19 January 2007

Severe weather

Shane decided we shouldn't run this lunchtime - he said it was raining, but it was dry whe we went out to get a sandwich. However it was the stormiest day of the winter so far - it is still winter, isn't it? - with severe weather warnings from the Met Office and winds of 80 mph plus.
The journey to work this morning, 90 minutes door to door if all goes well, took nearly twice that. Trains were delayed to start with, then obliged to limit their speed to 50 mph. In Germany, where the winds were stronger, trains were restricted to 200 kph (about 124 mph). I wonder what is the significance of that? Do the Germans have a reckless disregard for public safety, perhaps? No, didn't think so.
To get to a lecture in the City this evening, I resorted to a taxi as the only tube lines that were running normally were the East London, Waterloo and City, and Jubilee lines. The rest all had part suspensions in force, or were experiencing delays (and when they admit to delays, you can be sure they are really delays). In the end, the cabbie got me there on time, but she told me she'd never seen so many messages telling her of road closures and other problems. The police closed the Royal Parks because of the danger of trees coming down, there were overturne trucks on motorways outside London, and everywhere the traffic seemed to be at a standstill.
Except that, once we reached Picadilly, we flew down it without an interruption, and then made good time to Old Street so I arrived in good time. I was apprehensive about getting home, as the train company's web site helpfully advised against travelling, but the Met Office web site (both consulted by Blackberry from the rear of the cab - a major performance, and glacially slow) predicted that the winds would die down after six o'clock, and although the train departed 15 minutes late it was sparsely populated and the speed limits had been lifted. It still stopped, as seems almost to be obligatory, outside Reading station, this time for much longer than usual (and with no information about why): the Orange network is down so I can't blog from here. Which is just as well for the rather supercilious-looking barrister sitting across the aisle from me with his feet (in shoes) on the seat facing him and his papers spread over the table so a nosey lawyer could have read them when he went to obey the call of nature. He's lucky I am not a nosey lawyer.
There's a certain familiar feeling about this journey - the heavy eyelids, the overwhelming desire to be home, the in ability to do anything more useful with my time than this.

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