As snow sweeps across the northern United Kingdom, Belfast is getting it particularly tough.
Drifts of snow have swathed across the city and beyond making some roads impassable and affording kids everywhere an impromptu day off school due to forced closures.
The Irish Football Association is hoping the Group F qualifying game can be staged on Saturday but more bad weather is forecast.
We, here in NI, are scratching our heads as we had hoped that spring was on its way, I can’t even see the spring lambs that should be bouncing around the hills, they’re well and truly camouflaged, and in fact they’re probably struggling to raise their heads above the snow that’s settled on the fields.
The Russians must also be scratching their heads – I’m sure they are bemused for entirely different reasons as they play games in snowy conditions, often worse than this, all year round.
As the ‘Union Flag Protests’ continue in Belfast, although not with the intensity in which they began just before Christmas, the Northern Ireland politicians have been at pains to say, time and time again, that Northern Ireland is ‘open for business’ – not today, I’m afraid, a case in point being the postponement of this qualifying match.
I fear the match will not go ahead tomorrow which leaves the IFA and FIFA with a scheduling headache that they could no doubt do without.
And as for the Russian team and their travelling supporters – I suggest they find one of Belfast’s many watering holes that have a nice open fire and crack open a bottle of vodka.
They can spend the evening enjoying the craic with the locals and enjoy a bit of culture.
Although, this is Northern Ireland and culture in itself can vary widely, depending on where it is in the city that you happen to be, and who it is you happen to be talking to.
So while NI is effectively ‘closed for business’ today, you can be sure that the pubs are not and there is fun to be had in the city that woke up to a winter wonderland this morning.
image: © PolandMFA