Friday, 3 December 2010
What a difference a day makes in the land of the ice and snow.
Thursday morning I'd awoken at around 3:30 and noticed a light, if respectable, covering of snow everywhere. I knew that only the first two or three cars would make it out of the road and then it would turn into an icy skid-pan.
Sure enough, an urgent early morning carpet delivery to someone in the neighbourhood did the deed and managed to end up as a one van roadblock across the end of the street. It's long wheelbase majesty was eventually moved to the side after about an hour but had glazed the whole surface to the extent to make it impassable.
We decided to try out the new technology of grippy kevlar wheel socks(!) to see whether it would assist the escape. As my neighbour also had a set, we decided to try his first and to our joint pleasure his car then smoothly exited the street without misadventure.
I learned in the process that the video of the Norwegian girl with the brown leather boots and orange rubber gloves was somewhat misleading.
She'd put her socks on in about three minutes.
Twenty was closer to the truth.
But they did work. And work well.
Before embarking on my equivalent thirty minute mission, I decided to try the little green hatchback which has front wheel drive. I'd noticed that other similar small tyred vehicles seemed to be getting about whereas the Executive Saloons with Fat Tyres were spinning and slipping all over the place.
And yes, the Ka worked fine by just scraping the ice from it.
By the time I reached gritted and salted road surfaces it was also toasty warm inside. That evening I was back in the centre of London complete with Ka.
By Friday morning I was beginning to wonder what the fuss had been about. I looked out onto the busy roads and traffic was moving normally.
During the day I was in the centre and west of the centre and in both areas there's already large areas with pavements showing and roads which appear to function normally. Battersea Park still had a pretty look, with snow in the trees and the cycle tracks around there were somewhat icy.
My morning meeting was across in the clubby Pall Mall area. I chatted to the receptionist and mentioned the weather. "Yes, I miss the regular snow," she replied,"it's not like home."
Her home was Poland and she explained that the snow there was more predictable and created less chaos. The usual London comment about how such a small dusting could create such a big impact.
Then it was back to Sloane Square, where the arctic conditions being reported on the news were all too evident. Take a look at the above iPhone shot of the conditions probably at their peak - I even had to wait three minutes for a 137 bus.
Later in the day I had to drive out of the centre.
Still no real snow on the roads and maybe a centimetre or two along the edges.
On one hand we've been better at clearing it this time, but on another I'm wondering if there was really that much 'down south' compared with last January?
Still. It looks better on the weather maps to show a foot of snow around the capital, especially on a Friday.
...and here's conditions right now in London