South Wales Guardian Opinion

First published in

JUDGING by your responses, readers are clearly enjoying our features on the Big Freeze of ’63 when Britain was beset by record falls of snow.

At this rate our series will last as long as The Big Freeze itself, which saw the country shivering through Arctic temperatures right into the last week of March.

What stands out among these stories is the stoicism and good nature of people caught up in a winter against which all subsequent “big freezes”

are measured. Despite the appalling conditions, blackouts and water shortages they simply got on with it.

Why? Because many around at that period had – a comparatively short time previously – lived through the war and the long, hard years of rationing that followed. In short, they were accustomed to hardship.

And it’s probably fair to say the mining families of the Amman, Gwendraeth and Swansea valleys and the farming folk of the Towy Valley were not the kind of people likely to fazed by heavy falls of snow, even if the amounts were exceptional.

In those days far fewer people commuted to work, so travel chaos was far less than it would be today.

With outbreaks of extreme weather now becoming the norm, we wonder how today’s society would cope amid such conditions when a dearth of bread or a lack of milk in the local supermarket is enough to send most shoppers into a blind panic.

Sooner or later, one feels, Mother Nature will indeed put the fortitude of our current generation to the test…

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