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Sunday, December 19, 2010

We're back home...

28 hours after we left for our Christmas holiday in Norway we're back in Cornwall. Yesterday was pretty horrendous and this morning did not get any better. We left Cornwall at 11am yesterday. The roads in town were pretty snowy and slippery but once we made it on to the main roads we were fine. No problems on the motorways until we got to M4 just before the M25 junction. The last 1/2 mile before we joined the M25 took us about an hour. M25 wasn't any better. From  when we joined M25 it took us 4 hours to get to Stansted, normally it takes us an hour. There was quite a bit of snow when we reached the Stansted area. We'd booked a Travelodge in Great Dunmow but  Iforgot to print off directions. We turned off the main road and drove through Great Dunmow (turned out we didnt' have to do this and could have stayed on the main road and turned off later and found the Travelodge right next to the main road). Great Dunmow looked fantastic in the dark. Lots of snow, pretty houses and Christmas lights. Only 1 or 2 cars around and a few people walking. 

This morning we got up at 4.30am and left for Stansted at 5.30 am. We arrived at Stansted to chaos. All Ryan Air flights were cancelled. As Ryan Air is a low cost airline, customer service is pretty non-existent. One lone staff member positioned by the information screens told us to re-book online and directed us to the internet cafe were we queued for nearly an hour. In the end we managed to re-book a flight for Wednesday. Two hours after we arrived at the long stay car park we left and headed back home. Roads were clear all the way home and we got home fairly quickly.

Some flights were leaving Stansted this morning. We watched two flights take off. Why Ryan Air cancelled all their flights is beyond me. Perhaps their staff couldn't get in? Well, passengers had no problems getting to the airport. We drove across the country yesterday and this morning drove on snow covered roads until we joined the main road which was clear in -7 degrees celsius to reach the airport. And it only took us 10-15 mins.

Perhaps the runway was covered in snow? Maybe but the motorway was completely clear so if snow ploughs can clear the motorway surely an international airport will have a few snow ploughs on duty. A friend told me that it was too dangerous for air planes to take off and land at a snow covered airport. Planes do this every day for several months of the year in other countries. We heard on the radio that Stockholm airport had a foot or two of snow overnight and the only cancelled flights were the ones heading for British airports!!! I can't believe that big airports like Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick don't have facilities to deal with snow. We spent nearly 2 hours queuing on the M4 and M25 near Heathrow yesterday and there was not that much snow. I'd say less than an inch. The motorway was almost clear, a bit of slushy stuff and the slip roads were a bit worse off.  There was a lot more snow in the Stansted area, perhaps 2 inches of snow but surely they should cope with that. I'd be happy and understanding about delays. We've been delayed in Oslo before due to planes having to be de-iced and that's fine. we've taken off in much worse weather than yesterday (in Oslo). We heard on the radio when we were stuck near Heathrow that there was a blizzard at Heathrow. Well, if it was it must have been very localised as there definitely wasn't a blizzard where we were and we were only a few minutes away. On a normal day we would have been watching flights flying over us every minute or so. 

I'm angry and I was very upset this morning. I think it's disgusting that this country can't cope with an inch or two of snow. Yes other countries (like Norway) have proper tyres and more snow ploughs etc but there wasn't that much snow this morning. I wish I'd taken a picture of it but I forgot.

Driving through Somerset yesterday we saw 3 snow ploughs and the roads were pretty good, only the centre lanes on the motorway had any snow in it. On the M25, although it was fairly good, there was a little bit of snow and slush and no snow ploughs in site. Eventually we did pass a snow plough but guess what? His snow plough was not in use!!! he was spreading grit but it would have been so much more useful if he'd lowered his snow plough and cleared the slushy stuff as he was gritting. Salting/gritting roads that are full of slush or snow isn't really that useful unless the snow plough is in use too.

We've now got two days at home then we'll try again. I'm praying we make it to Norway for Christmas. I only go home for christmas every other year and I've not been home for 2 years and I was especially looking forward to seeing my nephews. They're only 3 and 6 and I've not seen them for 2 years. 

One good thing about being home again is that Simon's Dad is going in for a hip replacement tomorrow and we were worried about not being here. At least now, Simon can take his parents to the hospital and stay with his Mum during the op. And hopefully visit his Dad on Tuesday too.

I'm planning to do lots of knitting. I didn't manage to finish my cashmere cardigan (on the machine) before we left. I finished the front bands in the car yesterday and seamed the side seams and picked up for armbands last night in the hotel. I had decided to turn it into a waist coat instead but now that we're home, I'll finish knitting the sleeves and undo the couple of rounds of armband I've done. I also wanted to try to knit a sweater in Fantasy sock on the machine before we left and I may still try to do this. If I can do the front and back tomorrow and sleeves on Tuesday, I can take it with me to sew up in Norway. I'd also taken Simon's sweater to sew up in Norway but I'll try and do it before we leave again. I'm also planning to make a start on Em's fingerless gloves and both the girls would like socks. Wonder how much I can get done in 2 days. At least because we were suppose to be in Norway, I've got no other plans for the next 2 days. And the packing is all done.

I might go through my holiday knitting again and re-consider what I'm taking. got a feeling I may have packed too much. Will take photos too. The shop is open and I will post any orders placed before 9am on Tuesday before we leave again. In fact, if you've read all this then you deserve a treat, so I'll re-activate the 25% christmas discount. Use code: god jul. Can be used in the shop and on Ravelry. Valid until 9 am (UK time) on Tuesday.


Chatrine Bråta Antonsen said...

Heisann...ikke særlig god start på ferien det der Anniken. Håper lykken er større på onsdag. God tur, og skulle det passe, så hadde det vært hyggelig å treffes. Jeg er stadig på facebook, så det er bare å legge igjen beskjed der i tilfelle. God jul og god ferie til deg og familien. Stor klem fra Chatrine

Joyce across the Pond said...

Oh dear! So sorry for you and all the others lying on a floor at the airport. My husband was just saying it wouldn't be much fun. I do hope you get away on Wednesday...I'm sure your folks at the other end are disappointed to. Totally agree with you that it is high time BAA invested in some underheating for the runways, at least one for goodness sake....and as for the roads....and footpaths...they are death traps....time to re-think the winter precautionery measures....take care and have a great Christmas.