Friday, February 06, 2009

To quote Bernard (again): snow ssnow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow (again)

Barb reports from Salisbury that her (nearly 2m high) vegetable cage is bending under the weight of the snow. She was properly snowed in on Tuesday. Her boss suggested that rather than working from home, she would be better employed clearing her (long) driveway and the farm track of snow so she could get in on Wednesday. Barb was less than impressed! So there is an ironic justice in the fact that today her boss himself is unable to get into work because his road is impassable!

Stella from the Mornington Peninsula says: Just read your snowy blog. I remember times like that when I was young, digging our way out to go to school and then later to go to the hospital. I don’t know which is worse all the heat or all the cold. Its quite warm now and its only early. (And Frances replies: Cold is infinitely preferable to extreme heat; so much easier to keep yourself warm than it is to keep yourself cool)

And Robert in Melbourne reports: you probably know that Melbourne had a 43 and a 45 last week, and is due for a 43 on this coming Saturday. Cool 30s in between. We also seized up. You can't keep all that infrastructure for conditions that happen once in a century. The rails buckled and that stopped the trains. Everyone put on their air conditioning at industrial blast level (versus the furnace outside) and that blew all the State's plugs and we were left sweltering in the dark, leafy North Balwyn fortunately for only an hour; some for three days. Gardeners emerged at dusk with buckets of water from their brief showers to rescue the worst-hit of their bushes and plants. Leaves which were not burned were drooping; autumn leaves have begun to fall before Fall; there's no use in their hanging on any longer. Washing dries very quickly (a positive thought). And we are assured by those magi the meteorologists that we can expect a repeat for some years.

And I think Lindsey might be a tiny bit jealous of all our snow!

We noticed when we got up yesterday morning that it was snowing quite hard. The Builder went out to clear Oscar of Snow. I got a move on so we could leave early. Oscar was being covered by snow again when we went to leave about ten minutes later!

It was VERY slippy getting out of the drive

And EXTREMELY slippy going up Ward Street (QVR is still closed to through traffic).

We drove slowly, slowly, slowly up towards the roundabout at the Derby/Chesterfield Road.

And gave up when we found that the main road wasn’t very much better than the side road.

We turned around and drove slowly, slowly, slowly home again.

We put the BBC breakfast program on to find out what was happening. They were doing very much more frequent traffic updates than they usually do. It seemed that the South East of the country, right up through East Anglia and into the Midlands was covered in a snow storm! Tune in to your local BBC radio station to find out more about road conditions around you.

Exceedingly reluctantly (it is emphatically not my morning choice of radio station) I tuned to Radio Sheffield. And found no traffic information at all. They were sticking to their regular, every 20 minute updates. Oh well. I can be patient. And found myself obliged to listen to nearly 20 minutes of what can only be described as crass, offensive and puerile radio output which was neither informative nor entertaining. I think the presenter thinks he’s a comic. Anything less funny I can’t imagine! He was crashingly rude to and about someone who had emailed him complaining about the lack of information on his program earlier in the week. If I had been that rude at work, I’d have been, rightly, sacked. I haven’t bothered emailing him. I’ve emailed the BBC central complaints department! And I rang Richard instead. I knew he would give me reliable information without being crass or puerile!

He said it was just starting to snow in Sheffield. The Builder and I decided to wait and see what the weather did next.

It continued to snow heavily.

At 8:00 we both rang in to our places of work and said we wouldn’t be in.

I pondered the possibility of going in later, if the weather eased, using the bus and the train.

The snow lessened in intensity and became merely persistent.

We went up to the village coffee shop in our walking boots and thick jackets, and had hot chocolate and bacon sandwiches . And discovered that almost no one who commutes in to Tupton had been able to get in. Almost no one who commutes out of Tupton had been able to get out. That Radio Peak FM is reliable as a source of information when road conditions are troublesome. And that although we saw several buses heading out towards Clay Cross, we had seen none at all coming back and heading towards Chesterfield.

I abandoned my bus and train plan. We went for a snowy walk round the nature reserve instead. It was a beautiful walk. The snow was still falling but only very lightly. The newly fallen snow was soft and fluffy and fun to walk in. There were lots of people out walking their dogs and/or their children. Oh – and the Highland cows have gone away on a winter holiday and are due back in the spring. The sheep are still there, though.

I perhaps could have got in to Sheffield after lunchtime. But by then I had moved into Day Off mode!

I think we must have been right on the edge of the snow storm. Although there was a lot of snow in Sheffield and the buses were very disrupted, most people managed to get in, even the ones from Chesterfield. As we left this morning, the snow was probably around 15-20 cm high in the gardens and on the verges. As we drove past the lay-by near Wingerworth, there were about 60 cars parked in it, all covered in snow. I assume they were vehicles abandoned by drivers who had tried to get to Derby or Chesterfield yesterday morning and who had given up. By the time we got to Chesterfield itself the snow was probably only around 10cm. And there’s very little left hanging about in Sheffield.

We have postponed our planned weekend trip to Salisbury. The weather hereabouts is forecast to be quite nice. Lots of snow is forecast for Salisbury on Sunday. We’ll go next week instead. (Although Richard, ever a ray of optimism, says the long range forecast for next weekend is even worse!!)

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