Ice Age Amateurs

08Jan10

I promised myself that no snow blog would be issued from this terminal. But nearing the end of London’s first week of another weather-paralysis, the inevitable email came from a friend in Arctic Sweden.

“If I had bald tyres and rear-wheel drive I would not drive on unploughed roads,” he pontificates. “We have had 6 inches of snow and today we took the car for a two hour drive around the countryside. We had -11 degrees and after a long walk with (grandson) he was left sleeping outside in the pram breathing some fresh air in proper insulated clothing that helps him to sleep without frost bite.”

“BTW” he adds even more smugly, “the schools are open, buses are running, there is bread in the shops and we get post, apart from missing a few subscriptions from England ..”

Perhaps with the exception of peoples of the south seas who have never seen a snowflake though who have problems of their own, it seems as if other members of the genus Homo are rolling in the aisles at our expense. Meanwhile, British Neanderthals hide in their caves as they did in Pleistocene times, 110,000—10,000 years ago.

With a summer of electioneering on the near horizon, print and TV grab the opportunity to hype up the white stuff as a sort of silly season sport. Main news items ran 5 days running. Like a hastily-called emergency meeting of Cobra, rehearsed reports surfaced of stranded pregnant women and airline passengers wondering why there weren’t 5 snow-ploughs to meet their jet at Heathrow. For an epic few minutes the BBC’s Robert Hall, marooned in Sturgis-something, briefed the hardy journeyman on what to carry in their cars: ‘A shovel, torch, charged mobile, space blanket, sleeping bag – oh, and some sturdy boots.’ One motorist, stuck in his car for 14 hours was suddenly unavailable for comment .. because he’d got on a train!

And just as weatherman Peter Cockcroft was warning of the imminent doom, Sainsburys’ shelves resembled a corner shop whose residents have just learned of an invasion of Wellsian tripods. No eggs, Porridge nor potatoes and little bread was to be located.

I trudged over to Dulwich Village on icy pavements instead. A Southwark environmental team were convening opposite the warming glows of the bookshop to discuss how they would distribute the grit. An east European dragged his yellow wheelbarrow down Turney Road but managed just 100 yards before stopping, out of breath. The supervisor was now out of sight and he slumped against a London Plain for a smoke. I wondered how many more feet of paths the grit would reach for the benefit of homeward mums and commuters.

Our sceptered isle is apparently under attack from extreme meteorology and as if these were times of climactic catastrophe we think we are losing our sense of civilisation – like in The Road. When such a crisis looms and precipitation descends, so do media-invented metaphors and alliteration.

As for bloggers, they’re on that gritting wagon too.



One Response to “Ice Age Amateurs”

  1. Great article! I look forward to reading more upcoming blog posts from you. I just bought a set of Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 snow tires myself, and so far theyve been great in the recent snowstorm that we just had.Bridgestone has come a long way over the years, and Id say the Blizzaks are some of the best snow tires that Ive driven on.


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