Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter brings England to a standstill

It's amazing to me that a simple 2 inches of snow can bring an entire country to its knees. I'm in England right now, which is gripped in the midst of what the media are laughably calling "blizzard" conditions, meaning the entire transport infrastructure has failed. Trains have stopped running because of "the wrong sort of snow". Roads have iced up and frozen over because, despite thousands of tons of sand and grit being available in the transport depots, none of it has been used to grit or sand the roads. Bus services have stopped running, the channel tunnel is closed, ferries are running up to a day late and the four main airports are basically closed. Motorways are closed because chunks of ice are falling off bridges, and motorists are abandoning their cars everywhere. This of course has brought out the best of British. In one case, motorists abandoned their vehicles in a pub car park (rather than leaving them blocking the roads) and when they returned, found a clamping / booting company had clamped all the cars. Everyone was forced to pay a £150 release fee.
Because of 2 inches of snow? Seriously? Okay I realise that it doesn't snow like this in the UK that often but when this little snow can stop an entire country it's a pretty tragic enditement of the place.


Stuart C said...

Speaking as a UK resident of 23 years, it sounds like you've heard about the worst of it. It's not been that bad everywhere! I've spent the holiday season travelling between Sheffield in the north/midlands (which had consistent snow for a week or more), Wales (some snow whilst I was there), and Devon (none) in the far south. Generally, roads have all been gritted/salted in advance of snowfall so things have been pretty smooth, and I only met ice on one very small country lane. My personal experience doesn't agree at all with the word "standstill".

As you say, we don't get snow enough to really "practice" being prepared for it - the last time I saw snow like this was around 10 years ago. Such preparations, given that gap, are always going to end up lower on people's priorities, and there'd be a hue and cry if that wasn't the case.

Incidentally, the Eurotunnel issue was, I believe, all the fault of the French ;)

TA28Dutch said...

It's all relative. I've lived in the UK and the ME. The same amount of rain that the average UK resident shrugs off as not important brings Muscat to grinding halt... ;-)