Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why are we so crap?

Pity my poor parents, stuck in an airport hotel for yet another night I took them to Edinburgh Airport last night, as the first wisps of snow began to flutter down from the dark sky. I had offered to drive them there this morning, in time for their flight, but Dad's done enough five am starts to last a lifetime, and so decided to book in to the airport Hilton the night before flying.

Normally this would have been a sound strategy, but early this morning a band of snow swept across southern England, and so the whole of the UK has been forced to grind to a halt. The flight that was meant to take my parents to Heathrow was cancelled, but luckily they were able to get onto an earlier one, delayed by the weather. Sadly the chaos at the nation's premier gateway was such that the earlier flight didn't arrive until well after their ongoing connection to Florida. Apparently the shuttle service between Heathrow terminals was not working properly either, as they then had to make several long journeys on foot back and forth until they finally made it to the right check-in desk. They've been given a hotel room for the night, but technological hiccups mean they only get one breakfast voucher between the two of them. Since they've got to be back in the terminal at six tomorrow morning, that's not as much of a problem as it could be. But it confirms my dad's opinion that when travelling abroad by airplane it is best to avoid Heathrow at all costs.

And the crazy thing is that there wasn't all that much snow there anyway, and certainly not enough at Edinburgh to warrant any kind of delay. But we're so crap when it comes to snow that the whole country just collapses into a frenzy of panic. Schools close; people forget how to drive their cars; airports seize up; and the newspapers print pictures of children sledging and throwing snowballs. We had a week's warning it was coming, too. And still everyone acts as if it was a big surprise. It's madness, I say.

And I should know, for now I'm going to get on my bicycle and head to Newburgh, there to meet up with my little brother,* then cycle to the pub. Yes, it's dark outside, and snowing. It should be fun.

* who, I'm sure I've said before, is bigger than me.

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