A Winter Nightmare

Welcome to the white hell which is London. Well when I say white hell, I mean there is at least an inch of snow on the ground out there. We've been talking about it arriving for at least a couple of days so it's no great surprise.

But guess what, when it did arrive a few hours ago, it produced chaos. Even the Weather Centre's website collapsed due to the number of people who wanted to know if it was snowing.

So roads are blocked, trains are not moving, schools are closed and so are companies and offices right across the country. I guess the shops will run out of bread next, and panicking mothers in SUVs will descend on grocery stores to scoop up all available supplies.

As I speak, it's the middle of the day, and out there thousands of people are still trying to fight their way through to work. Chances are that they'll give up the unequal struggle and turn for home. I wish them luck -- the predictions are that it's going to be no easier getting out of London than it was getting in.

So why, we ask, are we so awful at dealing with the weather? How did we ever defeat the might of the German Army when we can't even cope with a dusting of snow? And the next thing we all say is: in America, YOU all just get on with life. You seem to cope with it. But is that really true?

You'll know the answer better than I, but what I read is of arctic conditions in West Virginia, disrupted airflights from Chicago, schools closed from Minnesota to upstate New York. OK, I admit, you have had several FEET of snow rather than an inch, but even the Land of the Free has its problems. So in fact do most major cities..

The truth is that our transportation systems are now so complex and so overloaded that ANY factor causes stress and breakdown. It is just that even on a good day, this country has a transportation system that is ready to disintegrate if ANYTHING goes wrong. And today the weather has gone wrong.

My mum always said that we got America's weather a week after you, which considering how badly we are coping today, is a pretty gloomy prospect. I suppose there is one consolation -- at least for a while we don't have to worry about global warming.
by Peter Allen by Peter Allen