South Park Self

from all of us here waist deep in the snow of Sherwood Forest

The jolly wintry LiveJournal header bar mocks me, it does, what with its jolly snowman and pretty snowflakes and its gently curvy landscape under snow. (a) It's bloody hot here, and I'm post-gastric and very fragile, and (b) my poor dear mother is stuck in London under umpteen feet of snow, her flight to Cape Town last night having coincided, with mathematical precision, with Heathrow closing down for 24 hours because of snow on the runways. The first replacement flight they can offer her is the 24th December, thus neatly knocking out half of her fairly short holiday. I think that "I'm miffed" is not only an understatement, it's a fractional stab at what she must be feeling.

I hate to break it to you, Britain, but this feathery white stuff falls out of the sky approximately annually, and proceeds to pile up into pretty, incommodious drifts in a fairly predictable and characteristic fashion. It may also have escaped your attention that you're a major international hub for air travel and its associated climate-destroying effects, to the extent where flying into Heathrow always gives me chills simply because of the number of planes I can count in the sky with mine. (They're awfully close and move awfully fast and even insane amphetamine-laced air traffic controllers have to nod sometimes, and besides, the mere fact that there are eight other airborne planes within view as we circle means there are too bloody many of us and we travel too bloody often in insanely wasteful and clumsy ways). The two above effects being noted, do you think it's too much to hope that you'd have something vaguely resembling a crisis plan in place, one which doesn't involve thousands of people sleeping on the floor in your incredibly ugly and rather filthy terminals? Particularly since air travel has a rampaging carbon footprint in giant hobnailed boots, which in turn contributes to global warming and all its merry effects, such as wilder weather extremes and, for example, ALL THIS BLOODY SNOW.

I hasten to add that my poor dear mother is not, in fact, sleeping on the floor in Heathrow, she fortunately has friends nearby and is being put up in considerably more comfort. But I resent being deprived of six days of her company by a noxious confluence of overpopulation, inefficiency and climate change. It pushes all my buttons at once, with a fine, ham-fisted indifference. Phooey.
  • Current Mood: annoyed lashing my tail like a leopard
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.. where "umpteen" is probably equal to around 0.4 in this case.

for me, Virgin Atlantic is now the Grinch that stole Christmas. I'm not even joking, I'm crushed.
I'm really sorry that it's removed your holiday entirely; I assume your work-return parameters were different to my mother's? Or is she simply unduly fired by maternal enthusiasm to trek out here even if it's only for ten days?
Mine would have been nine days, and taken away the 5 working days during which I hoped to get things done.

Given the amount that I paid for the trip, that reduction wasn't worth it.

Maybe I should have settled for that, but I did not.
Weeeell but you see, these incommodious drifts are exactly the opposite of predictable and characteristic. Speaking as someone who's been living pretty close to Heathrow for around 5 years now, we just don't get this much snow, like, ever - even when the rest of London is all white and pretty, which is also very, very seldom.

Crisis plan, yes, that would be nice, but I do wonder what exactly that would involve. Last winter's mega snow (well, it was mega then, so far this winter is doing very well at making it look paltry) had a crippling effect on much of Europe - even some parts of it that are very well used to snow - because there simply wasn't enough grit and salt to go round. It's all very well to moan that councils, airports etc should simply "be prepared" but you can only prepare for things that seem like a reasonable probability. I mean, nobody here is preparing for earthquakes, for instance.

Having said all that though, I had been predicting ultra-mega snow to fall this winter based purely on the tendency of the past few years. Not very scientific at all, but it does rather play into the "you SEE this is climate change, this is" belief, and it would be nice if powers that be could make a similarly thumb-sucky type guess and, I dunno, stockpile grit and stuff. Just in case.

Also, v sorry to hear of your mother's and strawb's travel woes. Horrid.
No worries! I was going to come back with a snarky comment along the lines of "Hey! don't interrupt a good rant by trying to introduce an entirely unwanted note of realism into it!"

I do think, thought, that the more Big Important Businessmen who are inconvenienced by extreme weather conditions, the more likely we are to see big corporate interests actually start to do something about emissions and climate change.
Don't forget that strawberryfrog has been scouring Europe to find a suitable flight and the whole damn continent's snowed in.

If you're planning to rant and rage for no good reason, why not spread it around a little?
I consider I have an excellent reason to rant and rage. I didn't on behalf of Frog because I wasn't aware of his tribulations at the time that I got my rant on, although I should have had dinner with him last night, so consider me narked in broader terms.
There have been poor Brits stranded overseas, trying to get back home to Heathrow, and others trapped in transit, caught at Heathrow on their way somewhere else. All a bit of a disaster, really.

It does look pretty though; I guess we just dont get it enough to handle it properly.

Hope your mother manages to sort something out.

Heathrow airport and the airports will apologise profusely, but it won't stop happening unless they are severely and financially penalised for letting it happen.
All part of the gamble of travelling in December in the N hemisphere!

In 'their' defense - this is the worst weather I've seen since I've moved here. 6" in 2 hours is almost unheard of, at least since the great Freeze of 1963. Really.

If it were the usual moaning, I'd be right with you, but this is *almost* understandable.

There's just not the infrastructure to cope with more than 1" of snow on alternate lunar eclipse conjunctions with the solstice...

If she's still stuck tomorrow, let me know.
The thing is, it's the worst weather ever, pretty much every year. Climate change being what it is, and all. If nothing else, they should be learning to expect unexpected extremes.

My mother is staying with friends in London, and has been rebooked for Christmas Eve, arriving Christmas Day. Fortunately we're not big on giant Christmas celebrations in my family so it won't disrupt anything much ;>.