Episode 53. In which snow and the south of England do not mix.

How do snow and the south of England not mix?

Let me count the ways.

  1. Southerners can’t drive in snow.  This isn’t a criticism, driving in snow is evil, I don’t drive so I can’t claim that I’m any better.  But let’s face it, most don’t have the experience that you need to handle snowy and icy roads.  It’s to be expected really, snow being so rare down here.  This morning I saw a car crash, where a car driving down a slight incline had to stop at a red light  – the car slid sideways before it stopped, and the one behind it carried on sliding before it stopped, and of course they collided.  It was just a little prang, but on the other side of the road a bus was stuck with its wheels spinning, and the best it could hope for was to not slide backwards down the hill all the way to the Old Steine.  Later in the day, I saw no less than four cars bombing it up Lewes Road, revving the engine and going as fast as their stumpy little feet would take them.  Each and every one deserved to end up head-first in a gutter for that kind of idiocy.
  2. Where I’m from, growing up we were snowed in for at least a week, every single year.  We played in snow as children and we learned what was done and what was not done.  It seems to me like the local children down here have never had any such education.  Again, it’s just about experience.  But I watched a group of teenagers picking up chunks of “snow” (and I use inverted commas because we’re talking lumps that took both hands and all their strength to carry, and were therefore more ice than snow), hiding behind a wall and throwing it at random passers-by.  In the face.  Now, I understand that sometimes people get carried away with snowball fights, and an innocent might get dragged in, and that’s not cool, but it’s usually accidental, and it happens.  What I saw was assault, and for that reason I walked home from town on the wrong side of the road, just so as to have two lanes of traffic between me and the nearest snowball fight.  Partly because although hitting a stranger in the face with a block of ice is probably assault, punching a child full in the face for doing so is somewhat of a darker shade of grey.
  3. The transport infrastructure just can’t handle it.  In London all the buses were suspended for a while, and then when they came back the numbers were severely reduced.  I happened to catch some of an interview between some news channel and the head of Transport for London, or spokesperson, or whoever he was.  He explained, while a video of bus drivers having a snowball fight was shown, that London has 7000 buses, of which 750 were functioning as best they could.  He mentioned that the roads were very dangerous, particularly smaller side roads, that they were very icy and treacherous.  The news anchor doing the interview immediately attacked him for having bus drivers out there having snowball fights while there were people in London that couldn’t get to work.  I had to ask myself whether she’d actually listened to a word he’d said.  By no means would I call the reaction of Transport for London paranoid or anywhere close, there was a clear awareness of the limitations of their services and they did what they could with what they had.  If that idiot news anchor wants 7000 buses out there, I would suggest she personally drives however many thousands of miles of roads there are in London with her own personal gritter in advance of the next snowstorm, and then take personal responsibility for the 2000 road traffic accidents that arise from 7000 drivers with no snow-driving experience being forced to ferry people around all day in weather that would, I’d expect, cause most potential bus travellers to thank whoever they happen to worship for the lack of buses, so they can stay at home where it’s warm and safe.
  4. Apparently, it’s the end of the world.  Shops are closed, open late, shut early, all in all it’s a huge mess.  I admit, I worked from home today, but that’s because my trains weren’t running.  I did some laundry and then went to the laundrette to use their tumble dryers, as I always do.  Only when I got there, it was shut.  I’m not negating the importance of laundrette staff, but what is the likelihood that they don’t live within walking distance of their workplace?  I mean, given the cost of a bus fare, even, these days.  I walked into town twice today, that’s a good four miles, and both of those journeys were a complete waste of time.  My Man walked all the way to Hove and back.  If I worked within four miles of home, I’d definitely walk there.  I lived in Whitechapel on July 7th 2005, and I walked to and from Holborn every day that week.  So either we have a commuter-run laundrette, or someone was just too damned lazy and snow-verexcited to do their job.  Which pisses me off quite a lot, given that half my clothes are sitting there, wet, because we’ve got nowhere to hang them up to dry, or else we wouldn’t need to use the laundrette tumble dryers.

Diabetic moment of the day

This morning I had jam on my toast.  Just as a treat.  It was nice.  Fortnum & Mason raspberry jam, I’d heartily recommend it.


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