Wednesday, 12 January 2011

In Which I Pay My Debt to Society.

Monday morning was bright and cold, as I set off for work, the roads were white with frost crystals, slippery but manageable. Maybe ten degrees below freezing. However, in the sky above, different temperatures  were arriving, and by the time I arrived at work, rain was falling. As it hit the road, it froze. So the roads were coated with ice, with light rain falling on top. They looked pretty harmless.
We spent the first hour spreading salt and grit, but still several tenants pirouetted their cars down the yard. Damage was minor.... Then I was asked to go sort out the chaos at the other mill, a few miles away. Cars had been sliding there too.
So,  I gathered up a volunteer, and we set off, aiming to stick to the gritted main roads. Well, even on them, there was mayhem, so the ten minute journey took half an hour, and on almost arriving, we found a police car  blocking access to the road. A detour took us in through a more  level route, and this is what the road looked like, and why it had been barriered off.

We did our gritting at the mill, and on exiting, met a policeman trying to stay upright by holding on to the wall, He was coming to see whether we had such a thing as a wheelbarrow, because there were injured people awaiting an ambulance, and the ambulance couldn't get to them until the road was gritted. and the city council said "oh, we're far too busy, we might get to you... tomorrow.
My volunteer and I, seeing how hopeless coppers are, when it comes to the art of hurling salt over a wide area, took pity on them, and loaded the van up with salt, which we then used to make safe half a mile of road. There was some laughter, as we all slid and slithered about. The woman police officer wins the initiative badge of the week. Whilst waiting for her colleague to return, she'd seen several people fall whilst trying to walk around the corner right at the top of the road. So she raided the cafe, and requisitioned all their salt....
There was't much, but it made a start.
When we finished, we got a round of applause from the idlers who'd watched without lifting a finger to help. And the two ambulances, and the paramedic's car, made it safely to their patients.
The lady copper said "you've done your community services, what now?"
 We replied.... "Well now we'll need to do a crime to go with it."

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