News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Thursday, 5 February 2009

No Business Like Snow Business

Well, what a day.

Bristol's worst, or best, snow in somewhere between 10 and 350 years has taken the city by storm.

Today's whiteout began for me while still dark with the gleeful sound of a younger member of the Trym clan announcing, text message in hand, that school was cancelled and that the buses weren't running.

This second piece of information had me scurrying to the computer for confirmation from First Bus that the three centimetres of snow that had fallen overnight had in fact resulted in the total collapse of the public transport system of England's fifth city.

Unfortunately, the only information I could find on the First web site was a piece of PR on the recently unveiled fleet of new buses (which increase by at least 46 the number of places in the city where I can be secretly filmed under the guise of making me feel safer) and information on how to get to Cabot Circus by bus - a journey that those familiar with this blog would know that I would only take if the one marked "Death Leap Over the Avon Gorge" were already fully booked.

First's strange silence on the subject of whether it would be running a service today was broken in the early evening with this item, announcing that "On Thursday afternoon, the majority of services were running normally" - a fact that all but the visually impaired could have confirmed by looking out of their windows at the numerous buses running normally along the slushy streets.

The uncertainty in the morning on the state of the buses lead me to some considerable inner debate, only fully appreciated by those of us fortunate enought to be self-employed, as to whether to embark on a one-hour walk to my usual place of work (the car being used by another member of the Trymites) or to "work from home."

Five hours later, and having wrestled control of the car from its former user, I made the short journey to Redland. And what a happy sight greeted me on the way. With the majority of adults (teachers excepted) firmly ensconced in their places of work, the city had been taken over by several thousand of its bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youth, who were gleefully turning every available patch of public space into a winter wonderland of snowmen, snow furniture and ludicrously over the top snowball fights, of the type long banned by the kind of people who put secret cameras into buses.

I was amused to note that more than a couple of the ten thousand snowballs thrown managed to hit the numerous First buses now scurrying pele mele around the city. Oh the irony.

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