|Families skating on the pond in our Zeeland village last year|
Nonetheless, the trains have been running at half their normal capacity all week, and the buses have only been running half of half of that. There I've been every morning at the bus stop, stamping my feet to keep the blood circulating all the way to my toes and watching that blessed digital board announce the advent of numerous buses I might have taken had they simply turned up. It's actually been quite an adventure in transportation...I've been publicly transported to places even Dr Spock of Startrek fame would have found surprising. Seriously, though, what's happened is that I've ended up jumping on any bus that looked as if it was going in vaguely the right direction, so I've seen parts of the city I never knew existed. Quite enlightening in some ways.
Still, at least I have managed to get to work, and was only a few minutes late just one day this week. Many of my colleagues have just given up the fight and gone home - although I have to say these are mostly folk who come by car. One of them told me it took her three and a half hours to drive three kilometres. Makes you wonder why she didn't just get out and walk. She might have got somewhere instead of looking wistfully at the queue of lights in front of her.
Anyhow, this is condition normal every year. We get a few grains of snow and the world comes to a grinding halt. I just don't understand it. I mean it's not as if snow is so unusual. We've certainly had a spell of it every year since I've been here.
It always makes me laugh because the locals are very keen to tell me me we don't really have winter in NL. Then they act all surprised when year after year, the temperature plummets in January and the white blanket descends. The thing is, folks, it does happen. Every year! Not for long, I grant you. Probably no more than a couple of weeks, but surprise surprise, it's not a rare occasion. So why does everything go belly up and totally haywire? And why are the train services and buses not prepared the way they are in other cold countries? My Russian and Polish friends here think it's hysterical and are totally bemused by the chaos that ensues after our annual 'episnowed'.
|A smattering of snow creates its own hazards on board|
But forget the adventures in transport for a moment. The fun part of this for me is negotiating the boat. If you have a look at the few pics I've posted here, you'll notice it's no small endeavour getting on and off in this kind of weather. It's like crossing the great divide where the risk of slithering off into the icy depths of the harbour becomes the daily challenge. Maybe that's why I'm a bit bemused by all the other fuss. When you have this as your daily yardstick, all the rest seems a bit paltry...doesn't it?
|No snow here, but when it's cold, the east wind causes very low tides. |
At these times the plank doesn't even reach the deck