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19 December 2010

Posted by DMC on 19 December 2010 in Diary |

The country is still paralysed by sub-freezing conditions and, in places, heavy snowfalls.
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 Horrendous stories prevail of people who being stuck in traffic jams on motorways  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  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.

 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 £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 20°C in Sweden, without feeling the tiniest bit cold. Whereas here, in the UK any  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 -26°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, and  to familiarised ourselves with each other. Everyone takes some sort of contribution, a bottle of wine, a plate of  sausage rolls or home-made mince pies, and so on and a jolly time is had by all. However with the roads  silent through lack of traffic and a few inches of snow covering every surface under which there is undoubtedly treacherous ice,’ my lovely’ 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)

4 Comments

  • Joan says:

    Hi Myles,
    It’s amazing how mixed up everything is. We have maybe an inch of snow here in Toronto, but the airport is in a mess because the flights to Europe can’t take off because they can’t land on the other side of the ‘pond’.
    I fly out to Kimberley tomorrow and I understand that there is lots of snow there. I hope to do some cross country skiing – the ski trails are only 10 minutes from the house.
    Love to you and Alice.

  • Christine says:

    Having moved from UK to northern British Columbia in 1986 I discovered that being in -20°C in a very dry atmosphere was definitely preferable to -4°C in the damp conditions of UK. We would think nothing of going out cross-country skiing or dog walking or even playing hockey on the frozen rinks that lined every street. The dry snow is almost a pleasure to shovel as opposed to that amazingly HEAVY stuff of UK days. The stories coming out of the UK are horrendous to say the least. I am sure your “lovely” is perfectly correct not wishing to push a wheelchair in those conditions. Merry Christmas to you both.

  • DMC says:

    Thanks Christine and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours too. (See tomorrow’s entry for what you might have missed in Roman times!)

    MArk

  • DMC says:

    Joan. Your message about the snow conditions in Toronto came through today again, for some obscure reason. However I’m pleased to say that the snow and ice seems to be a thing of the past for the moment and life is getting back to normal. Today is the last public holiday (in lieu of New Year’s Day) and from tomorrow thing should resume the normal pattern.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family — we certainly did.

    Alice joins me in wishing you and yours all the very best for the New Year.

    MArk

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