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I’m dreaming of a Wight Christmas

I’m dreaming of a Wight Christmas

And so this is Christmas. The perennial predictions are flying about on if it will be a white (or wight) Christmas or not? And here on the Island it’s not surprising as this time last year, and the previous year, it did snow – well, a bit before Christmas anyway…

To be precise, I woke up to a snow covered Isle of Wight on the 2nd December 2010. I know this as I’ve got a folder on my laptop full of beautiful photos of powder white hills and branches iced like sticky buns. Bleary eyed, dressing in record time, way before my children had had a chance to run out and spoil the freshly fallen snow, I got out, and trudge crunched through a silent world of free falling paper tissue flakes, armed with my camera and snapped away a thousand slightly overexposed photos. Later I returned and went out again with my children, again snapping away. And, as always, their antics gave me inspiration for a new children’s book.

Only the other day while I was at Newchurch school reading the now published book – Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day – to the children gathered around on the carpet, I asked them if they thought it would snow this Christmas. And to my surprise, hail stones clattered down at that moment. No snow showed though. Close, but no white cigar.

Any snow that remained was melting from an assortment of forlorn snowpeople (political correctness gone mad) bereft of eyes, carrot noses nibbled by hungry birds and jaunty hats heading south.

On the day I was writing this post, a few flakes of snow were spotted by the Wroxall Weather Centre – a professional weather centre serving the whole of the Isle of Wight – which at time of writing was forecasting 45% chance of snow but now it seems is sadly 0%. I also discovered I can be sure of knowing if it’s going to be snowing in my village of Newchurch as you can see live weather data, courtesy of Stuart Turrell, presented like a control panel in a Jules’s Verne inspired laboratory.

So what constitutes a snowy Christmas then? According to The Met Office: “…the definition used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets, is for a single snowflake (perhaps among a mixed shower of rain and snow) to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December at a specified location.” A single snowflake? Jeez, I know my children would be very unimpressed with that.

I’ve got photos taken on Christmas Eve 2010 that still show some snow on the ground, all be it slushy ice at Carisbrooke Castle, but unfortunately no snow actually fell on Christmas Day on the Island as far as I’m aware and if any did I think even the Island children were sick of it by then.

Any snow that remained was melting from an assortment of forlorn snowpeople (political correctness gone mad) bereft of eyes, carrot noses nibbled by hungry birds and jaunty hats heading south.

But how often is there actually a white Christmas? Well, I won’t bore you with stats quoted from the Met Office, but in a nutshell more than half of all Christmases should be “white” i.e. at least one snow flake observed on the 25th December! One interesting thing I learned was Christmas Day was brought back 12 days in 1752 following the change of the calendar, so it has made it less likely for a white Christmas now, as statistically more snow is likely to fall during January and February.

So, given this information, I say let’s move Christmas again! Some time at the end of January, so we can all benefit from buying cheaper Christmas presents in the sales and when we are at an utter low, plagued with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and longing for spring, a holiday and early retirement, we’ll all have a nice festival to cheer us up. We could call it Janmas! Then at least we might be in for a white one. Merry Christmas all – let’s hope it’s all white on wight this year, hey? Or maybe not.