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White…February?

We haven’t had any snow all Winter, despite the massive warnings in mid-October that it was going to be a “hard winter” with “snow as early as November”. Granted, it has snowed in other areas of the UK, particularly Scotland, but this weekend was the first time it snowed over pretty much the entire country. When I woke up on Saturday to see the light dusting of snow, I laughed as I thought that was all we were going to get. The hard frost on Saturday morning was thicker than the snow. However, we received more Saturday night into Sunday. As far as I can tell, it started around 8PM or so, it was still snowing when we went to bed, but it had stopped when I woke up around 4AM and looked outside. There wasn’t much by my standards – only about 5cm total in our garden – but it was enough to grind the county to a halt.

As a Northeastern US girl, I’m used to snow. It’s not Winter unless we’ve been dumped on with a foot or more of snow, so it always amuses me how badly most of the UK handles the slightest amount of snow. Busses get cancelled (good thing it was Sunday), local shops are shut, and people can’t seem to understand the idea of shovelling their driveway and clearing the snow off the roof before trying to move their cars. My first Winter here as a visitor, it snowed. It was November 2008 and it was something like the first time parts of the UK had seen snow in over 20 years. I decided to walk down to the Co-op in the next village over, and I was amazed at the state of some of the vehicles on the road. People had barely cleared off their windscreens of snow, let alone the rest of the car. Since then, it has snowed pretty regularly each Winter, with at least one snow “storm”. You would think people would have learned and remembered how to handle it from one year to the next.

If Tim has off work, snow for us is just a reason to get out the snow plow for the garden railway. Fortunately, this was Tim’s scheduled Sunday off. We invited our friends Helen and Mark over to help — well, Mark was outside with Tim, and Helen and I stayed warm inside and chatted over a cup of tea. Our snow plow seems to be allergic to the camera though, because every time I aimed a camera at it, it decided to derail, but I still managed to pull off one nice image:


It took Tim 4 tanks of gas to get the lower circuit done (one tank is good for a 20-30 minute run). Our upper circuit goes into a cutting about 4 inches deep, and the cutting was completely full of snow so we decided to only open the lower circuit. We might have gotten the plow around, but it would have made the cutting unstable and probably would have caused an “avalanche” (at 16mm to the foot that’s what it would have looked like). Plus, the upper circuit has two level crossings across our front walkway, and most of that snow had been compacted down by our boots so it would have been a struggle to move!



Mark used an end of train marker from Austria as a temporary stop sign to indicate that the line off to the left (what line?) was currently closed.


The platform at Horncastle. We actually have 5 tracks here, but only cleared the one for use.


Running the first train completely around the service.

While stating “England doesn’t get snow” might have been an accurate statement 5, 10 years ago, I think these photos prove that is no longer true*!

[This post has been cross-posted to my LJ as my entry for this week’s The Real LJ Idol topic: Current Events.]

*Not something I say, but something a friend said she was told by a friend.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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