Now that Edinburgh has been in the grip of the severe winter weather for almost a week it seems like a good time to review the situation so far.
So how has it been for you? Are you still frolicking in the snow in the park? Or like the occupants of the flats above, have you been holed up indoors for days?
It's been chaos for travellers - days after the first flurries fell, routes are closed and Edinburgh Airport is still not open and the Forth Road Bridge was closed for the first time in living memory. Do you think that Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish government are handling the "unprecedented" snowfall as well as they possibly can?
Gallery is being upgraded...
Generally people have been fairly stoic about the snow and the cold weather - in some cases they have remained holed up in their house or flat and not ventured out - providing the food holds out! The Council appear to have responded well and most roads are passable, but those who venture off the main and well used routes often find themselves in trouble. The slopes of the Edinburgh hills do give motorists and some lorries great difficulty. I saw one large lorry which has ventured into one of the small streets off Thistle Street with only a small gradient and was abandoned by the driver who went to call for help. But generally people get themselves sorted out and there is a sense of comradeship in adversity.
A lot of people are staying at home and a good number of meetings and other events have been cancelled to avoid people having to take the risk of travelling. I know of several large social occasions which have simply been cancelled. It is a pity for the caterers as this must be lost revenue which will be hard to replace. However most restaurants are functioning and those who do get out find that they are pleasantly uncrowded! There were a fair number of shoppers in Princes Street yesterday who were taking advantage of the shops not being too busy.
There is steady snow here as I write this and the forecast is that no end is in sight to this cold period. It is said to be the longest cold snap for well over forty years.
Saw someone skiiing past my window t' other day. It looks delightful for young dogs and humans but seeing single elderly struggling with their shopping is a reminder it's not so much fun for some. One (less than) cheering observation - the salt used on Britain's (and I guess most other roads) becomes ineffective at -7 degrees. If these conditions become common, and Cancun notwithstanding they well may, it looks like time to re-consider how we do ( rather than as at present don't) deal with severe weather conditions.
I have been enjoying the snow and had relatively no trouble getting to work but I will always love how there is always panic and no preparation for this weather...technical advancements mean weather predictions are getting better and this was expected...I remember seeing little lines of salt on the streets a few days before the snow started and thought to myself...yeah that'll win against the forces of naature!
The UK is rubbish with the elements. A colleage of mine is stuck in Sweden du eto airport closure. It's ridiculous. Sweden has five times the amount of snow and -10, but airports have been open.
TV commentator this morning actually advising people to stay in the warm and not go to work...I thought it was snow not a zombie apocalypse!
The weather is not ideal but life doesn't have to stop, and if your young and fit make sure elderly neighbours have everything they need and pop over to the shop for them.
The pictures are beautiful and earlier today I shouted at myself for forgeting my camera as a man and two beautiful siberian huskies walked past me, looking like they were in their element :)
I'm not going to pretend I like this kind of weather but, like anything else, I make the most of it. It's not kept me in! A good pair of wellies and thinsulation are de rigeur! Not an option for everyone I know.
We have, as ever, been caught on the hop as if snow is some kind of phenemenon and not an annual occurrence in some form or other. I have noticed that, like in bright warm sunshine, people seem to be more communicative in these severe conditions. Good neighbours abound!
I was in M & S this afternoon and there was not a loaf of bread in sight. Let's hope it's not due to panic buying - a very selfish activity. While waiting at the bus stop heading home, from an unknown source, the far too loud sound of Slade (on the second day of Advent too!) made me turn heels and walk through the nearby Square's quiet snow. There's a lilac tree near me that has grown in to an arc over the pavement and looks quite magical. A passer by remarked that the sight of it made things seem not so bad. Hear , hear!
That's 2 days we've had a bright sky so a bit of a thaw - in places. The result is a variety of crunched snow, deep dirty slush, sheer ice and the odd bit of cleared and gritted pavement where folk can stride out at a near normal pace. In spite of these hurdles, the toon is fair breengin wi fowk. My chum and I found it hard to get a place to sit for coffee as everywhere was filled with scarved and jumpered groups well ensconced round cosy tables.
Children love seeing their footprints in the snow, breaking new ground with their patterned wellie boot soles. (Some of us still do that at a mound of fresh snow when nobody's about!) And we're not alone. The other night, two foxes were either fighting or playing in the snow in a nearby building site, making a whirling, menacing furry circle. They had gone next time I passed, but the snow clad mounds of builders' materials were covered in vulpine pawprints.
Visitors to the Capital migt get the impression in the city centre that the streets are being cleared, but a daunder away from there tells a different story. Residents are still struggling in the messy mix of conditions. Let's hope there's no repetition of last year when bins did not get emptied.
Meantime, get that extra ganzie on!