In my previous post, I mentioned that we had one centimetre of snow which caused chaos. I also mentioned that in my part of the country, if that snow stayed with us for more than 24 hours we had experienced a harsh winter!
Well, the very next morning, that one centimetre turned into twenty centimetres!
And was the chaos twenty times worse than the previous day?
Oh yes – you bet it was.
I love the snow and everything it brings with it. I guess the trouble is, this country just doesn’t experience enough of it to learn how to cope with it and so we grind to a halt. We don’t invest enough into dealing with it because it is deemed too expensive for such rare occurrences. Although, the amount we have had in 2010 at both ends of the year has been quite excessive!
There was a sad note to my joy of the snow when it arrived in the early hours of last Thursday. I was due to attend the funeral of a young friend. Someone I had known for more than twenty years and with whom I had performed in several shows. Unfortunately it had to be postponed because the staff at the crematorium were unable to get there.
However, his wife and several friends gathered to celebrate his life in a ‘dress rehearsal’ for later this week.
Meanwhile, back to the latest snowfall.
24 hours after the heavy snowfall, a new day started with out a cloud in the sky. Beautiful sunshine glinting on every tiny little snow flake resting on the ground; the tree tops and the roof tops. Long icicles hanging from the lampposts and traffic lights looking like Christmas lights brightly glowing in a snow casing.
I ventured to work as the trains were running, no limping a service of sorts.
However, it was my journey home which was to prove a greater challenge.
The sun had been shining all morning, but the temperature had not really climbed above zero. And that was enough of an excuse to reduce the already basic service.
I had been monitoring the train service on the website all morning and as lunch approached, the departure board turned red with cancellation after cancellation. It seemed that I was now stuck in the office facing the prospect of a very long walk to get home. However, I didn’t trust the website and made my way to the station to see for myself.
And what I saw was the reduced service from earlier in the day still running. I had just missed a train, but was assured the next would be leaving in thirty minutes. There were now just two trains an hour. The station I was waiting at had become the starting and ending point for all services – nothing was going west from that station, and nothing was coming in from the west. But that was OK, because I was going east!
So there I was, standing on a bitterly cold platform, counting down the minutes to the next departure. And because this station was now the ‘end of the line’ for all trains, I just had to watch for the train coming from the east knowing that would be my train.
We had been given a departure time, and that was clearly showing on the electronic departure board. Ten minutes before the departure time, the train arrived at the opposite platform – as expected. All that had to happen now was that the train would leave the station going towards the west, cross the tracks at the points just outside the station and return on the correct side.
And sure enough that is what happened.
The train pulled out of the station and crossed the tracks at the points all in full view of the expectant commuters now assembled on the east bound platform.
However, it never returned!
And not a word was said until the train became ten minutes overdue, when a slightly apologetic voice came over the public address system to announce the train was being delayed at this station.
You don’t say!
This was followed by an even more apologetic voice telling us that the delay was due to the train being, and I quote, ‘rebooted’!
Well, I don’t know what type of computer they run on these tracks, but it was another ninety minutes before that train arrived. The commuters on the platform were by this point beyond caring, as we had all shut down ourselves as it was so cold. We could hardly move as our joints had frozen. The men with beards had frost on them, and those without beards had now grown them!
The train doors slid open and the platform emptied as everyone rushed for the relative warmth of the recently rebooted train. Bodies slumped into the seats waiting to thaw out on the journey towards the comfort of their own homes.
The train was due to make twelve stops en route to the final destination in the east. My stop was eighth on the list; plenty of time to get warm before the short walk at the other end.
But for some that journey was short lived. Before the train doors were able to close an announcement came over the train’s public address system. The journey, despite still heading east, and still heading for the final destination as planned, was now only incorporating four stops.
Fortunately for me, my stop was one of the four, and was now second on the list, but for many others, they faced the choice of getting off and waiting for another train which could be right behind us (incredibly unlikely as there were no trains coming from the west) or getting off at one of the four stops in a hope they would be closer to home and therefore nearly warm again.
Needless to say I made it home; lit a nice fire and spent the evening thawing out. And also needless to say, within a few hours of arriving home, the rain came and washed away all the snow!
Normal service resumed then! 😉