February 5, 2013

THE WRONG KIND OF SNOW

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The view from our window at 9am.

We were woken up at 6.50am this morning by Lulu, barking loudly.  This is annoying because we didn’t have to get up until slightly later as Nick is working from home today, but found ourselves leaping out of bed at pretty much our usual time to see what the commotion was all about. 

It was the milk delivery.  We don’t have a milkman as such, in the sense that nobody does a milk round in this area any more, but the nearest farm has started pasteurising its own milk and selling it locally.  Our neighbour who lives across the road collects it from the farm and delivers it to the few people on the road who want it, three days a week.  It’s not exactly a milk round as the time of day the milk arrives can vary from 7.30am to 4pm depending on when our neighbour has the time to do it, but it’s a good service and we appreciate it.

I’m also quite proud of Lulu, barking furiously having heard footsteps on the drive, being a good guard dog after all.

Unfortunately the reason for the unusually early arrival of our milk was another fall of snow.  I had checked the forecast and saw that we were due to have some, but didn’t think it would amount to much.  No doubt our neighbour decided to get the milk delivered while he could still get about.

At 7.30 Nick went out and cleared the drive so that I would be able to go to work.  Half an hour later bucketloads of snow came and all his hard work disappeared under another inch or so.

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The view from our window at 10.00 am.

For the view at 10.30 look at the first photo again, it was the same.

So this is how it’s been all morning, sunshine and blue skies alternating with blizzards.  And me fretting as to whether I should try to drive to work, phone calls being exchanged with colleagues to find out what they think and whether they would risk it, trying to find out if anyone knew how bad the main roads were.

All in all, it’s the wrong kind of snow.  Bad enough to make driving difficult, largely because of the huge volume of traffic that pours onto the main roads rather than use the hilly lanes.  Not quite bad enough to feel I can definitely pronounce it not safe to go out.  It’s not that we have six inches of it, just enough to make the roads very slippery.  Six inches would be better - nobody would question my decision not to drive.

Our new boss has little sympathy with our nervousness and would never declare the business closed as she only goes in one day per week.  (It never seems to snow on those days.)  It’s open if we get in and it’s closed if we don’t but then we have to take the time unpaid or out of our holiday allocation.  So on the one hand I feel inclined to try to get to work but on the other I recall horrible journeys when I have been stuck in a traffic jam in a blizzard surrounded by cars slithering around precariously, or sitting in a queue at the bottom of a hill, waiting for cars to take their turn in trying to get up it one at a time (getting down it is even more frightening).  In which case having to lose a day’s pay seems the better option. 

I really could do without this annual test of my bravery.  Roll on spring !!

14 comments:

  1. I share you dread. Imagine not going to work because of snow - NO, sorry I cant!
    Well it is in summer here in OZ and I have no excuses for not going to work. R U in England now. Our son is in London (UCL) studying and he's very cold.
    Leon

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  2. Jean, I understand your dilemma and I sympathize. You have to think about whether you can drive safely to work and, even more important, get home safely.

    It helps to have an understanding boss. Is there any work you can do from home on days like this, maybe just for an hour or two till the roads either improve or get so bad you clearly must stay home?

    We've had frequent snow here (I'm sick of it) and I encourage myself by saying that winter is trying to rush through quickly this year.

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    1. Carolyn, unfortunately my job can't be done from home, unlike Nick, who can happily spend the day in front of his computer when it snows.

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  3. Oh Jean! I really feel for you here! I remember one winter when I was still teaching and it had snowed heavily overnight. I put the children's books in a rucksack and I set off in hiking boots etc to walk the four miles to work. I arrived to be met by a boy from the juniors who promptly announced:
    "You stupid ***. If you hadn't come we'd have been able to go home!"
    You can imagine how I felt - and, more to the point, what I felt like saying!!

    Hope the weather improves quickly or at least that the snow has the decency to become the "right sort of" snow, with some thought for you and others in the same awful position. x

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    1. Elizabeth, what an awful thing for a child to say!
      But I'm not surprised.

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  4. Snow again!

    Just a scattering here nut bittterley cold. We had a conversation a couple of weeks ago about the snow/work situation and it's difficult to find a right way through it. It must be frustrating when your boss doesn't need to get to work but you do. It's often very difficult to judge the extent of the hazardous driving conditions and it really is stressful to drive.

    If the school is open and a member of staff can't get in then he or she would lose pay. If the school is closed we wouldn't. Feedback from parents is generally that if the forecast means snow then they would rather make arrangements and keep children at home than have to collect them during the day.

    I sympathise with Elizabeth although my pupils probably wouldn't say that - but they would be thinking it!

    I can also see why you wouldn't want to take some of your precious holiday allocation, meaning less time in France.

    There will come a time when we won't be phased by snow. We won't have to get up and battle through it to work.

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    1. Gaynor, that time just can't come soon enough!
      I am tired of fretting about whether I will get to work on time, if at all, without having an accident, and then spending all day at work fretting about whether or not I will make it back home.

      And you're right, sitting at home watching anxiously for the road to become safe is not a good use of even one of my twenty days' paid holiday per year.

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  5. Poor Jean. Just the kind of dilemma I loathed in my working days as I'm not a confident driver on snow and ice and from the news the conditions where you are looked very difficult. We had a covering this morning and more at lunchtime, but it's now turned to rain, thank goodness, though it remains bitterly cold in the strong wind. Hope your snow goes soon.

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    1. Perpetua, I am really looking forward to the day when I can look at the snow and think to myself that I no longer have to brave it.

      It is raining now and much of the snow has been washed away, except for where we live, being on slightly higher ground it tends to linger for a day or two longer, but at least the roads are now perfectly clear.

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  6. Thank goodness we do not have that problem any more. I hated it when we sat looking at the road outside Umming and Ahhing as whether we should go to work or not. You have my sympathies, hope it soon clears. Take it easy. Diane

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  7. Even a minor accident can cost you dearly, not to mention blocking the road - no, better safe than sorry! Pauline

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  8. Aaaggh! Retirement is wonderful for every possible reason but one of the things I really appreciate is that I don't have to go to work on snowy days. In our climate we only get a snow-ice lasagna that no one can drive in. People moving here from the Midwest are easily identified as they rest upside-down on the side of the road. And I was a mailman. The mail had to go through. Oh terror.

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  9. The thing is that in this country winter weather is so unpredictable and generally so mild that it is not worth having snow tires -- or even 'all-weather tires' as it is in countries that experience more defined winter weather. It is very dangerous driving on the roads in Britain when there is snow -- first of all the main roads are usually cleared pretty efficiently -- but those side roads are devastating in snowy/icy weather.

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  10. Hoping for an early thaw for your sake. Your new boss sounds like a real pip... and I don't mean that kindly.

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