Out of London: It’s snow joke

(Auf Deutsch lesen) As you may have noticed, Leipzig was covered in a layer of snow last week. I certainly noticed. Being an Englishman, I’m not terribly used to cold weather, at least not like that. When I came to Leipzig in the summer, fresh off the train from London, the city was bathed in beautiful sunshine, with temperatures that soothed my spirit and relaxed my body. Back then, I could not imagine the snow, the ice and the bitter cold that was to come in winter. I was caught completely by surprise. And having only ever seen such terrible weather on television, I was keen to experience it for myself.

Kolumne von Peter Clubb

Having come for a summer holiday and just sort of stayed, my summer wardrobe of shorts and brightly coloured T-shirts weren’t really up to the job of keeping me warm. I spent an hour getting dressed (yes it is possible to wear eight pairs of pants in case you had ever wondered) putting on everything I owned and ventured outside, expecting to be alone in the blizzard.

IMG_0520

Wintertime
Foto: Franziska Gaube

You see, I remember last year, when I was living in London, when a foot of snow (15 cm for you continental types) came from nowhere and rested on the streets. People panicked, having never seen so much snow before, and speaking in one loud voice decided to spend the day in bed. Those who did try to get to work found that it was impossible. The London Underground was the first thing to stop… it didn’t snow underground of course, so quite why it broke down still remains a bit of a mystery, then the buses and trains both decided they too would quit. My journey to work required a bus, then an Underground ride and then a train ride… so there was no way I was going anywhere. I remember going outside for a snowball fight and seeing a girl heroically walking to work, I asked her how far she had to go… it was five miles away. I think she probably froze to death somewhere around Hyde Park. I also saw some people trying to drive on the unsalted roads (the salt ran out within about five minutes) and smashing into each other like a giant game of Dodgems. It was incredible, the city couldn’t have stopped any more if a war had broken out. Indeed, if a terrorist group really wanted to bring chaos to London, a snow machine would be far more effective than a bomb.

So naturally, when the Arctic conditions of last week arrived, I believed Leipzig would suffer a similar meltdown. I was wrong. I was told some trams stopped working, I didn’t see it, and it was only for a few hours if it did indeed happen. What I did see where people driving around the city as if nothing was happening – and they weren’t even crashing into each other. People were taking their dogs for walks, just like normal; delivery vans were delivering their goods to shops as if the world wasn’t ending and most bizarrely of all people were smiling – and not because they had a day off work! The only thing that was out of the ordinary was a slightly higher number of people using skis.

Then the really strange thing happened. Just as I was dumbstruck with admiration at how the snow had seemed to have no noticeable effect on the city, people started complaining at how poorly things were being dealt with! “oh the trams stopped working for a few hours,” “the roads weren’t cleared immediately.” etc. etc. Honestly, as a Londoner, I can assure you that your city is unbelievably good in the snow… I don’t quite know how you do it.

Last week I e-mailed my mum to let her know I was living in an open-air freezer. She replied immediately – she wasn’t at work. Half an inch (3 cm) of snow had fallen the night before; the roads to her work were closed, the buses and trains had stopped and there was no way for her to leave the house. Of course, the road salt had run out… again. After last-year’s catastrophe there was a public enquiry to see how we could cope better, it clearly didn’t work. When I get home I will write to my government to tell them that if they want to learn how to keep the country going through the winter, they could do no worse then spending some time in Leipzig.

Veröffentlicht unter: Clubb-Gedanken, Peter Clubb, Weg · Etiketten: , ,

Eine Antwort zu "Out of London: It’s snow joke"

  1. Ingo sagt:

    And we don’t quite understand how you don’t do it ;-)

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