“Did you buy some extra flour and sugar,” I overheard the lady in front of me in the shop talking to her husband. “Yes, I also got some extra salt, vegeta and coffee,” added the husband, who was quite clearly agitated with his wife’s questioning. “I just heard on Radio Dubrovnik that the snow will continue for a few days more…so we don’t want to be without flour,” she added. I am not really sure what she was planning to do with so much flour, was she thinking to bake a snowmobile?!?
Yes, winter is coming…or rather winter is already here. Snow in Dubrovnik. Those words just don’t seem to go together. Snow in Dubrovnik seems like a heat wave in Siberia. Or a flood in the Sahara. But as I am writing this column the “white stuff” is swirling around my window like confetti at the biggest wedding of the year.
And the couple of pensioners in front of me were stocking up for the end of the world. As my mother-in-law always says “you’ll never be hungry if you have flour, oil and salt in the house.” I am not Jamie Oliver but I don’t really know what you can make with those three ingredients. But try telling that to these aged shoppers. She had enough flour in her trolley to fill the Rector’s Palace, I guess she was expecting the worse, to be snowed into her house until the mountain rescue dug her out. It seems a little strange writing again about snow…I mean I only did it last year.
I have been here twenty years and in that time it has snowed a grand total of four times…this being the fourth. So that means in the last two years it has snowed twice. Coincidence? Probably not. I don’t really believe in coincidences. I am more of the opinion that it is an effect of global warming. Little strange that global warming can cause snow…but it can. Just because some of us are suffering through a particularly cold and snowy winter doesn’t refute the fact that the globe is warming as we continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Of course I am quite used to snow in the winter. Pretty much every second year of my childhood was marked with snow…and I mean real snow. Of course being a child was great, sledging, snowmen, snowball fights, crunching our teeth through huge icicles…it was our winter wonderland. Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood. But then when you get a bit older and realise that you have obligations apart from just decorating snowmen the snow is quite frankly a pain in the arse. Well to be more precise the first three days are fun and then it is all about shovelling snow off your car, off the road and off just about everything.
It’s just what you get used to. And let’s face it people in Dubrovnik haven’t had a chance to get used to snow. I can never remember my mother stocking up on flour and oil like the end of the world was around the corner. In fact, we didn’t even really wear warm clothes, or gloves or scarves, we just got used to it. I remember once having to go to work early in the morning. We had a half glass front door at the time. I remember thinking why is the glass so bright in colour. But being half asleep I opened the door. Like in some cartoon I was greeted with a complete wall of snow; I mean right to the top of the door. And as I opened the door, and released the snows support, the whole wall fell into the house, turning me into a real life snowman in a flash. But even with that snow disaster I still dug out my car and drove to work, without winter tyres or snow chains.
Yes, surprisingly enough winter tyres and chains are not obligatory in the UK. In fact, I had never heard of winter tyres before I moved to Croatia. Which if you think about it is a little crazy. Of course I realise that by the time you read this text the snow will be melted and normal Dubrovnik winter time will be back…one day bura…the next jugo.
Snow just feels like an added bonus in Dubrovnik. And of course great business if you are the flour producing industry! “Snowing is an attempt of God to make the dirty world look clean,” once wrote a prophet. If that’s true he needs to send a lot, lot more.