... do my forty- and fifty-somethings see a few flakes of snow and start cancelling everything days ahead when my sixty-, seventy-, eighty-, ninety- and even hundred-and-somethings wrap up, put on their boots and get on with it? When did we get so nesh?
More snow this morning - hurray! I blame it on being born in the 1962/63 winter - the first five months of my life snow was normality. There's a wonderful post here which expresses delight in the snow and raises sensible questions about cost/benefit of changing our infrastructure to cope with 5E-2 return frequency extreme events. It doesn't use that language, Maggi is a musician not a risk assessor, but she's right I suspect - the sums probably don't stack up.
In the days when I did risk assessment sums for a living we used the Health & Safety Executive guidelines for 'cost-benefit analysis' on potential risk reduction measures. The basic rule of thumb is obviously that the financial equivalent of the benefit needs to exceed the cost of the change. As I recall it (and it's now ten years since I last did such an exercise) a risk reduction modification would only be required by the statutary bodies if the benefit was ten times the cost. If the cost exceeded the benefit, and if the risk was already ALARP or broadly accpetable (both jargon for degrees of liveable with) then the modification would not be made, even though it would reduce risk.
I have no idea what the cost of snow ploughs, gritters and grit would be, I have no idea what the financial-equivalent of lost working days, road accidents, falls and fractures might be. But maybe it is our attitude not our infra-structure we need to be changing?
As for me, I may venture out to see one or two house-bound folk, admire the lovely views across my garden, sup hot chocolate, possibly create some snow-folk (how PC is that!) and enjoy the relative quiet of an enforced slow week.
For what it's worth, and it's not remotely funny, here's one I generated this afternoon when I got back from lunch club. We load up to 50 wrinklies onto a coach and bundle a few more into cars and have lots of fun - even if I do sometimes wonder why it took me four years of theology to train to do it. The first line is a kind of slogan I've used for our church a fair bit in the last five years, the second reflects lunch club life.
On a journey with God
Climb aboard and join the fun
The snow is going here - at least on the main roads, my street still bears more than a passing resemblance to a toboggan run - but once darkness falls the residual slush and water will turn to ice. Almost all the schools have been closed today and lots of evening meetings have been cancelled. Tomorrow is Lunch Club day - and the phone calls today have been along the lines of 'you won't cancel will you?'
I suspect that for many of our members, especially the more frail among them, this is an outing to which they look forward all month and who are probably quite stir crazy having been cooped up for a few days. We'll have to be extra careful - really don't want any broken bones - but barring blizzards or pestilence we'll be there.
Here in Dibley it has snowed fairly steadily all day. Not as heavily as in Kent or London, but enough to build up about 6 inches on top of my wheelie bin and at least 4 on the garden. My road resembles a toboggan run and there've been a few interesting bits of driving to observe though the main roads, until about 3 pm, were clear; thereafter they slowly covered over.
I needed to do a couple of visits today - one to the local Community Hospital where one of my long-term hospitalised folk is now undergoing intensive physio and one to my much-loved 90-something year-old crusty Gideon who was refusing to call out the doctor in the snow.
So, hospital visiting in Dibley = dog-collar, snow = hiking boots... hence a new ensemble of clerical shirt, woolly jumper, jeans and hiking boots (with waterproof and fleecy hat/gloves of course). It's the look - the Dibley look!
I called into the corner shop on the way back to treat myself to some lemon-curd tarts and instant hot chocolate. I got chatting (as usual) to the woman behind the counter who spotted the collar and asked about it - I told her I try to look normal (!) most of the time. She then shared that she was baptised by the Archbishop of York and she said 'bless you' as I left the shop. I'm not a great fan of dog-collars, though I do think they have there place, and every now and then I find these magical moments arise.
Tomorrow it may or may not snow here - we seem to be on the edge of every weather map/system going - but hopefully I won't need to reproduce 'the look' again in a hurry.