like my week didn’t start bad enough with the raiders’ poor performance on sunday….i left for work extra early on tuesday to make up for calling in sick on monday with my super bowl emotional hangover. i’m on the a14 motorway for five minutes when i hit a traffic jam. this was no ordinary jam as a lorry (that’s what they call trucks here) carrying vegetables overturned, destroyed a small, passenger car and layed across all lanes of traffic, going both ways. it had stripped off the center median and had spilled its load. the police ended up closing the motorway (it was unknown at the time, but was to remain closed until the evening). note that this is the major east-west artery for everyone traveling in southeast england. i was parked on the road for over two hours until i was finally able to get to an exit and turn around for home. waited there for another two hours until, i presumed, things had loosened up. i hit the road again, only to have to take a diversion route which got me into work another three hours later. this is typically a 30 mile, 35-40 minute drive.
fast forward to thursday. started normal. it’s very cold, windy, and a bit of snow is in the forecast. we start seeing snowfall just after noon and the powers that be at work allow all but essential personnel to leave early due to hazardous traveling conditions. i have some work to finish so i stay until about 6:30, at which point there’s maybe an inch or two on the ground. as i’m warming up my car, i hear about the nightmarish conditions of the roads and how traffic is at a standstill on practically all roads in eastern england. the routes i need to take are particularly bad. i figure i’d rather be in the office working than in my car parked on the motorway. i go back in and finish a project i was working on and depart again around 9pm, hoping that traffic will have thinned out. i was so wrong (again). it took me over 6 hours to get home. i walked into my flat at 3:30am. it’s the worst experience i’ve ever had with traffic and, funny thing is, the second worst happened earlier the same week. i haven’t yet heard anyone from the traffic authority fully explain why a few inches of snow caused such a disaster. there were literally thousands of motorists stranded in their cars all over england. at the time, the traffic reports couldn’t even explain why or help people find alternate routes, although by all accounts every route was hideously gridlocked. i saw only one ‘gritter’ truck and a single police car go by the entire six hours. it was a frustrating and helpless experience. the roads were still terrible today and i stayed home. the only positive thing to come out of it was the beautiful scenery created around cambridge, with the snow coating the trees. the photo posted here is of the much-photographed, tree-lined pathway around Jesus green (digital photography by cja).