Letter: Joys of a frozen New Year

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The Independent Online
Sir: How glad I am to have missed the annual British freeze-up, with its misery and chaos, by going abroad for the New Year. To some sunny clime? No, to Russia.

Here, nobody and nothing was fazed by the temperature, which regularly descended below -20C at night. Long-distance buses chugged steadily along snowy country roads, airports stayed open and in our wooden village house, two splendid traditional stoves kept us deliciously warm. I won't go on about the pristine snow, pure air, vodka-laced picnics, merry New Year masquerades, or too many other people might want to join us next year.

Were there no disadvantages? Well, yes - it's rather icy around the well where we get water, and the unheated outhouse toilet is a touch chilly for sensitive parts. But this morning, when I woke up shivering in my modernised British centrally-heated home I was no longer sure which country has the real advantage in winter.

S'novim godom! Happy New Year!