4 December 2012

I woke up this morning to a storybook sight - white snow blanketing the street and the houses, and perching precariously on the tree branches outside my window.

I was about to leave for work, but I figured this could be the only snow we get this year, so I took the long way to work via the river side park.

Things I learnt:

  • The day is not as cold as I thought it would have to be for snow.
  • Any house can look like a gingerbread house when it snows, so long as it has a pointed roof .
  • When snow piles up on trees it has to come down eventually, and this is mostly achieved by melting and dripping on your head.
  • With snow on the streets comes ice on the footpaths and slow acrobatic walks to work.
  • Snow that has been trodden on repeatedly is just as slippery as ice.
  • Apparently it is possible to cycle in snow without falling off.
  • I get the point of conifers now.  They look much better dressed in snow.
  • England really does grind to a halt after unexpected snowfall.  Walking is the best mode of transportation in snow.

My place is the green house in the middle.

Snow on flowers.  Not the best timing plant.
I got to work about 10am, and many people were either staying home or coming in after lunch because they couldn't drive or their bus didn't run.  It turned out that the snowfall was unexpected and therefore the salt/grit trucks hadn't been out and salted the roads, and to make matters worse the snow started during peak hour traffic, so there wasn't any time to mobilise the grit trucks.  Those who could, walked to work - it was faster than going by car. 

While the snow caused chaos for a few hours things were back to normal by the afternoon.  A combination of salt, grit, and sunshine making the roads drivable again.  I was told that in places where snow is more frequent people have a set of tyres for winter and summer, but here it is so uncommon that people don't do that, and they aren't allowed to use chains when driving on the roads, so it really is down to accurate weather forecasts and gritting and salting the roads in time.

The main road to town.

A very brave cyclist!

Walking to work through the park.

On my way to work I walked past the duck pond.  There were heaps of ducks, seagulls, swans, and coots all swimming in the water, avoiding the frozen areas.  But as I came over some of the ducks got out, in the hope I had some food for them, I suppose, and waddled across the snow.  What an odd sight!  They didn't seem at all discomforted by the snow though, the hardy little things, and here I was wrapped up in my winter coat, gloves, scarf, hat, and gumboots.
The ducks didn't seem at all disturbed by the snow.

The market in Chelmsford.
It didn't melt till it rained a couple of days later.

The view from my the next morning.

This is another thing I can cross off my list of things I wanted to see while I was here - proper snow where I live.  I can also cross off 'walking to work in -5c' and 'buying snowboots' (though the latter wasn't on my list to begin with I think it's an odd enough thing to have to do that it qualifies for a place).


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