Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
After the snow, I suspect every other blog will about the weather this week, either carping on about how a few inches brings everything in the UK to a standstill, or how wonderful it is to have a day off.
I'm firmly with the latter. We've had a good six inches here in West London, falling all in one night, and it's the worst single snowfall for as long as I have lived here. So we can't be expected to gear up for it: the cost of all those snowploughs sitting doing nothing for years on end would be something to grumble about in its own right. And one day off every ten years is hardly a disaster (especially when most of us do loads of unpaid overtime). Clearly, places like hospitals have a torrid time, with ambulances struggling through snow-bound side roads, and wards being short-staffed just as there's a surge of broken bones and twisted ankles from people slipping over, but for the most part we catch up pretty quickly.
Actually, not everything did grind to a standstill, despite what the news media would have you believe: I travelled yesterday morning from Barry in South Wales back to Kensington, and the journey was pretty smooth: OK, my train from Cardiff was cancelled, but another one (from Swansea) turned up around the same time, and made it to London Paddington, taking only five minutes longer than usual. There was no District Line south, but by a combination of the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines I was still home in half an hour. The worst bit was the last few hundreds yards from the Underground station, as the pavements were snowy. But, as you can see from the photo, it did look glorious, and a succession of charmingly eccentric snowmen have been built in the gardens over the last 24 hours.
There were a few surprises in what kept going and what did not: the Heathrow Express was suspended, despite the rest of the Great Western main line working normally, and despite the fact that the Piccadilly Line - with its vulnerable ground-level electric rails - was operating normally through to Heathrow. Apparently, trains cancellations were caused as much by the fact the staff couldn't get to work, as by snow on the line.
Still, things around here seem to be back pretty much to normal, so roll on spring!