Thursday, 9 December 2010

Urban Glaciers

I've stood on the Tasman Glacier in the South Island of New Zealand. I've been snowed into my home on a hill, with no electricity/cooking/heating/entertainment for 3 solid days and night but this... is in a different category.

France has been blasted with an incredibly serious snow dump. It paralysed Paris yesterday and my colleagues had trouble getting home. It took Victoria four hours in her car. I'm glad I left early but the Social Security office was closed when I arrived. They had shut up shop hours early due to the terrible weather conditions.

There I was in my coat, NZ boots and scarf and gloves but no hat. The snow flakes fell thickly and stuck to my clothes and hair. Walking was treacherous. By the time I got to Cafeolait cars were queuing up to be pushed up inclines or guided down slopes. In the end a number of central streets were closed to cars because they could not keep on the road. Traffic jams were everywhere. The streets of Cafeolait are narrow so it's easy to have a snarl-up.

My boots could not cope with snow up to my mid calves. My feet were wet and freezing but, hey, if you are already like that what are a few more minutes so I decided to capture the event digitally. Climate change may make such extreme events more common but I wasn't about to let this one pass. You can see from the photos that as the day faded the snowflakes continued. The castle, the grounds, the town, my street; all smothered by snow. The grounds of the chateau were like a wonderland-stunningly beautiful.

A family had just finished making a snowman in the car park of the castle, the waterways looked frigid and bleak. I saw no sign of any birds or animals anywhere.

Pictures also include my car that I'm selling. A colleague took these photos just before it started snowing and I hope to have some photos for you of me cleaning the car in the snowfall later in the day, soon.

Today the snow softened and then froze. The streets and pavements and station platforms are like walking on glaciers. The ice cracks beneath you, you so easily lose your footing and if you are unfortunate to step in some water, well, walking on the ice becomes hellish with wet feet. Several of my colleagues could not make it into the office today. My train to work was cancelled, in fact they all were for a time and I had to stand in the freezing conditions for 90mins until a train to work was available.

The train station staff, women included, had to pitch in with shovels to chip the concrete/ice off the edges of the platforms so we could board the trains. I felt sorry for them- it was bloody hard work and the shovels soon became bent out of shape.

Tomorrow we are expecting slightly better weather.
Enjoy the photos.


Alison said...

Wow - that's just amazing. Fabulous photos Frances!

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