Miss W’s blog: Seeking the beast from the east
‘Much of Europe is colder than the Arctic!’ scream the headlines this week. Or ‘Beast from the east savages Europe!’ is another of my favourites. While the mainstream media is portraying the current burst of near-freezing air originating from Siberia as either life threatening or fairytale-esque – both of which are warranted descriptions – I can’t help but feel Ibiza has been left out from this whole ‘Europe is blanketed in snow’ affair.
While most of my fellow islanders are grateful to skip the cold, the grey, the wet and the snow (and are probably groaning at my wish for the beast from the east to cast its spell over the white isle), there are a small percentage of Ibiza residents (me included of course) who would love to experience a mini-blizzard, to have the chance to have a snowball fight with our friends or co-workers, to see the iconic skyline of Dalt Vila covered in a powdery white layer of snow or to race sleds down the drawbridge. And above all, build a snowman!
We’re so blessed (and generally quite smug) to have over 300 days of sunshine here in our little micro-climate, that I just think it would be nice to experience the polar opposite (excuse the pun) of our regular weather conditions every now and again. Our version of Snowmageddon this week was simply a night with a very light sprinkling of snowflakes in the north, icy lawns and windscreens in the mornings, a day of crazy hailstorms and then a day where (gasp!) temps went down to as low as six degrees Celcius. Hardly enough to make headlines (though it did of course – our local newspapers jumping at the story!).
I must admit, it does still feel very wintry to me. I am currently sitting here shivering next to my heater but when I checked my trusty weather app, I discovered it’s still a very, very mild 15 degrees outside. Old Dalt Vila homes like mine were definitely not built to withstand the cold and damp so it often feels a few degrees colder indoors (which is a godsend in summer!), and realistically my winter wardrobe consists of little more than a light coat, a few woolly jumpers and some scarves and beanies that were really purchased more for the sake of fashion than protection from the elements. But I would be the first person to layer on each and every item of winter clothing I own if it meant I could frolic in my own plaza in the snow!
Meanwhile, over the pond in the UK, it seems the entire country has come to a standstill. Schools are closed, offices are telling employees to work from home, flights are grounded, roads are closed, trains are cancelled, delivery services are delayed – now I’m no weather expert, but given that this cold spell has been predicted for some time, I am surprised that a nation full of people who have no problem functioning in pouring, hammering rainstorms on a regular basis can’t deal with the arrival of a snow. There must be ways to prepare for it – after all, if life couldn’t continue during snowstorms, how would anyone ever travel to Iceland? Talk about a #snowverreaction.
Jokes aside, in some parts of Europe, this cold snap is serious stuff, particularly for those who are sleeping rough and it’s amazing to see communities and governments coming together to take care of those in need of shelter. If only these emergency shelters could remain in operation all winter long, not just for the week of a cold snap. Just like any other major destination around the world, Ibiza too has a homeless population and while six degrees may not seem that cold to those of us snuggling up with their cats by a heater indoors, just imagine being outdoors all night long and facing the elements when you’re not dressed for it and have no shelter. It’s this time of year surely all of us living in Ibiza can donate some blankets or old winter clothes to someone in need. And speaking of cats… don’t forget to bring your pets indoors if the temps looks set to go low again. They may be covered in fur, but they are still susceptible to freezing.
According to the aforementioned trusty weather app, the beast from the east looks like it’s sticking around for the rest of the week. For anyone looking to escape the adverse weather conditions in ‘most’ of Europe during this time, the forecast here in Ibiza looks steady at a daily average of between lows of 11 degrees and highs of 18 degrees, with the sun ready to pop out from behind the clouds tomorrow too. Or you could just head to the Arctic Circle, where a ‘heatwave’ has reportedly seen it become much warmer than parts of England and Ireland! Obviously, a little getaway is only going to be possible if you’re not snowed in, so it may be time to think (and book!) fast…