But to my theme. It's obvious why yesterday's terrible stramash happened: people rose early for work, as the world now seems to do, saw that it was dry - and set off. When they were on their way, strung along the ends of the motorway or whatever, the snow began. Someone jack-knifed; they all ground to a halt. Result: blocked road. Gritters couldn't get along it. No point in whining that folk ought to have stayed at home, as several moaners did on Radio Scotland this morning. They didn't have the choice when they set out. Perhaps the gritter moguls should have trusted the weather forecast and sent the lorries out early - but that's easy to say now. Besides, it was apparently too cold for the salt to have much effect - certainly the bit of path I spilled water on while emptying a basin (our waste pipe was frozen) is now a sheet of ice, despite my immediate application of salt at the time.
I don't remember this massive disruption from my past. I do remember fierce winters - for heaven's sake, I can just remember a morning when we had a coal briquette in the range surrounded with potato peelings*, in what must have been the winter of 1947 when the pipes in the tenements all froze and people had to use stand pipes in the streets. I can remember being sent home from school when the outside lavatories froze - the joy when the jannie would appear in the classroom with his mop in his hand and whisper to the teacher and we'd all go home just after playtime. (Presumably our bladders were supposed to last till we got home). I remember the joy of sledging all alone when I was home and my pals weren't - the virgin snow above the old air-raid shelters in Novar Drive. And of course I remember the brown sugar of the old snow in Great Western Road, and trudging up the hill in the snow to the number 10 tram terminus. And there were wonderful patterns of ice on the inside of the windows in the mornings - ferns, mainly, and starbursts. They were especially beautiful in the small maid's room off the kitchen where I slept, I remember. And I was the lucky one - the range in the kitchen kept the temperature in my wee room bearable.
Of course it must have been bad. And writing this has answered my question to myself, now I think about it. I saw only the effect on me. We didn't have a car, and there were trams (though I don't know how well they functioned in snow, and now there's no-one alive in my family who can tell me, dammit). We were accustomed to put on multiple layers of clothing and walk. We had wellies - though once I had a warmer pair of boots, in blue leather with crepe soles to which the snow clung in such layers that walking became impossible. We made fantastic slides in the playground and hurled ourselves along them; we were consumed with rage when the janny salted them while we were in class (presumably they had rudimentary Health & Safety even then). I loved the snow, my parents didn't seem unduly perturbed by it, we didn't have to worry about loved ones who were driving across the country/flying to London/travelling to Paris. My father had the longest commute - from Hyndland to Springburn - every day, and the rest of us took the tram, about 4 stops, I think.
Maybe we expected less. Our shopping was local, our messages limited to what we could carry. The shops had basics, and seasonal basics at that. When I was really small, we still had rationing. We had powercuts and candles, coal fires and a range in the kitchen. I can remember my mother cooking on it in a powercut. We all had chilblains every winter. It must have been grim, and I would probably hate it now.
We did, however, survive - and I look back on my childhood winters with undiluted pleasure. But excuse me while I go and turn up the heating ...
*This was, I believe, because the stockpiles of coal were frozen solid and no coal could be taken off them.