The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 2 February 2009

Completely Off Topic Rant-ette

As days go, it was not the most successful on record.

Just after the alarm had trilled in my ear, raising me from my slumber, I glanced at the weather station next to the bed. Seven and a half degrees is not overly warm for a bedroom is it? It didn’t make me want to jump out of bed, but I couldn’t let my sister down as I had said that I would accompany her to an appointment today, so I braced myself for the cold and ran to the shower.

At 8am I was standing in an inch or two of snow waiting for the bus. It duly arrived, a few minutes later than expected, but not wildly delayed. Alas, things did not continue so well. At the time we left the village we should have been in Burton. By the time we arrived in Burton town centre, I should have been on a train, across town.

Slip sliding my way across the empty shopping centre car park, I made a faster than necessary transfer to the station (the next train being half an hour hence), purely to try to keep warm, even though my attire featured Merino wool, fleece and two pairs of socks (long johns would have been a good plan too, with all that snow hitting me).

Time was killed in the waiting room, then I groaned as I heard the announcement that my train was delayed. By missing the earlier train I was already cutting it fine.

It finally arrived and hoping that the sign on the front and those in the carriages were wrong (saying it was going to Nottingham, not Birmingham), on I got. Happily, the signs were wrong, but it went so very, verrrrrry slooooooowwwwwwly.

In the space of eight minutes around 10am there were no less than three trains leaving Brum for Wolverhampton. They would all have got me there in time to make the appointment. I missed the last one by two minutes, giving me a twenty minute wait.

A phone call was made to my sister, asking her to try to rearrange the appointment for fifteen minutes later. A text a few minutes later told me she had been successful. Big sigh of relief – I hate being late.

By good fortune, the later train was exactly on time, and in Wolves I found my sister patiently waiting for me.

We made haste in poor road conditions (noting that as we crossed the border that South Staffs had bothered with gritting, unlike Wolverhampton), and were early for the revised appointment time.

Into the building we went and asked for the appropriate people.

“Oh, the meeting has been cancelled. They couldn’t get here because of the weather.”

I glared. It had taken me over three hours to cover the 30 miles, and had cost me more money than I care to waste on unnecessary journeys – but the real annoyance was that none of the other parties had the common courtesy to phone my sister to tell her that they couldn’t make it.

Through heavy snow and covered roads, back to the train station I went, for me to make the return journey, praying that by the time I reached Burton the buses would still be running. I would have been happy to walk home, except that I was wearing entirely inappropriate trousers for such a walk, and thus was rather eager to be able to get a bus that was at least going somewhere in my direction.

The bus was running. It did omit the untreated roads (but after the scary skitey-bits experience earlier, that was a good thing), and I got home in much quicker time than the outward journey.

The temperature in the house had fallen to 7 degrees by the time I got home. A fire was lit, the heating was put into action, an oil-filled radiator was found and my down jacket was put to good use until the former three tactics had taken effect.

I think that I got home just in time. At 4.30pm I ventured outside with a measuring stick. Five inches was the answer. It continued to snow heavily for some time afterwards too, and the ongoing battle to keep the road outside clear was slowly lost.

Incidentally, as far as I’m aware the hideousness of my outbound journey was nothing to do with the snow that had by that time fallen. It was more to do with the bus meeting a dustbin cart at an unfortunate point on its route. It took the best part of ten minutes of following it slowly up the road until we were able to pass. The delay on the train was, in my experience, common for that route (I’d love to see its stats; either they are appalling, or I’m exceptionally unlucky).

So despite all of the travel doom and gloom on the news, my experience today was that the local public transport did an admirable job. It was just one of those days when other circumstances conspired against.

(And I’m still spitting about the ignorance of people that cancel meetings, even if for valid reasons, and fail to communicate that cancellation in a timely manner! Grrrrr.)


  1. Yess..... people have no reason not to communicate these days. I've spent today telling my new 'little darlings' to make sure they call in if they get snow-bound. Aberdeen has its own micro-climate, so we can have balmy weather, but someone is up to their oxters in snow just 10 miles away.

    I think I'll be looking out my trail-shoes tomorrow. No snow in the city just now, but it has been threatening, and I've been watching the cameras at

  2. I would have looked at the cameras at yesterday (fretting about Mick's journey over the Pennines on his behalf), except that they were suffering from the weather too (or rather, the site couldn't cope with the number of people who, like me, wanted to look at the weather).