Friday, 8 January 2010

I am not laughing at snow/Mother nature now

OK, I admit it – it was all my fault.

Two weeks ago, in a column in the Chronicle (which I didn't reprint here thankfully), I wrote a somewhat ‘sniffy’ article where I bemoaned the OTT British attitude to the snow.

I wondered why we all made such a fuss and treated the minor inconvenience of a few snowflakes like a national emergency. ‘Get a grip’ was the upshot of my comments.

Well, now I have paid the price for my flippancy about the power of nature.

For on the 'Big Bad Wednesday' I was forced to work from home as I was well and truly snowbound. My car was abandoned in the middle of my road having gone forward all of three feet after 30 minutes of clutch-bashing effort and public tranpsort was cancelled too.

Two days on and my car is where it started - in fact it has gone backwards. I managed to move it a little bit last night but it got stuck again so I had to reverse a bit downhill. And so now it is even further away from the Holy Grail of the clear road at the top of my cul de sac. I have literally gone six feet forward and nine feet back. I know what Gordon Brown must feel like now.

In truth, not a single car has been able to get out of my road since Big Bad Wednesday and so it has been public transport all the way since for me.

To be honest that hasn't necessarily been a bad thing. I have discovered, shock horror, that it IS possible to use public transport and realised just how wedded I am to my car. In the past couple of days I have done a fair bit of walking (30 minutes to the railway station for instrance) used a train, a replacement coach when the return train had the line closed and a bus. It has meant I have had to plan things better and think like a 'normal' non car-hugging commuter. That to be honest has probably been good for me in way - but I do miss that old car of mine.

Of course, there is still a British tendency to look for someone to blame when events like this happen but the truth is that is a fairly pointless exercise. Local councils really do try everything in their often limited powers to sort out the problems but Mother Nature is a powerful adversary. Sure, one can look enviously at countries like Sweden and Norway and say 'well, they cope all the time with this' but that is not comparing 'like with like' - they cope because this is a permanent part of their lives and they pay (literally) a heavy price to do so. Is this sort of 'whiteout' frequent enough to justify a massive financial outlay and a complete restructuring of the way we live? The answer is clearly no.

All we can now hope is that this snowy period ends quicker than it has done in other parts of the UK (it doesn't look like it though). And if it has done nothing it else it has taught me a powerful lesson – never, ever underestimate the elements.

1 comment:

ChrisCross said...

Getting your car stuck in the snow seems to be an exreme way of becoming acquainted with your neighbours.