Monday, 11 January 2010

Happy New Year!

and happy 100th dropping here in excretera. But let's not get excited: I am probably the world's only blogger who's New Year resolution is to write less in cyberspace, so that I might work in a more concentrated way on 'other projects' (he said, mysteriously), at least temporarily. However, whenever needs must, I will do what needs here, just, hopefully, you know, in a more concise, less time-wasty sort of way.

And if there was ever a cause more in need of a movement from excretera, Britain's snow-flurry-fury is it. I am, after all, Canadian, and therefore omnipotently qualified to explain to you, the poor people of Britain, how to survive the snow. (These are the people who took the Blitz on the chin, as a mere annoyance? I ask myself. Hitler's bombs fine, but a dusting of snow... geez.)

Now I could write volumes and volumes on how to drive in the stuff (DON'T try to go faster when you're wheels are already spinning) how to brake in the stuff ('pump' the brake -- lots of little stops, rather than skidding through one long one) how to walk in the stuff (slide when you walk, with your feet slightly splayed, as if you were skating) how to make the perfect snowball, etc. etc. etc., but that would go against my New Year's resolution. SO, I have to be brief, and address those few concerns that are most making me explode in impotent rage (as I increasingly seem to now. Do they make a Viagra for self-righteous indignation?)

And so, first, it's Stop Whining. Ok. Good.

Now, stop throwing so much grit all about. You wonder why you're running out of the stuff? I walked through a mud bath on Crookes' high street today. Not wet snow. But mud. I have a grit box across the street from my house and watched, yesterday, as a man tossed 5 spadefuls of grit on the road, where there was no snow, and then took 3 spadefuls of grit to pour around his car, so he could move it forward 3 feet, which he still failed to do. (I went to push - when pushing, let the car rock, forward and backward. That does not mean let it go forward and then pop it into reverse; you will crush the kind man that's helping you, which is less good.)

When I first got a car in this country, my father-in-law made sure that we had a 'de-icer': some toxic spray that was meant to magically melt the snow on your windshield. 'What's wrong with a scraper?' I asked.

And here is the problem: you, people of the UK, think that grit is some magic pixie-dust that will keep all that nasty snow away. You expect there to be a vaccine, a chemical defence against the ice. Nope. What you need is some old fashioned digging. Get on with it. In my part of the world (i.e. Ontario), you are legally obliged to clean the snow from the path outside your home or business, within a certain specified number of hours. And remember, we know snow.

Which leads me to ask this: I heard, a rumour around work, that if someone falls and injures him or herself outside your house and you have done nothing, you are fine, but if you've shovelled the snow from in front of your house and someone falls and injures him or herself, you are deemed responsible for those injuries and could be sued.

Surely that's not right? Tell me that's some Daily Mail reader's tale? Like Council Cancels Christmas! and Immigrants Ate My Dog!.

Don't bother. Just get shovelling.


  1. It's ok, we have freezing rain now...

  2. Yep, no worries bigman, its more Daily Hate bullshit. Possibly IF you had shovelled the snow in a malicious or reckless way and IF the way that you had shovelled it was the actual cause of someone falling and breaking their leg, then maybe, if they had a CCTV camera pointed at you the whole time, they MIGHT have a case, but rest assurred this is fantasy land stuff of the 'Nick Clegg getting elected' variety.

    If you shifted most of the snow off the pavement then zamboni'd what's left as a blind man was walking towards it, he may be able to sue you.

  3. I stand clarified. Like butter. Thanks!