The country is still paralysed by sub-freezing conditions and, in places, heavy snowfalls.
Â Horrendous stories prevail of people who being stuck in traffic jams on motorways Â for seven or eight hours or overnight at airports, sleeping on the floor with little or no hot food or drink available. ( I wonder how much petrol a car uses when it is only Â idling – in order to keep the heater running?) . Most of our airports are closed, including the busiest in the world, Heathrow, so it’s pretty much chaos all round. Every time this happens we are asked the question as to whether we should prepare for such eventualities or, as they do not occur every single year, just put up with the chaos for a week or two, on a one-to-one basis. Having said that the cost to the country must be enormous. For example, thousands of small businesses must have been heavily hit yesterday in the last Saturday before Christmas.
Â Similarly hit have been the big shopping malls – for example, Brent Cross, one of our largest was closed all day. (One estimate I heard today was Â£1 billion per day, which in the these tough times we can ill afford)
Other countries, such as Sweden, with which I am a little familiar, having stayed there on a number of occasions with Michael, my Australian doctor friend, copes with precisely this sort of problem every year, as a matter of form. Indeed, I understand that every vehicle has to fit snow tyres on 1 September, each year, or face a heavy fine if they are caught without having. done so. As a person who suffers terribly from the cold I was amazed at how I coped with minus 20Â°C in Sweden, without feeling the tiniest bit cold. Whereas here, in the UK any Â sub-freezing temperature seemed to go right through me. I think it’s something to do with the greater humidity in this country. Mind you, it did get down to -26Â°C in one part of Scotland last night-pretty chilly!
Today is meant to be our neighbourhood Christmas party which is held each year in the village hall. Although we all live within the space of a couple of hundred yards most of us do not see each other from one year to the next. However we are ostensibly a Neighbourhood Watch, keeping an eye on each other’s properties wheN one or other of us is away. The idea of the get-together at Christmas was, of course, to be friendly, andÂ to familiarised ourselves with each other. Everyone takes some sort of contribution, a bottle of wine, a plate of Â sausage rolls or home-made mince pies, and so on and a jolly time is had by all. However with the roads Â silent through lack of traffic and a few inches of snow covering every surface under which there is undoubtedly treacherous ice,â€™ my lovelyâ€™ has made it clear that she has no intention of pushing me down in the wheelchair, that is even if the event is still on. (Apparently it was on, but heaven knows how many people managed to get there, the icy roads were lethal)