It snowed last night. The news portrayed this as a Big and Terrible Thing.
Big deal. It's February. Snow is not unexpected in Scotland. It's not unexpected any time between November and May. I've seen hail in June.
I remember building snowmen, snow-Tyrannosaurs, even a snow-Stegosaur using plates of ice for the back spines. No more. There hasn't been a winter with enough snow for any of these for years. Last was a snow-Marge Simpson, which I have a photo of somewhere. It was at least nine years back.
I remember coming out of a house in Cardiff and wondering which of the white mounds was my car. Then thinking that it didn't matter because even if I found it, there was no chance of driving it anywhere. As I recall, it had a broken starter motor at the time. I wasn't going to crawl under it in that weather.
I remember opening my door to go to work, finding three feet of snow resting against it, shutting the door, phoning in and going back to bed.
There has been no really bad snow in the UK for about ten years. Yet we get reports of 'oh dear, terrible snow has hit and cars are crashing'.
Photographs show cars off the road, in a ditch, with snow barely touching their axles. News reports show people talking of terrible weather with a light dusting of white stuff--almost a talcum-powder covering--in the background.
I have driven home from a party in total darkness, no street lights, for fifty miles on a road that was so deep in snow you couldn't see the edges of it. I did this in an ageing Ford Fiesta so worn that in daylight, you could see light between the door and its frame. The car was painted with Hammerite to hide its rust and it was transgenic - bits of other cars were welded to it to keep it together. Blizzards blanked out all view of the road ahead once in a while so progress was a crawl (never stop!). It was no fun at all but it was possible. Even in that monstrosity.
Last night I went to visit a few friends. We had whisky in mind so I walked there. The roads were glass-smooth and difficult to walk on yet cars shot by as though they were driving in the summer heat. They could have hit their brakes with the weight of obesity, it would have made no difference. There is no respect for nature now. Ice isn't a plaything, it isn't just something the news men put out to scare drivers. Modern drivers believe their cars, and themselves, are indestructible. Then they crash in snow that would barely slow a sensible driver. I blame computer games. Everyone thinks the 'Game Over' comes up after three lives. Bad news - it comes up after one.
All those strandings, all those crashes, have nothing to do with bad weather.
It's bad driving.