Thursday, 2 December 2010

Down to earth with a bump......

Now that the snow has finally hit London it has become headline news, dominating the news channels each competing to find the coldest parts of the UK and provide doom laden forecasts on how much worse the weather is going to become. If I have understood them right, temperatures could drop as low as -85 degrees and this cold snap could last well into the next century. Children are likely to grow up uneducated as all the schools are closed and basic provisions like caviar and champagne could run out within months.

Until yesterday my firm view was that weather was not in fact news, it was just weather. This was mainly because until yesterday the snow in the UK had only affected the East coast of the UK and other than some intense frosts, Manchester remained largely unaffected. This was bound to change at some point and that point was bound to coincide with my early morning trip to London for an important presentation.

I awoke at 5am and looked outside to see that somebody had replaced my urban metropolis with a fully formed Arctic Tundra. Snow flakes were dropping like stones due to the sheer size of them and I could just about make out my Land Rover beneath the several feet of snow. Being a hardy northerner, I set about digging the car out and then sat in the car with my engine running with the heating on full, weeping like a small child at the intense cold that had permeated my body. Eventually I thawed and the snow on my front and back windscreens had cleared enough for me see three feet in front of me.

I changed the driving setting to 'slippery as shit' and set off down the hill where we live towards the train station where my journey to London commenced. I had only turned the first bend when I noticed a BMW abandoned in the middle of the road blocking my exit. After beeping my horn for a couple of minutes, to the annoyance of my neighbours the owner of the car eventually emerged from his house.

"Do you want to get past?"

I assumed his question was rhetorical and said nothing until it became obvious he was in fact expecting an answer.


"I'll try, but I'm stuck"

I offered to give him a push and got out of my car whilst simultaneously realising that my work shoes were not necessarily the best footwear for the task I was about to undertake. I skated over to his car, performing two triple toe loops on the way and assumed the position that I have seen real men adopt when they are about to push a car.

The useless fop started to rev his engine causing the real wheels to spin like fury covering me in a deluge of brown slushy snow, head to foot. The shock of this assault on my senses caused me to stagger backwards and my banana-like shoes gave up any pretence of being connected to the ground and before I knew it I was on my arse and my head clattered against the road.

I had two more abortive attempts at pushing his car before giving up. I got back in my car and drove through a neighbours garden in order to get around him. It wasn't a smart move and I'm not proud of myself but I had to make my train and I wasn't about to let some idiot stop me from making it through. He seemed happy as I drove off and he even offered me his thanks by gesticulating with two fingers.

The journey to the station was a doddle, there was no traffic on the roads and the cars I did see were equally adept at driving in snowy weather. I arrived at the station with minutes to spare only to find my train delayed by 40 minutes. By the time the Virgin Pendolino arrived I was frozen solid and I huddled in my seat eventually feeling my circulation return. Naturally, there was an announcement stating that not hot drink or food was available for the journey.

Two hours later I arrived in Euston and began to hack my way across London to the South West where my customer was located. There was no snow anywhere but my boss called me to tell me that just 30 miles to the  South East of London she was completely snowed in.

I made the meeting with minutes to spare, presented to my customer over the course of two hours and then made the return journey, which took just two hours back from London to Manchester and then a further one hour, forty five minutes to drive the four miles from Stockport station to our house in Cheadle.

I learnt my lesson today and worked from home.

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