Monday, December 06, 2010
I'm dreaming of a green christmas
Well, I was hoping to be blogging about our trip to Farmleigh (cancelled) or any of the other exciting seasonal activities that we were set to be doing. However, the snow, freezing frost and ice have closed down much of the country. So instead I'll be telling tales of snow.
Tales of snow in Ireland mainly involves a Canadian incredulousness at the lack of ability to deal with the snow on the part of the Irish. This weekend Brad had to help a number of neighbours push their car out on the ice field that is Dillon's Row. At least two of these cars involved multiple people sitting in the car, with at least one of them being a young man. We are definitely incredulous that two people would simply spin their wheels for 5 minutes without one of them hoping out to actually push the car.
And we are also incredulous at the military's efforts towards snow "removal". These efforts involved a small truck loaded with a salt/sand mix, 12 soldiers, 12 garden shovels, and a fire-bragde style distribution line for the salt/sand (one would have thought that wheelbarrows are common enough to be put to use in the winter). What we don't understand is why everyone insists on putting the sand down on the snow!? It just makes for a powdery/slushy mix of snow that eventually gets packed down into ice. With 12 soldiers and 12 shovels, actual snow removal (ie. shoveling the snow off the pathways into a pile along the side) would have been the most effective way of dealing with the snow.
Brad pointed out yesterday that our snowy landscape is completely lacking in the piles of snow that would normally dominate a winter landscape in Canada. To the Irish, the only conceivable method of snow removal is for it to melt (usually snow lasts less than a day in Ireland)... however, with the current persistence of the snow, the only way to get snow to melt is with salt... as such, there's tons of compacted snow around, which, over time, has turned into ice with a dusting of salt on top.
So with all of our normal activities cancelled, and the University under a complete lock down for 4 days (Brad normally gets 24-hour key card access, but for his safety, the university locked out the key card access), we've spent some time sledding. However, the hardest part about the cold weather is our woefully cold house. I noticed that Dunnes sold out of most of those adult-sized fleece sleepsuits last week. So clearly, we're not the only ones suffering from the cold.
On a very exciting upside, Claire is being transferred to the London office with Tourism Canada! Clearly she missed us too much. Perhaps I should buy one of those sleepsuits for her, as London has been suffering from the cold too. Let's just hope the weather improves soon, as we leave for Vancouver next week, and the airport closes for just the smallest amounts of snow.
However, the snow can't help but make me smile, with its beauty, the silence, and its pervasive pull on the heartstrings of my youth. Tonight, as I walked home on the empty streets of Maynooth under a thick snow of heavy, plump flakes, for a few moments I was reminded of my younger self, spending several months each winter under a blanket of snow so thick that you could imagine the palace of snow that you could (and would!) build for your imagination.