Monday, January 6, 2014

Polar Vortex

The English are famous for being unable to conduct any discourse whatsoever without a nod to the weather, and as such they have an entire coded language for conveying weather-related information in such a way as to be comprehensible only to other English people. It wouldn’t do for the foreigners to be given any advantage when it comes to describing current conditions or predicting future ones.

Anyone who has spent any time (at any time of the year) in England will soon surmise that this obsession has arisen from the sheer sameness of the weather; it’s all degrees of the same shade. The jet stream has kept our little island protected from any major atmospheric events which would really challenge the vocabulary.

Looks cold in Fahrenheit

So how would an English person describe the Polar Vortex currently beggaring the American lexicon?

“It’s a bit nippy,” they might say. “There’s a touch of frost in the air.” With air temperatures in the minus teens, they might say it’s “decidedly chill.” The wind drives those numbers down to where it can be “downright brisk.”

You might find yourself advised to “pull your hat tight and button up,” or to “put on a cardie.” If you have a particularly old-fashioned wardrobe you might “doff your woolens.”

Looks even colder in Celcius

Of course, the English language wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for the rapid integration of new words and phrases into the lexicon. An English person might borrow the name for the weather condition and play with it. Thus one could conceive of putting on a nice anorak made from Polar Vortex; having a spot of bother with one’s Polar Vortex in the morning when it won’t start; or it being so cold the air hits you right in the Polar Vortex. A conversation would be so terribly dull that you get sucked into a Polar Vortex, or you could find yourself at the back of a queue so long you have discovered a new Polar Vortex.


The English seek relief from the cold by drinking a hot cup of tea (with a biscuit), wiggling their toes in front of a fire (or two-bar heater), and cuddling up with a hottle-bottle (hot water bottle). A hot bath might be called for.

If that doesn’t suffice, you could always just fly to the Costa del Sol and sip a pint at a bar overlooking the sea. 

No comments:

Post a Comment