The New Year Slips In
January 11, 2010barriehol
Bringing in the New Year always cheers me up. Unusually for us, we had a quiet night in with the Tele and a bottle or two but nevertheless it was still satisfying to count down Big Ben and know we had turned the celestial corner and were heading back into Spring. (I know technically it was the 21st Dec, but for me New Year is a better marker)
Not like it feels anything other than Polar outdoors. Most of northern Europe and great swathes of North America are also enduring their worst winter in decades and if the weather forecasters are right – (often a contradiction in terms) – there is a lot more of the same to come.
In my village there are patches of ice that fell as snow over two weeks ago still covering pavements and paths making it treacherous under foot, particularly for the elderly. The NHS has also reported a massive rise in A & E admissions with ankle and wrist fractures from falls and the AA and RAC are stretched to the limit with car accidents.
Unfortunately these days you are counted lucky if your Council or Transport Agency salt and grit the main roads and the days are long gone when they cleared footpaths. If Local Authorities had DNA then Service Delivery would always spiral down one helix whilst the cost of diminishing Service Delivery spiralled up the other.
The only solution when it comes to personal safety is self help, self awareness and consideration for others. If you are fit and able volunteer to clear access paths and walkways for older and less agile neighbours. Clear the pavement outside your own property and chances are others will follow suit. By the way it is far easier to clear fresh snow before it gets compacted or part frozen.
An ex-teacher I spoke to the other day was bemoaning the fact that so many schools now closed due to snow. He said that Health and Safety issues and our overbearing liability laws meant teachers were loath to clear snow and allow kids to play in snow on school premises for fear they may hurt themselves and sue for damages. When did common sense leave the room? I don’t envisage Councils and Government will pay up for the broken bones caused by failures in their Duty of Care to the taxpayer.