Ooh It’s Chilly Outside
Along with most of the UK I woke up to a very snowy scene this morning. One thing I love about snow is that it brings out the kid in most people. Unfortunately for me I had to go to work but on the upside it was decided we could leave at 3pm which was nice. What I find funny is how we as a nation grind to a halt when weather hits the extreme and ‘big freeze’, as this is being called, seems to cause more havoc than most weathers.
I understand why this happens as aside from perhaps northern Scotland most of England and Wales rarely see continuous snowfall. What’s disappointing however is that we never seem properly prepared. Many councils and local authorities are reporting grit shortages or in some cases that they’ve completely ran out. Before Christmas there was plenty of drama on the Eurostar caused by the weather which was fortunately resolved before we departed. The main issue for the roads is that the grit we use is no longer stock piled but also that the gritting lorries are rarely on standby as we choose to trust forecasting which while helps isn’t 100%. Bristol for example was caught out just before Christmas because as far as the forecast said, we weren’t due any snow.
I know that it’s expensive to keep lorries on standby and drivers out at the wee small hours but then again they get paid more as, like refuse workers, it’s not exactly a desirable job to some people. However with clear roads people can get to work, lorries can reach their destinations and the industries that drive Britain’s economy can keep ploughing on despite the weather. Now I appreciate that even with all the preparation it can still be dangerous and we can’t make every road clear but reading about people trapped/stranded on various roads is a sad thing to read. I feel lucky that I work so close to home that, even if I did have to abandon the car, I can still make it home within the hour. Schools also suffer when snowy weather comes around. When I was at school in North Yorkshire I can remember having several snow days as many of the schools’ pupils lived in the Moors and were completely cut off. Still as a kid having a day of to play in the snow is no bad thing!
I think we’re lucky to have snow as some people elsewhere in the world have never seen snow let alone mess around making snowmen or having snowball fights. I guess it’s just a shame that it causes so much havoc when it occurs and like many things we’re unlikely to learn from it. We’re not going to produce/import more salt or allow local authorities to stock pile it nor are we likely to stick drivers on standby 24/7 through a forecasted cold snap. We’ll cast it aside and think it won’t happen again but it will and we’ll be as unprepared as ever; oh well.