Saturday, 18 December 2010

Maybe They Should Stick To Goats And Donkeys...

The travelling circus that is the European Parliament decamped to Strasbourg this week.

I happen to love Strasbourg, so it is not such a problem for me, but it is a heck of a drive each month, and a bit of a problem finding hotel rooms sometimes.

The journey back was one of those nightmares we get each year, as this whole adventure involves contact with two mountain ranges - the Voges and the Ardennes. And Oh Boy can it snow there!

Driving through France is fine, and in Luxembourg, when the snow really hit on Thursday, I was impressed by the way they cleared the snow almost before it landed, and then took swift action to take all the lorries off the road. If only it were always so.

Then I crossed the border into Belgium. No snowploughs, no salting, just snowdrifts and a 20mph drive across the ice.  Every so often there would be a car crashed or abandoned - always with Belgian plates - and it was a nasty and long slog. Driving in Belgium is always an unpleasant experience, but this was one of the worst.

1 comment:

  1. In the UK we are now in the midst of a 2nd heavy snowfall since November 27th.

    Apparently, it was as long ago as 1930 that the weather has been so bad during the month of December.

    You would think that with two and half million unemployed in the UK something could be organised so that the roads and pavements are made safer for people when we have heavy snowfalls.

    Not so.

    Yes, we have people specifically employed to grit the roads but at catastrophic times like now when the snowfall is severe and heavy, more help is needed.

    Why cannot these unemployed folk be utilized?

    The trouble is the British unemployed do not take kindly to being made to work at jobs they don't like!

    However, I am sure if it was 'voluntary', and encouraged with the words, 'doing your bit for the country ....',then maybe some would volunteer.

    We had the bizarre situation some weeks ago of soldiers clearing pavements of snow, which I think is quite a ridiculous ..... get the young unemployed men out on the streets instead, and get them doing some hard graft!

    The trouble is, here in the UK, everyone is obsessed with 'human rights'. A fit unemployed person being compelled to clear the pavements of snow would be considered to have his human rights violated in some way, and would no doubt make an appeal to some government department, and make a big song and dance about it, with the British newspapers joining in. Though a few weeks later the same newspapers will be complaining that the unemployed should be making themselves useful.

    I'm sure too, that there are a lot of fit retired people wouldn't mind contributing.

    I remember on my visit to the former Soviet Union in 1979 seeing old ladies clearing the snow. Despite it being January and the temperature well below zero I never slipped once and had no trouble negotiating the streets of Leningrad.

    That visit to Leningrad was memorable not for the fact that I was followed for 2 hours by a suspicious looking man who my fellow holidaymakers thought must be from the KGB.

    I wasen't afraid, I just thought it was exciting.

    I think 33 years later I would think differently.

    I would recommend a visit to Russia in wintertime, and if you get the opportunity of taking a sleigh ride, do take it, it's great!