Thursday, 24 December 2009

Weather Chaos (2): Unbelievable!

Its now been two days, yes two days of chaos, in a country that is supposed to expect and be prepared for snow!

Aparrently some local trains were cancelled due to the snow. What fucking snow? It hasn't snowed since Monday, so how has this magical snow crawled from the ground onto the rails, causing such chaos? Here in Pompey, there is no snow, its all melted.

I really do despair at the incompetence of public service managers, that seem to plan less and less for these extremes of weather. When I was a kid, snow was expected and planned for. Now its an excuse to bunk of work, the trains and the buses become unreliable, schools close because a snowflake settles on the playground, roads become unpassable because of lack of gritting.... it just goes on and on.

I really do despair at what this country has become. From a nation ready to fight off foreign invaders, from a country prepared for all that mother nature could throw at it, we have become a feckles, unprepared mess.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Weather Chaos: The Usual Story

It seems this country just can't plan ahead for bad weather.

Just an inch or so of snow has brought most of the South East to a halt. What is it with these Southerners that makes them panic when driving upon seeing a snowflake? Why aren't roads gritted in advance? Who knows.

I made the journey from Portsmouth to Oxford and back again today, with only one problem. The A272 from Petersfield was fine on the outbound journey at 1pm, but by the time we came back a 6pm, the junction between the A31 and the A272 was turned into chaos because the road had some ice in patches. I had to turn back and use the M27 which was clear all the way to Portsmouth.

Why a major route like the A31 and A272 wasn't gritted when the snow started falling at lunchtime is a mystery. Certainly it wasn't gritted but drivable when we used it at 1pm, but still didn't appear to have been gritted 5 hours later. Cars were stuck trying to negotiate the hill up to Cheesefoot Head and they only started moving after a gritter (presumably the first on that road all day) finally gritted the hill. I decided that it would be better not to negotiate the A272 if this first bit of chaos was a sign of the state of the road further on.

I come from up North originally and I did my driving lessons in weather far worse than this. They were never cancelled, my instructor insisted on taking all his students out in challenging weather. Mind you, we got more of it up north. But at least once we'd experienced it, we knew how to handle driving in those conditions.

Even more recently, 10 years ago I rode a motorcycle in blizzard conditions from Oxford to London and back to commute into work. Never at that time were the roads closed or treacherous enough that I thought better of riding on two wheels. Today it would have been suicidal.

Just what is happening to our namby-pamby, risk-averse, never-plan-for-the-worst society? Its crumbling before our very eyes. Trains stop, we can't keep the roads clear, we shut motorways just because someones wing mirror dropped off their car, we panic at the sight of snowflakes.

I just think hope that I'm bringing my kids up with the right stuff, where stopping at a service station car park covered in snow is a good excuse to have a sliding competition and a a bloody good snowball fight (and no-one brought a gun).

Oh, and I can certainly say, using rear fog lights in snowy conditions is not recommended. It just blinds the person behind you. By all means, use them in foggy conditions, where the mist will absorb the light, but in snow, where its just white stuff falling with gaps between them and you can quite easily see normal tail lights, rear fogs just cause more problems.  Wipers on, heater on demist; yes, but rear fogs: no.
It has to be pretty bad snow to reduce visibility under 100m, which is the limit for the use of fog lights. It certainly wasn't that bad on the road today.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Apologies for the Lack of Blogging and a Merry Christmas.

It seems that planning for a Christmas that involves catering for 15 staying over Cristmas Eve/Christmas Day (I always go eek when I tot upall the kids, partners and grandkids!) and working at one of the busiest times of year for my employer is taking its task of my blogging activities. Plus I had my mate Rob (Hi Rob!) staying over this weekend so it would have been rude to ignore him and blog instead.

All you shoppers out there (don't you all know there's a recession on?) will be keeping me working full-time hours this week, so blogging will be sparse all week too.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone who passes by this blog.