force majeur

Snow has fallen heavily along the coast of the British Isles – 60cm, perhaps. With our maritime climate, this kind of weather is unusual enough that it has never been worthwhile investing vast resources in proofing our infrastructure against it: but common enough that when it happens it brings chaos. From the midst of this chaos rises the usual outcry: why can’t they do something about it? The same voices would be the first to complain of the waste if resources were squandered preparing the whole country for these few days of snow… It is really MOST tedious…

Of course, I can sit quietly at home enjoying the beauty that the skies have gifted us. Easy for me, you might say, because you don’t need to go out. That’s true. But then I wonder how many of us do… This frantic need to ‘get into work’ seems to me indicative of our hubris. The way that we insist that our routines must continue come what may. That the human ‘virtuality’ must trundle on irrespective of what is going on in the world. It is this kind of thinking that may well be leading us into the self-made disaster of global warming… It’s not as if we work all the time. We take time off. But those days of holiday are mandated by us. Perish the thought that we should have time off imposed on us by the climate, by the planet.

It seems to me that it’s about time that we started going more with the ‘flow of things’. Our climate deploys energy at levels that still dwarf those that we control. Yet, like the gods we feel ourselves to be (want to be!), we constantly set ourselves against these forces. This does not strike me as being wise…

Posted by Ricardo

writer and blogger

10 Replies to “force majeur”

  1. Meanwhile, in Pompei, the 2000 year old House of Gladiators succumbed to the heavy rain fall. It had many fresco’s. Perhaps it’s about time that they bury Pompei (not to mention a lot of other things) until they’ve found a way of really preserving it…


    1. yes… it’s a disaster. All such monuments are suffering… On a certain level, we should leave all sites undisturbed forever, since future archaeological technology is likely to always be more sophisticated… It’s a difficult issue. An interesting example is the tomb of the First Emperor that the Chinese are not allowing archaeologists to touch…


      1. They’re not even sure if that’s the right tomb. 😛 I think unearthing it and finding it less than godly will be mortifying for the authorities at the moment. 😛 It’s kind of like Cao Cao’s body that was reportedly found earlier this year – they never really figured out where he was burried, since he had at least 5 tombs set up as dummies. ^^


        1. I hadn’t realized that there was any doubt. Have seen a TV programme in which they did some investigations of the mound and found evidence of mercury – and forming a shape that matches an ancient map of China – a claim for mercury rivers and seas being made in our historical sources…

          I imagined that the authorities actually do have some idea of what the tomb might contain, and that the Chinese authorities are leaving its opening for a specific time in the future – when it could be used to announce the return of China as one of – if not the predominant world power – by linking the present regime to this great one in China’s past…


  2. We have snow days in Vancouver as well, and there used to be a joke that there were snow days when there was barely 5cm of snow. In Eastern Canada it’s not the case because the cities are well equipped, and if you wake up at 6am in the morning, it’s quite a site to see a fleet of 4 snow tractors plowing through the roads like the Roman legion’s turtle formation. 😛

    And while, being from the West Coast, I like the idea of going with the flow, I also appreciate people who make an effort to get to work – or I should say try to overcome an obstacle. Now, obviously if one is completely snowed in, then the best thing to do is accept it and enjoy the day. But weather sometimes shouldn’t be an excuse to be lazy.

    I like what my coach said, “Relax when you’re in control, since you’re already in control and should know what you’re doing. Relax even more when you’re not in control, since getting anxious won’t get you more control anyway – instead, wait for an opportunity.” ^^ So after trying to shovel yourself out for 30 mins with no luck, enjoy the snow. 😛


    1. Slave driver!! :OP

      but seriously, being completely ‘snowed in’ here, is probably what you would consider a normal winter day. But then you have your military formations of snow ploughs… considering how erratic are such winter conditions here, we can’t afford that…

      wise coach! :O)


  3. I like the American school system’s concept of a ‘snow day’ – it says here that institutions may build a certain number of days into their yearly schedules to cover the possibility of inclement weather.

    Of course, schools here close due to bad weather too – they must maintain certain teacher to pupil ratios for reasons of safety and accountability, and if too few teachers can make it to work, the school can’t open (which people indeed complain about, though presumably they’d also complain if 500 kids were being supervised by 3 teachers in a school that stubbornly stayed open). But it seems like it’d be worth building the concept of ‘snow days’ into business settings, too – there are so many companies that take a dim view of absences among vulnerable, low-level employees no matter what the reason, and surely there are more accidents if people try to get into work in dangerous conditions ‘no matter what’…

    But now, having saved up my ‘reasons to go out’ all week in hopes the ice would melt, I have to walk up a slippy hill to my GP, chemist, post office, library and greengrocer. Argh!


    1. all most sensible :O) There seems to be a new spirit in the air that is moving us towards measuring the value of things other than by GDP… This constant drive to produce ever more wealth strikes me as being insane…

      of course, if you’ve got to go out, you’ve got to go out… and I dislike icy pavements as much as the next woman… Living remotely does have one advantage – that you necessarily always have a large stock of food… Sometimes I am a tad anxious that I’m turning into a survivalist, but when the snow lies thickly round about, I smile snugly, like a squirrel in a nest well stuffed with nuts! *wide grin*


      1. Oh yes – one of my ambitions, on getting a house, would be to buy a chest freezer and just stockpile stuff. We already make good use of what freezer space we have (ditto storecupboard & fridge), but even if you live near shops, you never know when illness/accident/happenstance might make it awkward enough to go there that you don’t want to attempt it too often!


        1. a very Northern Irish ambition *cheeky grin* We need one too – like you, we’re stuffing too small a freezer. Though, I’m a tad suspicious of chest freezers – good for storing corpses, but stuff can get lost in the bottom… what I’d prefer would be a large upright freezer with drawers…


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