What a difference a week makes

Since moving to Cardiff (in actual Wales, not New South Wales) last year, I have stopped really paying attention to the weather forecast. After ambitiously trying to leave my raincoat behind and getting unexpectedly saturated on my short ride to work once, I have realised that I’m better off just wearing it every day because it is always rainy (yes, I should have expected that, I know).

So when storm Emma dumped a load of snow on Cardiff, it was a complete surprise to me. I have been sent home from school in Australia due to heat, but never have I experienced a snow day before, and thanks to Emma I got to have two!

But what does all this have to do with sustainability, I hear you ask.

Last Friday no one could use their cars. It lasted just one day until the roads were cleared and the temperatures began to rise on Saturday, but it was a magical day. The streets were alive, not with cars racing along, but with people. As most workplaces were closed, my housemates and I huddled in our front room (the warmest room the the house), working from home. From there we could see people wandering past, dragging sledges, chatting to neighbours and generally just chilling out rather than rushing from one activity to the next as they normally might. There were no worries of a car coming along, so children (and let’s be honest, Australian “adults”) frolicked in the streets.

When we ventured out in search of food (because we thought it was a joke when everyone started panic-buying bread and milk on Wednesday), the only shops that were open were those that are locally owned. The larger chain supermarkets remained closed, which meant the local grocer where we buy our fruit and veg was absolutely bustling. We managed to find some bread at a local deli, and for everything else we just ate what was already in the cupboards and fridge (the best way to reduce food waste!).


On the way home after a successful shopping trip to buy vegies and bread (all local and completely packaging-free!). Also that car is not going anywhere…
By Saturday, at least in central Cardiff, the snow had started to turn to slush and noisy, dirty cars ruled the roads again. Just a week later, those magical days feel distant already as the hustle and bustle of work and other activities returned to normal.

Of course, not being able to use the roads caused havoc for emergency services and those with limited mobility (and that is definitely not a good thing!). But for the rest of us, it was an enforced exercise in slowing down and smelling the daffodils. ​

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