Thursday, 24 December 2009

The slippery slide into Christmas

I was going to regale you with our bad weather journey saga but having listened to my colleagues it barely rates. Six and seven hour journeys home seem to be the norm. The biggest complaint isn’t the weather, the lack of gritters or snow ploughs – but poor information.

My tips for the next time are:

  1. If you are in or around London – listen to LBC 97.3. While Transport for London is telling everyone stories about bus services running, listeners were calling in with information about where they weren’t running. My personal story is on Monday evening between the Hampstead Pond and Kenwood there were eight buses dark and abandoned on the side of the road in both directions. Cars were having difficulty passing so buses certainly couldn’t.
  2. Black ice doesn’t mean ice that is black – it means you can’t see it. I decided that the roads were clear enough this morning and drove in – the stretch after Kenwood looked perfectly clear until I saw a few cars stationary ahead so braked and even at just over 10 mph went into a skid. Fortunately nothing around me so all was well. The stationary cars were crashed into each other and the side of the road – cautionary tale.
  3. Pedestrians – the pavements are rubbish so we walk in the road. If you are doing this and see a car coming – get out of the way – they might brake and then slide not so gently into you – couple of lucky misses spotted. If you are at a pedestrian crossing, wait until the cars have stopped – see (2) above. (P.S. – walk pigeon-toed it stops you sliding forward).
  4. Cyclists – are you mad?
  5. Motorists – a new suggestion to add to the shovel and bag of salt. A couple of old towels – if all else fails you can put them under the front wheels for traction. Thanks Colin’s Dad. (P.S. accelerating hard means that your wheels spin faster – you still don’t move!)
  6. Brickbats only for the various transport services that have not only let people down, some of which was beyond anyone’s reasonable control, but then gave poor information. Telling people to stay home actually isn’t sufficient information.
  7. Bouquets for the men who left their car at the bottom of Brim Hill and walked up the hill to push the cars spinning their wheels at the top onto the flat and then walked back down and told everyone to wait until the hill was clear so that they could go up in one go without stopping.

Number One Daughter is en route from Switzerland by car – with snow tyres and shovel – oh yes and husband and children. They are staying tonight in France and coming through Eurotunnel tomorrow. Tense times – hopefully all will go well. I have enough food for a siege; have been through the stressed, bad-tempered, bah humbug phase and now let the cooking begin.

If you celebrated Chanukah – hope it was a good one and if you are celebrating Christmas I hope that it is a peaceful one. My wish for everyone is that 2010 is happy, healthy and – please – prosperous!

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