MURDER IS EVERYWHERE—Sunday, 11th March 2018
Last week the UK had a bit of snow. If this was Canada, say, or the French Alps, or Moscow, it would have seemed an insignificant amount hardly worth mentioning.
We English, on the other hand, are never prepared for our weather.
In this case, it wasn’t simply snowfall that caused the trouble, but a combination of snow and wind. The snow landed, and then the wind swept it into drifts that blocked local roads and created utter chaos with supply lines and transport.
For two days, the village where I house- and cat-sit over the winter was more or less cut off, so the tiny village shop was raided for supplies vital to withstand this kind of siege—bread and milk, vegetables, soup, and chocolate. (All the major food groups).
And now the majority of the snow has gone, most people’s patience has run out altogether. It’s gone from a pristine white carpet to dirt-encrusted remnants by the sides of the road. They’ve had enough. It’s nearly Easter, and high time Spring was making its presence felt.
I am always fascinated by what happens when the normal order of things breaks down, even to a small degree. Two days, I concluded, was about the maximum length of time that most people’s patience could stand the disruption. Any longer than that and it went from novelty to serious inconvenience. A day or so off work was fine. More than that and deadlines would be missed, and the scramble to make up lost ground was not worth the enforced downtime.
This week’s Word of the Week is pusillanimous, meaning to show ignoble cowardice or contemptible timidity. It dates back to the 16th century and comes from the Latin pusillis, very weak or little, possibly connected to pullus, a young animal, from pau few or little, and animus, courage or spirit.