Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Its snow joke

Britain in the snow is not a pretty sight. A dusting of an inch or two (or "2.5cm" as it is commonly known) will close schools and create newspaper headlines of "Britain's Arctic chill". Schools are closed and people wrap up like they are auditioning for 'Scott of the Antarctic'.

But add a few more inches to that (or many more millimeters) and we are talking serious chaos. The entire country comes to a standstill. Major airports are closed, roads are gridlocked, trains are cancelled and the stores are running out of supplies. There is not a pint of milk or a loaf of bread to be found on the supermarket shelves.

The papers and TV analyze and re-analyze why the country can't cope. Every news and talkshow discuss in grinding detail the state of the country and everyone is glued to the TV for the latest opinions. They should save their energy and their furrowed brows. Its pretty simple really. Britain doesn't have enough plows (sic) or grit. In the Northeast of the USA where we live, we have snow in feet not inches. It is a rare snowstorm that will keep us housebound for any significant length of time. We live in a small street/cul-de-sac and even there we hear the snow-plows come down the street every few hours during the night when it snows. So the only thing we have to do in the morning is clear the driveway to get to the road. The main roads have been plowed and gritted continually so they are in an even better shape. Each town has access to many plows; either big ones that they own and use to clear the main roads, or small plows owned by local contractors that are used to do the minor streets. Landscape gardeners attach 'plates' to the front of their pick-up trucks in the winter and clear driveways and minor roads. Its all very organized and efficient.

This is 2 years in a row that the UK has had snowfall and been unable to cope. Obviously they do not get the amount of snow that we get, so they probably would not want to raise their game to the same levels, but they could take a few ideas on board. Its about time they started to act instead of just talking about it.

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