Saturday, February 02, 2008

Snow joke.

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.

5 comments:

Southern Writer said...

Reminds me of the good old days in Colorado. My ex B-I-L used to make dinosaurs in the yard with his kids. Wish I had some pics of those. They were enormous. And fun.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

I have to say--you describe snow the way my Better Half describes the so-called "mortgage crisis" in the US. Why is something that kicks one's ass a calamity when 1) one can see it coming from far away and 2) one KNOWS one shouldn't tempt fate to begin with?

tom sheepandgoats said...

I once owned a Ford Fiesta. In fact, at one time there were three of them in the driveway. They were fun to drive, cheap to drive, easy to maintain, and you could pick up a used one for a song.

Romulus Crowe said...

SW - B-I-L? Badger in leotards?
Snow disnosaurs are fun. I also used to build snow demons and take delight in explaining to the children next door that they came alive at night and craved young blood. Tip - if you use bits of gravel for the eyes and teeth, when they start to melt they look truly horrific.

TGF - the mortgage crisis is here too. We have evil companies who buy homes from people in money trouble and rent them back to those same people. Banks are charging for 'debt advice' to people on mortgages that are four times their income - mortgages those banks gave them in the first place!
I'm lucky not to be in that position, I suppose. Thousands are.

Tom - The Fiesta was indestructible, apart from rust. I don't know what the new ones are like but the old ones were simple to fix and cheap to run. I still have a Ford, but now it's a Focus. I no longer understand what's under the bonnet (carburettors are a thing of the past, it seems) but it works well.

Southern Writer said...

Ha ha. Brother-in-law. But same difference. I'm kidding, actually. He's a pretty good guy; it's my sister who's tweaked.

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