I’m on Snow again, you’ll have to excuse this mini-obsession. The UK needs to stop treating heavy snowfall in the same manner it treats a dusting – and this time I’m not talking about the media. What I’m talking about is the physical way that we’re handling snow. Our obsession with salt, salt reserves and liberally throwing salt onto every highway and byway is bloody ludicrous! Salt only makes a difference if the temperatures are above -8, which in many places in the UK they’re not. Doesn’t matter how much you spread, it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
It’s refreshing to see more snow ploughs on display this year, but they’re not scraping the road anywhere near close enough to avoid humps of slush and we’re not following ploughs with standard road sweepers – they do this in almost every other country with heavy snowfall in Europe; and it’s this step that avoids the slush piles that so plague our major trunk routes. Councils actually need to train their staff to understand what is and isn’t appropriate in snow, or any other severe weather, so we maintain some level of structural cohesion in our transport network.
Worse thatn that though, is the whinging, endless streams of people whinging they “couldn’t get to work” – “I couldn’t even get out of my drive“: yes dear, that’s because you didn’t shovel or brush it clear did you? You just stomped on the gas in first and spun the wheels till you were satisfied that you’d be going nowhere. Up and down the country people are sitting bone idle at home when a brush or a snow-shovel would have had them out onto reasonably passable roads in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes work.
Of course we do need clarification of the law in the UK to cover your personal civic duty, especially when it comes to clearing snow: elsewhere it’s your civic duty to clear your own drive and the pavement to your house, no fannying about – if the council find you’ve not done it, they’ll bill you for doing it themselves – the result, millions of people clear their own property and immediate roadways allowing gritters, ploughs and sweepers to keep major routes open rather than pootling around every estate with a gang of men salting pavements to ensure Mrs.Miggins’ doesn’t do her hip in.
Eight times in the last 48 hours I’ve heard Health & Safety dragged up as a reason for not clearing your own personal drive and pavement, and yes in the UK someone could sue you – but 1) why don’t you have personal liability insurance? and 2) to sue you, and win they’d have to contest that you maliciously salted or cleared, or that you’d shown provable negligence in the way you’d done it. Tort law. A law that’s almost always on your side… so come on, get off your arse, pick up a broom and a shovel and clear your drive, your pavement and the ramp to the road, you’ll be doing yourself and your neighbourhood a real favour.
Posted in Europe, Life, Politics
As if by magic winter has come along and it’s brought cold weather and snow – how unusual, that never happens! Well that’s what you might believe if you look at any of our media; so in the glorious cause of re-hashing articles and passing it off as news, I’m embarking on my yearly rant about the British media making a mountain out of a molehill. The British obsession with shutting down everything the second it looks a little bit snowy outside and the bizarre preoccupation with the weather that seemingly overlooks the fact that ten years ago our papers were screaming that snow was a thing of the past, that climate change nee global warming had consigned the idea of snow filled winters to the history books and fantastical Christmases inspired by Dickens.
So in the spirit of posting random stories about Snow, let’s revisit this classic article from the year 2000.
Feel free to browse the whole article in The Independent archive
So there we are, rant complete: personally I hope it’s below zero and snowy until march – Climate change or not, I rather like the weather like this… I’m not convinced by the cries from both extremes that we’re heading to oblivion, sure we must have had an impact on the weather, but as we’re so rarely able to predict the weather more than 24 hours ahead (and even then with questionable accuracy) I’m buggered to see how we can say what it’ll be like in 100 years.
Posted in News
Tagged Rant, Snow, Weather
We have ‘Extreme’ Weather today, which for the uninitiated in Britain is a couple of cm of snow, and yes, once again it’s chaos, no buses, no tubes, no trains, motorways and a-roads closed and people being told to stay at home or risk freezing to death after they break down. We really are pathetic, yes we don’t get it often, but it’s not like we never get snow – people should at least be half prepared for it; and let’s face it – with climate change making it’s mark on the world, Britain’s not going to get warmer, we’re going to get colder as the gulf stream slows down, so now’s a better time than ever to learn how to deal with it.
Of course what’s most interesting about Today’s snow is the complete closure of the London bus network – I can’t remember the last time it was entirely closed, even with industrial action, it’s quite spooky looking at roads devoid of the familiar red bus.
The view from my balcony’s french doors..
The view from my Bedroom.
It was snowing earlier on, that’s the third time it’s snowed in central London in the last fortnight, global warming? Pah! UK cooling more like! There is an interesting theory that global warming will cause the Atlantic conveyor to stop bring warm water from the gulf of Mexico up to Britain (which is what keeps us so warm in comparison to other places as high up in the world as we are).
If that happened Britain would get an awful lot colder and it’d rain (or snow) more. Considering the country comes to a grinding standstill with only an inch of snow I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos a whole winters worth of snow would cause if Britain ever does become a snowbound nation due to global warming in the next 15 years.
Posted in London
Tagged London, Snow
Blizzards in London, twice within a month, that’s something you don’t normally expect… Today the heaven’s opened, and instead of our usual rain we got fluffy white stuff instead, and lots of it. That alone will make the film in my camera worth developing as I hung out of a fourth floor window taking photos of the snow settling over Kensington and Notting Hill.
London’s transport infrastructure has fallen apart which will make getting around fun, the central line is still buggered and will be for several weeks by all accounts, and now with snow and congestion charging coming up London is slowly (or actually – rapidly) grinding to a halt. Apparently traffic in central London tonight is the worst it’s ever been, which is saying something.
Posted in London, News
Tagged London, Snow