awe: a Grammy Award-winning female Rhythm & Blues singer from the US.

If I find any more, I’ll let you know.