Monday, 20 December 2010

Chaos - not really

The news is full of pessimistic comment and recriminations about Britain grinding to a halt because of the snow. It's not quite that simple. It might well be the case that milder winters (very little snow for almost twenty years) have convinced us that this will be the pattern of the future, and also that our obsession with short-term profit has led to very little investment being made in the kind of technology which will keep our airports open and our railways running in wintry weather. But apart from that, perhaps as individuals (after all, we don't have to rely on government for everything or search around for someone to blame for the consequences of the weather) we need to take responsibility for getting around in less than ideal conditions. My parents' generation had snow chains and even winter tyres when winters were more severe. It's surely not beyond us to take a little extra care whilst driving and even carry a shovel in the boot of the car.
I had an interesting funeral today; because of the weather we were about an hour late starting the liturgy in church and had a very slow trip to and from the Forest of Dean Crematorium (named perhaps because it is equidistant from two towns whose names are perhaps somewhat pastorally inappropriate for a crematorium, Cinderford and Coleford.) Amusingly, my wife - using her professional & maiden name - rang through to the funeral director's office to find out what had happened to cause the delay, and the message was later transmitted as "The Revd Kathryn Price is waiting to start the service at St Arvans, where are you?" Oh dear! What was Eliza Doolittle's famous comment in Shaw's Pygmalion?
But we got there in the end, even through a blizzard.
"In the midst of life we are in death," the Prayer Book funeral rite says - and life does go on, people do what they have to do, despite the alarmist reports in the media. It's just weather, no one is to blame; everything takes a little bit longer in the snow. It looks as if this winter we will have to be prepared for the inconvenience and just get on with it.

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