Saturday, 9 January 2010

The big chill

OK - its not such a big chill on a global scale, but yesterday morning when I got up, the air temperature outside was -8 degrees, the coldest it has been locally for 15 years.
The window at the back of the garage is single glazed and the frosting on the pane was fascinating, I had not seen that type of frosting on glass for years. The countryside temperature was between -10 and -12 and in the Highlands of Scotland the lowest recorded temperature this week was -21.6 ; quite cool.
The problem is not the cool temperature, but the time that it has remained below zero. A thin layer of ice, covered in a smear of snow has remained on the ground for over a week. It is a long time since we have had such a long cold spell in the UK and it seems to be continuing.
The roads are passable as the main bus routes are well gritted. It is OK for an old hand like me, but there is a whole generation of drivers (especially city drivers) who have no concept of driving in snow and ice like this. It has been a steep learning curve for many younger drivers, who often cause unnecessary traffic problems due to inexperience.
Today we ventured into the city centre to do some shopping and visit the Potteries Museum (good cafe). The pavements had been gritted, but at these temperatures, the ice had turned to slippy slush and the crisp snow was much safer to walk on. There has been a mild flurry of snow and the temperatures are set to drop again tonight, so the heating will be turned up and the cats litter tray will be placed in the kitchen overnight (they are quite adverse to the cold weather).

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