Tuesday 5 January 2010


The last time I wrote, I was prognosticating gloomily about the prospects of getting off Flores due to the weather.

I sit here tonight prognosticating gloomily for the same reason about the prospects of getting off another island, this one called Great Britain.

The picture above shows a scene which will be familiar enough to residents of North America (except Florida possibly) but is rare in the extreme in Scotland.

Yes, Britain is currently in the grip of one of its periodic bouts of a rare syndrome called winter. The more extreme manifestations of this tragic condition involves fluffy white stuff falling from the sky and settling on the ground. This in turn causes a reaction known as "travel chaos".

Unluckily, we're due to fly tomorrow through London Heathrow airport, a place singularly ill-equipped to deal with winter and with no natural immunity to the fluffy white stuff. This results in great suppurating scabs of travel chaos which can endure for up to 24 hours.

We've just been watching the main evening news on the BBC reporting the weather in cataclysmic terms reminiscent of 1970s public information films about about the aftermath of a nuclear attack. ("Isolated outbreaks of radiation in some of those Scottish glens".) There was no actual reportage of conditions at LHR but, by coincidence, my mother phoned with a real time report from on board a Thai Airways jet there destined for Bangkok (where else?) to say they were being held up waiting for a de-icing rig. At JFK, I expect they have de-icing rigs aplenty but at LHR, they only seem to have about two. 

Wish us luck.


Kathie said...

I won't regale you with tales of brutal winter weather here in the northeast US, except to observe that I sometimes question why I ever left balmy California. Actually I do recall the reasons, but they afford cold comfort, as it were, at this time of year.

I look forward to reading your posts from back on lovely (not to mention milder) Flores.

Óptima sorte e boa viagem!

Marisa said...

Good Luck!
We are in a little "corner of heaven" as we use to say, here in Azores. Although we have had some damages due to the bad weather too.

Sarah said...

Good luck!

Suze said...

No idea what's going on in weather terms just now. Cairngorm mountain has had 5 feet of snow since Christmas and apparently has great powder skiing. That's unheard of in Scotland. At least it is in my memory. Still snowing in Edinburgh too. Good luck in getting home.

Kathie said...

From the removal of the spam message, may one infer that you're finally home safe and/or sound? It must've been quite an ordeal, judging by news reports even here in the US re the wintry weather in the UK, and fog in parts of the Azores that prompted flight cancellations.

It was 4° here when I got up at 6 AM today -- and that's in Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Icicles of murderous proportions are hanging from our eaves -- fascinating to look at, provided one is indoors in central heating, that is! Would that I were in California, or the Azores right now.