Tuesday, 4 January 2011


We got some unexpected snow this morning. It came down hard and fast for about an hour or so but it had caught the gritters by surprise and settled on the main roads.

Now, I love snow. I love watching it falling, I love the way it makes the world look, I love the special feel in the air and I love the fresh snow smell. I love the meteorology of it!

What I don't love is the way some people in this country react to the conditions. During the snow before Christmas, I lost count of all the people who were saying the usual; 'a few flakes of snow and the country grinds to a halt!' The fact is that snow is not common for this country. We might get a few days of good snow a year but that's all and it's not cost effective to spend the millions necessary to make this country snow proof. The other alternative is that the general public modify their behaviour for the weather conditions. I really wish people would be sensible and when the police issue warnings against non essential travel, people shouldn't travel. What people class as essential travel staggers me. These people are just putting themselves at risk and getting in the way of key workers who really do have to get into work, to make life better for others.

These people who ignore extreme weather like snow, do they modify their behaviour for the conditions? Do they have snow chains or even snow tyres for their cars? In Germany there is a law that says snow tyres must be fitted from the 1st December onwards. Do these people have properly insulated homes or have they checked the antifreeze in their cars to make sure it will work at temperatures lower than -9 degrees Celsius? Do they even leave extra time for their journeys? I'm sure some of them do. But I know some of them don't.

We had to take our 2 week old daughter (who from now on will be known as little M) back to hospital this morning. There's nothing wrong but we had an appointment for her newborn hearing check. There was a weather warning out to take extra care but the snow had changed to rain by the time we left and most of the snow on the road was slush. Even though the conditions had been obvious and warnings issued, we passed 3 crashed cars on our way to Lincoln. All of them were on a straight road but just before junctions. It didn't take a huge amount of imagination to work out what caused the accidents.

I love snow. I will always love snow but I'm also realistic in knowing that my car (an old style mini) is not made for driving in those conditions. So I will continue to modify my behaviour and any journeys I make in the snow will either be on foot, with sledge or in a car far better equipped!

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