Britain is in the grip of an Arctic freeze, says just about every local and national news bulletin. On the BBC’s Newsnight, the great Pax-man informed us that yesterday some 2.6 million Londoners skived off work, no doubt physically unable to prise open their frozen front doors, and with trains across the land grinding to a halt owing to the presence of crystallising dew on the lines.
Outside of the big smoke, the peasants of middle England are this week suffering temperatures as low as –7 degrees, with … wait for it … a windchill of at least –10 degrees owing to the “Arctic air” blowing in from northern Russia and Scandinavia. Oh my!
But hang on a minute. How is it that your average low-fat Nordic type can happily roll naked in the snow at –20 degrees following a 10 kilometre run along a frozen river, and then a moderately warm sauna? Or manage to get a diesel engine running at –35 degrees with the aid of a small amount of petrol mixed into the tank?