Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Thirty centimetres and falling.

It has snowed since dawn and up here in North Yorkshire the world is more or less at a standstill. The farmer has done the essential work of feeding the animals and has now come inside to sit by the stove and do a jig-saw. Each time there is a burst of strong wind the snow blows into drifts several feet high.

We are warm and comfortable and well-fed - we can ask for no more. Compared with many people and many places in the world we have 'never had it so good', or so they say. "They" - usually the Lord Young's of this world, who themselves are not short of a bob or two - seem intent upon telling us all how lucky we all are. One thing is for sure - I would not wish to be a young person starting out on my career today.

Students are leaving University with a huge debt round their necks before they even begin saving for real life. And those who didn't go to University but went straight into work have fared no better.

I have an instance of this at present when a close relative, a lovely hard-working lad who has never had a day out of work since he left school, who has studied for a career and become well-qualified in his field, has suddenly decided that he and his partner would like to set up home together.

When I was at this stage we saved up £400 and spent the lot on an old building, trusting to get a grant to convert it into a cottage. Everything went according to plan and we started life together with our baby son in a cottage in the country which we rapidly paid for, giving us a foot firmly on the housing ladder. And we never looked back, as they say.

But now you can't do that. However hard you have saved it is virtually impossible for ordinary working people to save up enough for a deposit for a house - mortgage lenders demand so much more as a start these days. So my young relatives are having to rent a house and it needs to be up here - in a tourist area - to be near their work. The rent is going to be over £500 per month - upon which they have to add their utility bills before they even begin to save. For them the future looks bleak.

And then Ann Widdecombe, not content with her "dancing" routine each Saturday night (if you are a US reader, lucky you to not have to endure her display in order to see other, well-rehearsed characters) reverts to being a politician and complains that employers are to be asked to provide places for mothers to feed their babies at work. She speaks of young women who have decided "on their responsibility, presumably, to have a child." She seems to me to speak with contempt about young women who, these days, are trying to keep a home, bring up children, and create a life for themselves. I am sure a lot of those young women she speaks of so scathingly would willingly stay at home and bring up their children, providing they had enough money coming into the household to pay the bills.

All this becomes all the more in the headlines in a week when the snow is so bad and the cold so intense (mninus twenty something in Scotland tonight) that household bills for heating are set to go through the roof.

Keep warm. I took the picture above out of the front door just a minute ago - it is still snowing.


mrsnesbitt said...

The picture is repeated here pat I can assure you About half an hour ago the sun was shining - yet within a matter of minutes the horrible grey heavy sky was back and lo and behold it started snowing again. We had a delivery of oil yesterday - £250+ and coal today - £90 so we have warmth I cooked well using braising beef & mince so I know Jon is kept well fed so he can come home of an evening and have peace and quiet, a good meal and be nice and warm. Sufficiency - contentment - priceless
Keep warm - good to talk to you yesterday - good neighbours and all that jazz! lol!

CHummelKornell said...

Weaver, Your comments on the state of affairs seems to be echoed throughout the "free" world. Economies have been destroyed at the hands of free-wheeling politicians and only the people seem to be suffering. All this as our climate begins to change around the world. I say we best brace ourselves for things to come. BTW, God bless the young women who take on child rearing and jobs while making a home. Times have changed and not so much for the better. Stay warm and enjoy your jigsaw.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

You seem to be snow-bound in a real Winter Wonderland. Sure sets a nice mood for Christmas preparations.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Weaver,
I hope you are enjoying your enforced leisure to enjoy looking at the snow!
we have wild winds and rain today but very mild.
I'm up state looking after Henry for the day!


Gwil W said...

Snow plough machine passing here every couple of hours. I guess your farmer has to do it all for himself.

Granny Sue said...

My goodness. We have a tiny little bit of snow here but it is cold, cold--a true-to-form start for December.

We're forunate this year to have our free gas finally installed. No firewood to haul this winter, unless we want a fire in the fireplace. Assuming of course, that the gas doesn't freeze off or something like that. I would not want to face winter knowing that my heating bills would be astronomical. Even wood heat kept that particular wolf from our door.

angryparsnip said...

Beautiful photo !

We have had some very early cold weather here... Hard freeze on Monday and Tuesday night but toward the end of the week 70 day 40 night more like we should be having... Our cold weather is in January and February when our rains and snow comes.
keep safe and warm...

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

Your garden looks very beautiful but that same beauty makes life so difficult. I have never understood why the government hasn't stepped in to stop rents and house prices from rising to such impossible heights. Young people have no chance as you say, and even sellers don't gain when they have to pay for another property. Perhaps it's time for another 'Peasants' Revolt'!

Arija said...

If you are getting such deep snows already, I am starting to be a little concerned about spring floods once the melt sets in.
We just had an utterly unseasonable downpour. It felt like being in the tropics, over 30mm in an hour! To me, in the driest state in the driest continent, rain is always a blessing yet I pity our neighbour with his cherries bursting just as they are within days of picking. He lost 80% of his crop last year and this is really a blow.

Your household sound so cosy with the farmer puzzling away in the warmth. -:)

Tess Kincaid said...

Oh, my-my-my! I am suffering from some huge snow envy here!

(all three of my children have staggering college debts)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Would I be right in thinking that Anne Wide Combe is a childless spinster?

A house used to be (and still should be)roughly a years salary. They should be considered as homes, a basic human right, and not cash cows.

Have to say , despite the hardship, I'm still lovin the snow!

Rusty said...

Heavy rain most of today around Montreal Canada. +10C warm for December, but a dusting of snow tonight. It's been a very wet fall season in this neck of the woods. (In a manner of speaking). My idea of snow for winter would have it arrive around the 15th of December, and depart just after New Years day. (Wishful thinking). ATB!

Ash said...

oooo.... did you catch me on a nerve with this one!! I made the decision more than 17 years ago that if I was to have children I wanted, no it was needed, for me to be an 'at home Mum'. Because of that, and my then husband working for love rather than cash in the horticultural world, we were forever so close to the no money line. However, I believe there are two as well balanced kids as I could manage now trying to make their way in this 'wonderful' society of ours!!! Because of that decision, and the stupidity of my husbands actions this last year - I found myself basically destitute and struggling to find my way. I have to acknowledge the value of having a state system to back me up right now but I object to how it works against a woman who follows what should be a very natural choice to bring up children and neither acknowledges that choice and sees its value, nor serves to support that woman because the demands on poor wages of the partner leave no room for manouevre. Throughout my time of child rearing, which is still ongoing as it always will be, I have taken on some more mundane part-time work shall we say over the years, but this gives no sound basis financially it merely keeps the wolf from the door. Progressive western world, hah!!!
OK, rant over for the moment, wishing you all well in this fowl but very beautiful weather and may you all be able to keep warm. Regards.

Bill said...

And it's still snowing now.

AW is trying the Tory 1980s ploy of when the going gets tough, blame (and start knocking) the most vulnerable.

It seemed to work then. Apparently everything was the fault of trade unionists, the unemployed, single mothers, etc.

I don't think people swallow that nonsense these days. It's fashionable to say the last Labour govt "could have done better" (although Brown will go down in history as the man who had the foresight to keep us out of the Euro), but the fact is that our current ills are the fault of the super rich.

ArtPropelled said...

What a good excuse to read by the fire.... or stove.

Karen said...

Beautiful snowfall, but I'm so glad it hasn't hit here yet.

I agree with your assessment of things. I feel for young people starting out and worry about what sort of world my grandchildren are inheriting.

Titus said...

Good post, Weaver. With two in their twenties, and the small ones, I do worry about what exactly the world is saying their value is.
No snow here, incredibly, but it is minus 20. Fire lit at 9am for last week.

Rarelesserspotted said...

Great post with lots of talking points... Two of my three sons are saddled with uni debts :( fortunately not as much as many I've heard of but bad enough. My £700 in the building society (deposited with the odd fiver my parents could afford throughout my childhood) paid the deposit for my first house in 1979!
I can't see the day, yet, when my 24 and 22 year old will leave home, even though they both have jobs.
Ms Widdecombe needs to be out of 'Strictly' as well as politics as soon as practically possible.

BT said...

What an amazing amount of snow you have had. My daughter in Chesterfield had about the same amount. I agree with you entirely about how hard it is for youngsters today. Jim's 3 all now own a property but one daughter isn't able to move up in the ladder. She has a one bedroom flat which is far too small for her and her husband and son but they cannot get a mortgage without a huge deposit. They are actually living in our house at the moment, which is empty and has a lot of space but they can't do that forever. It is all very worrying.