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Big freeze and cold comforts

Chris Jackson | 12:00 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

Ice crystals frozen to a window

Ice crystals frozen to my window

So there's no sign the cold snap is easing its grip on the North of England. It looks like we're going to have to snuggle up under our duvets for the rest of the week.

There was one upside of the night when the temperatures plunged severely. Ice crystals which fell onto my windows grew into rather beautiful formations as you can see above.

The beauty of the wintry scenes however can delude us and mask the very real difficulties and dangers the cold brings. Sadly the elderly are at particular risk and the ice and snow have claimed two lives in Cumbria and in Darlington a pensioner died while apparently clearing snow from his home.

In the latest programme I have been looking at the problems caused by the big freeze. I ended up wandering through the frozen rutted tracks of a Northumberland field to watch farm workers trying to pick leeks out of the ground by hand. It is back-breaking and even with gloves on you can imagine how unpleasant a task that is in the bitter cold.

They'd spent the previous day just clearing snow off the vegetables before there was any hope of getting at them. The harvesting machine couldn't cope with the conditions at all.

I won't be taking what's on my dinner plate for granted any more.

In my previous blog I was pleased to report how the last episode of Inside Out might actually have saved somebody from a really nasty wintry accident.

If you have any Winter's Tales of your own you'd like to share then please add your comments.

Archive picture of Robbs of Hexham shop front

Pic courtesy of Robbs family

Also in this week's show:

We look at what happened to all the old Woolies stores in the North East & Cumbria. The BBC commissioned research into the state of our High Streets and you can read about the results on the BBC News website.

You can also get more on retail analyst Graham Soult's take on the state of our high streets on his blog.

Our final film on the show this week follows the man who thinks he can succeed in making a go of Robbs of Hexham where others have failed.

We've some nice archive and extra video footage on this shopping institution

You can see this episode on December 6 2010 at 7.30pm on BBC One.


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