So, just a few days ago, I foolishly wrote that we can always expect a day or two of cold weather in the UK and why make a fuss. Last weekend was cool but pleasant and the wife and I enjoyed a couple of days in the Cotswolds. Coming home everything changed and it has been day after freezing, snow-filled day, since with no immediate end in view. We have had the usual run of school closures, motorists forced to sleep in their cars and stupid estimates about the "cost" to the country. Even in beautiful Ruislip there was a healthy dollop of snow on Monday and a good 4 inches yesterday, with a really sharp frost last night and the lowest temperature in the morning, at -6c, that my garden thermometer has recorded.
The tube has performed reasonably well. Delays and cancellations on the exposed outer lines but some sort of service has been maintained throughout. The cold seems to have done something to the communications though. This morning, arriving at Harrow on a city-bound Metropolitan, our driver apologised that he was no longer running a fast Aldgate but a slow to Baker Street. He also complained that, as usual, nobody had actually told him that his train's schedule had altered, and he had deduced where he was going by looking at the station indicator boards. Simultaneously the station announcer informed us that we were on a fast Aldgate. We did indeed run down the slow track but, and here's the kicker, we pulled into Baker Street on the through platform and miraculously turned into an Aldgate after all. (Not that I care because I change at Baker Street anyway).
The biggest problem where I live is the icy streets. Although the roads have been gritted and are in good shape, pavements away from the shopping areas are covered in a layer of hard ice with snow or slush on top. Very treacherous to walk over (as I discovered whilst making my way to Pinner station, having dropped my car off for a minor repair) and I congratulate those of my fellow commuters who sported heavy boots this morning.
This weekend I will have to buy some de-icer. I can't remember the last time I bought any - I had the vague idea that there were spare bottles in the house and the garage but of course when I actually needed the stuff there was just a half bottle left and that has nearly gone. Presumably panic buyers will have cleared the shelves so it may have to be a black market job from a spiv with a bulging overcoat who has bottles and scrapers stashed away inside.