December 1st, 2010
07:56 AM ET

Let it Snow... But Spare Me the Sheep

With not a little smugness I have sat in the hazy yet clement climes of Hong Kong, watching our esteemed colleagues at the CNN International Weather Center report on the unyielding snow that's dropping on the heads and homes of my friends and family back in Scotland.

But I have one teensy issue.

Why must our nation, birthplace of the Enlightenment and blessed with vibrant, cosmopolitan cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, be represented by pictures like the one below?

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that Scotland is largely rural and that sheep do exist in considerable numbers. But I often wish we could treat CNN's global audience to something a little more stirring.

Imagine my joy yesterday when I learned that the pictures used to portray the week's wintry weather had changed. I sat excitedly as Ivan Cabrera told us how the latest snowfall had left schools shut, homes cut off and cars stranded. (In retrospect, maybe 'excitedly'  is the wrong word to use. Sorry, Scotland.) But then I saw this:

No longer was my nation a land of fields and farm animals. It had become a place where clearly unhinged individuals frolic in their underwear while risking hypothermia. Another sublime depiction to transmit to the world.

I have trawled the CNN image library and – while horses and highland cattle are certainly more prevalent than modern metropolises – I wanted to find something to redress the balance. So here is a perfectly pretty shot devoid of sheep or simpletons, showing that Scotland – in addition to rural charm – has roads and electricity. Rant over. And Merry Christmas to one and all.

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