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Why can we no longer weather winter storm?

The almost complete stoppage of national life occasioned by the current smattering of snow is scarcely believable. When I was a child, our schools were kept open by every janitor, able-bodied teacher and even the school dinner ladies being set to the task of digging out the playground with old-fashioned shovels.

The same "all hands to the deck" attitude applied to airports, where the general manager was to be seen setting an example with his spade.

Not only are we now far too reliant on mechanical means of snow removal, but the adoption of the metric system has brought a touch of fatalism to how people here regard low temperatures.

Zero degrees Celsius is now seen as a sign that civilisation must be temporarily suspended, whereas 32 degrees Fahrenheit never had that effect.

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS

Edinburgh

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