strange_complex: (Anas Penelope)
The news has been full of travel woes of all sorts today, but I was particularly struck by this picture, which has been featuring on various BBC News reports today:


That's the jack-knifed lorry I drove past on the right (southbound) carriage-way there, while the car in the middle lane on the northbound carriage-way could literally be mine. It's too dark and blurry to tell, of course, and the odds of it actually being mine in reality are low - but I think I was in that lane at that point, and it looks plausibly like the rear view of a red Honda Jazz.

Anyway, it's a striking memento of a situation I hope never to experience again. Feel free to imagine me sitting inside that car, saying words like "Jesus Effing Christ on a bike!" a lot as I took in the scene to my right.

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What fun!

Friday, 26 December 2014 23:52
strange_complex: (Claudia Cardinale car)
What fun it is when you're driving along the motorway, and you can't tell whether or not you are properly in a lane because you can't see the white lines under all the snow!

What fun to discover that when you try to correct your position, the car starts skidding!

And to realise that all of the other drivers around you have no more control over their cars than you do!

And to gradually see the illuminated signs which are telling you that there are hazardous driving conditions and that a temporary speed limit of 40mph is in force disappearing behind a coating of snow!

And when what would normally be a 2h15m journey takes closer to 4 hours because even 40mph is in fact way too fast in weather like that, so that you have to do most of it at more like 20-30 miles an hour.

And seeing at least 15 vehicles at the side of the road with their hazard flashers on during that time, only one of which was being attended to by a repair van, and three of which were in actively dangerous positions.

And driving past an articulated lorry which had jack-knifed across all four lanes of the opposite carriage-way, complete with a van and a car smashed into the side of it.

What fun!

I'm glad to say I am safely back home in Leeds now, but that was easily the worst drive I have ever done. I very definitely wouldn't have set off if I'd had the faintest idea it would get that bad, but Birmingham was merely slushy, with the snow that had fallen earlier in the evening actively melting; and weather reports had told me the same was true in Leeds, which was perfectly accurate. It was just everything in between that was the problem - and by the time I discovered that, it was way too late...

Update: obviously I couldn't take a picture, as I was driving, but this person did:


They were clearly heading in the opposite direction to me, and didn't know yet about the jack-knifed lorry causing the jam. Just horrible, all round.

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Snow!

Wednesday, 1 March 2006 16:16
strange_complex: (Saturnalian Santa)
Wow, it is seriously snowing here in Oxenmaford! The air is thick with it, it's settling (certainly on the grass), and we're buried underneath a blanket of surly grey clouds which promise that this will continue for some time.

I know one young man who'll be most chuffed.

strange_complex: (Purple and black phone)
Ah! It's snowing! :-)



strange_complex: (Default)
Walked into work this morning through snow, both on the ground and falling thickly from the sky. Luckily, I had the good sense to look out of the window before I decided what shoes to wear, so I chose appropriately, and since I only live 10 minutes' walk away from work anyway, it didn't really bother me.

I'm sure it's adversely affecting some people, though, and I feel particularly sorry for those who've now got transport problems to add to exam stress. None of my own students actually have exams today, but it is currently exam season both throughout Queen's and for all those pursuing GCSEs and A-Levels. So sympathies to anyone on my friends list who woke up this morning and thought 'Bugger, that's the last thing I need' rather than 'Ooh! Snow!!'.
strange_complex: (Default)
Ooh, so it did snow in the end, even in Birmingham! I thought for a while there that the whole of the rest of the country was going to get it, but not us.

I have just been watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, taped from earlier in the evening, sitting as I did so in the middle of the lounge floor wrapped up in a huge double quilt, with glowing embers in the hearth and various chocs and other goodies spread out around me. I often seem to end up watching films late at night in this fashion over Christmas, and there is, in my opinion, no better way to do so.

Presents were multiple and all delightful. I'm glad to read that [livejournal.com profile] stompyboots got a stocking, because that means it's OK to admit that my sister and I still get them too. Much of the stuff contained therein tends to be useful / practical these days: e.g. washing-up gloves, a micro-umbrella or spare electric toothbrush heads. But Santa also brought me various types of chocolate, two sets of postcards of Roman things in the British Museum, an 'Earth from the Air' calendar and some body-spray.

Tree presents (i.e. presents from family members, placed under the tree on Christmas Eve) included some very posh make-up from my sister: a deep purple Sephora lipstick, and a mauve, shimmery Chanel eyeshadow. I don't think I've ever owned anything Chanelesque before, so that was very exciting, and both were worn for Xmas dinner in the evening. From my auntie Pat I got some dangly earrings, and from my uncle Duncan a £10 book token. And Mum and Dad got me a guinea-pig calendar (I was a very enthusiastic guinea-pig owner as a child, and would love to live somewhere where I could have them again now), and DVDs of A Tale of Two Cities (1958) and Moulin Rouge (1952), both featuring... what, you guessed? Also a special mug to make proper filter coffee in at work, a Boots gift card (the modern equivalent of a gift-token, it seems), a CD of my equal-favourite (with David Cordier) countertenor, Robin Blaze singing music by William Byrd, including one track called 'Constant Penelope' (in fact, it turns out to be a translation of a poem by Ovid), and four books: 'Brighton Rock' and 'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene, 'The White Goddess' by Robert Graves' and 'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne Jones.

And finally... could this be the best of all? I now own this pony (Star Catcher).

As for the day itself, the morning was spent first opening our stockings, and then baking and eating croissants from ready-made dough which you can buy in funny carboard tubes. They tasted very nice, actually: easily as good as buying them fresh from a boulangerie, and possibly even better.

Then I boiled down stock from the giblets which came with the duck we'd be having in the evening, while simultaneously doing general pottering, showering and fire-lighting. Lunch was a selection of cold bits and pieces: much of it still left over from our party on the 23rd! Then, after lunch, we were finally allowed to open our tree presents: something of which much ceremony is made in our family, with each person getting given a pile of their own presents, and then sitting in a circle and opening them turn by turn. People who want to really spin it out and make the others fume may open only a card on their turn... or, if they're my Dad, they leap straight in to the biggest present on their first go.

Finally, we cooked our duck, and had our proper Christmas meal in the evening. Everyone agreed it came out really well, with an excellent bitter orange sauce (which is what the stock was needed for), as directed by Delia. We finished with Christmas pudding, properly set alight with brandy and all (this bit is always my job - yay!), and then sat round with brandy and port as the last tinkles rang out on our angel chimes.

Now it is nearly 2 in the morning, so I rather think I ought to put my head down. Even though it's not Christmas here any more, I never quite like to go to bed on Christmas evening... After all, when I wake up, it will only be boring old Boxing Day, and another 364 days to go until the magic comes round again.

Oh: or a mere 356 until the next Saturnalia, of course!

Nighty-night, peeps.

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