02 March 2018

Day4 of our current snow event - some calling it the convergence of The Beast From the East (from the north-east) and Storm Emma (from the south), some labelling it Snowmaggedon or Snowpocolypse 2018. Oh alright, I do favour 'Snowmaggedon' and have so titled my desktop folder of photos snapped successively to document the event - this is the most snowpack we've had since the real Snowmaggedon of winter 2010-2011, when we 'enjoyed' a nearly full two months of incredible snowfall and continuous below freezing temperatures resulting in iced over roads-buildings-cars-lighthouses.

Now that one really did live up to the name 'snowmaggedon' with icicles as thick as a sumo wrestler's upper thighs reaching from rooflines to ground level (including our house), and in what had to have been one of the most astonishing things we saw - the complete icing over (so thick it wanted chisel and hammers applied to finally break through) of the local ironmonger shop exterior wall.

This event is not quite as dramatic. For one thing, the winter of 2010-2011 snuck up on the UK - no-one predicted it, it just happened that over the last weekend of November 2010 the snow started and didn't stop until Boxing Day. It came down in great wet flakes I could actually hear hitting the snowpack, and it was so incredibly cold the snowpack sparkled and at one honestly most astonishing and frightening point, as Paul and I took a walking tour one mid-morning during the event, hoarfrost formed along a wall in the town centre - it truly was like something out of The Day After Tomorrow (Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, 2004) as the hoarfrost formed in seconds, visibly spreading across the wall before our eyes.

No, this event was on the radar for at least ten days before the actual event began to affect Britain and Ireland - the government, the Met Office, heck, even Piers Corbyn agreed - this was serious and people needed to prepare for days of potential transport stoppages, extreme cold and iced over conditions that would stress the power and communications grids to possible breakdown, and communities being cut off.

For the most part people have heeded the copious warnings and the death toll here in the UK is below 15 (so far, it's not over yet). Across on The Continent the toll is sadly higher, closer to 50 on Day4.

I am trying VERY hard to contain my anger at the person behind the wheel of a car in Cornwall yesterday afternoon. A seven year old girl was walking with her family when this driver lost control of a car he/she shouldn't have been driving at all (the government asked people early on in this event to stay off the roads unless emergency and medical personnel trying to get to work), hitting and killing her. Angry doesn't cover the depth of my contempt and fury at the person who decided to be out there but I'm trying to contain my anger until I read more about why the driver was out there. 

I'm not hesitating to be deeply contemptuous of those people stuck overnight in their cars on the motorways and A roads - they were warned, they were asked to stay the hell off the roads, and they were told if they simply must be out there at all they should have plenty of kit in the boot for the inevitable stranding. Of course most of these 'But I have to go...' drivers were not at all prepared to stay off the roads OR put proper kit in their car boots so SkyNews is becoming unwatchable with the numerous 'live from the driver seat of my Nissan where I've been stuck in the snow behind a jack-knifed lorry for two hours/days' reports that invariably include the constant refrain of 'Where are the gritters?! I'm starving/running out of petrol/late for work as a files clerk in a non-essential business...'. Numpties.

Being 'doomers' - well, in my case being someone who has experienced repeated serious weather events/natural disasters - we heeded the warnings and brought forward our regular monthly Big Shop by five days, topped up the Citroen fuel tank, made sure we had the wind-up torches and radio on the front hall table. Checked wellie boots for spiders (don't laugh - when you don't wear 'em often, spiders tend to find stored wellies a splendid nesting spot!). Etc. We're fine here and God willing will remain so - we had the gas disconnected years ago and rely on electric and multi-fuel stove heating. Yes, that's right, a warning went out yesterday of a 'gas deficit' and businesses have been asked to restrict use so domestic services can be maintained. Not an issue for us but we do feel for those worrying about heating-eating on top of the rest of the worries brought home by this latest weather event.

I took this snap about an hour ago - snow doesn't look much but it has an ice crust making it treacherous to navigate - we're not a priority for gritting lane, and the last thing I want to do is go out there in it:

Ignore the time-date stamp, I never set it when I bought the camera so it ticks along on its own completely-unrelated-to-reality schedule. The photo was taken at 0700h 2 Mar 2018 from my NE Scotland front doorway.

In other news, today is the two year anniversary of my wrecking my dominant hand-wrist-elbow-biceps-shoulder-collarbone. Thanks to physio, I have regained 96% use but I'll never play tennis again, never body-surf or swim competitively again. I'll never be able to tie an apron (or fasten a clothing item) behind my back or reach across my body right to left to lift anything more weighty than a piece of paper. I'm still waiting to be able to knit and crochet with pins and hooks bigger than 2mm but I can sew-embroider-latch hook, so it ain't all bad.