BRING ON SPRING - AND BE GRATEFUL WE AREN’T IN SIBERIA!
Winter is a very busy time for me, much busier than the summer. Post mortems can be delayed as a backlog builds up and sometimes funerals have to be postponed because of poor weather. It's the same for other funeral directors and cemeteries, all of us dealing with more deaths than usual and fewer daylight hours.
On the shortest day of the year, December 21st, there aren’t even eight hours of daylight. Funerals can only take place in winter until 3pm or so as graves have to be filled in before it gets dark. The last three months have been really hectic, particularly with many elderly people dying, largely due to flu and pneumonia. I have barely stopped. But I’m grateful I don’t live in Oymyakon, Russia, known as the coldest inhabited place on the planet. On average, it’s -58. -58!! But in 1933 the temperature apparently dropped to -90!
A few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle, this corner of Siberia sees residents keeping their cars running all the time and warming the ground with a bonfire for days before they can bury their dead. It takes a couple of days to travel by car from the nearest big city -- a mere 576 miles away. For much of the winter there is only three hours of daylight. Crops don't grow as the ground is frozen so people eat things like raw flesh shaved from frozen fish.
And I was thinking my life was tricky in the winter.
Spring is due to start on March 20th. But compared to Siberia, it’s roasting in York. It's all a matter of perspective!
Until next time