Friday, 8 January 2010

snow business

School's out, so we went trogging around the Downs. The sky was clear and the sunlight almost painfully brilliant; birds flying over us were brightly underlit by the reflected light, and looked very different to the way they usually look; I stalked a kestrel for ages to try to photograph it in flight, and ended up with an unusably poor photo and presumably a paranoid kestrel.

I fell over twice, too.

Pavements in Bristol are in a shocking state, icy and mostly untreated and uncleared, even on the busiest thoroughfares; one of the places I fell was on Whiteladies Road.

Over at Green Bristol, Chris Hutt observed the results of this state of affairs, and was invited by Councillor Jon Rogers to go and take some direct action with him. And so they did. Well done, both of you!

My contribution has been to clear the path at the front of the house and a little way beyond, as I have always done, as it seems like an obvious bit of civic duty. Not so obvious to the neighbours, sadly; next door's elderly widow has a house full of young lodgers, who happily let her attempt to scrape her own path clear. So I did that too.

Total number of houses on my road where someone has cleared the path: three. And none of them are the big houses which are used as old peoples' homes, of which we have several on the road. Still, it's better than the state of play citywide; hardly anyone has done anything on their own patch. Shame on you all, I say!


  1. How everything changes when it snows.

    We are obliged by law to clear our paths. Nobody does, but if someone falls and breaks something outside your house.....

    One foot path had been sort of cleared but it had compacted the snow and was more slippery than ever.

    I love the blue picture of katie (hasn't she grown up!).

  2. My road is pretty much clear, thanks to community action - but it's a cul-de-sac, which I think makes a significant psychological difference. We're not doing it for rat-runners or fly-by-nights, we're doing it for ourselves!

    Also, it's on a slope, and it was the only way to get out...

  3. I went out and cleared pavements and made road passable but for the first two weeks I was the only one!

    Have you noticed that someone has nicked the Moggie?

    Caroline xx

  4. Caroline:I wondered where it was too.

  5. Dru, Was that you I felt reading my mind? Felt all scratchy inside

    Caroline xxx

  6. Apparently, if you clear the bit of path outside your house and someone falls over on it after you have done it, then can sue you. If you haven't even tried, they can't ;-) Little known, anti-civic-duty factoid?

  7. I like the way it all goes peaceful when there's snow; and the way massed pedestrians reclaim the streets, at least until the roads have been gritted, an then the cars are worse than ever- "I am not going to swerve or slow down because I'm afraid I might lose control..."

    Did you see that vid of a car losing it on a hill in Paignton, Charlie? -there was a cul-de-sac where they *hadn't* worked together...

    The Trav is cleverly disguised as snow, actually. On the other side of the road because there are Parking Wars starting to happen in our otherwise almost-genteel neighbourhood.

    Do you mean the Mark Twain reference, Caroline?

    There's a discussion of that issue over on Green Bristol, Jo. I don't see how anyone could reasonable be prosecuted or sued for clearing a path... pouring hot water onto snow which then turned to ice would be different, but... anyway, my resolution to clear the snow would actually be increased by any official advice not to... :-)

  8. Dopes that mean if you went to help someone and they broke something on the way up you'd be in trouble too?

  9. I think that there's a *perception* that people shouldn't do things like this, which perhaps grew from the innate British habit of, if in doubt, saying "You can't do that", and subsequently seizing on the justification "Elfin Safety" is asked why not, out of some superstitious feeling that there's a monolithic bureaucracy specialising in being obstructive and procrastinatory... "health and safety" is actually a good thing, but it has been turned into a monster by the sort of people who are prone to saying "It's perlitickle krekness gorn mad, that's what it is..."

    Rant mode *OFF*


  10. That is a lovely video, and reminds me of my own skating efforts at the Bristol rink!

    Just back from St Andew's Park, where you take your life in your hand because of the sleds (each being chased by an overexcited dog or two), and the toddlers have taken to the frozen paddling pool with shovels and picks.

  11. I'm so pleased that someone still cares about the Elves. I still clap regularly.