I know I am cruel and shouldn’t laugh but sometimes the animal kingdom has me in fits. Buzzard sitting on a branch all puffed up against the cold (yes I know it looks like a pigeon but it’s not). Just after I took the photo a huge dollop of snow plopped onto it knocking it more of less of its perch. It sort of swung for a moment under the branch flapping it’s wings and knocking more snow off in a very very undignified way for a buzzard, more like a parrot really, before dropping off and flying off with a noise which I swear sounded like annoyance. Had me in tears of mirth.
Another thing that has me in fits is people and snow. Taking the howler to the playschool this morning was good entertainment. So to get out of our house we put chains on the snow tyres just in case, and as usual loaded snow shovel and salt in boot. Driving off road isn’t so much of a problem because of the irregular surface, it’s more the slippery tarmac and ride down to the village if they haven’t cleared the road which causes problems. At one time you used to see lots of people with chains. Today nobody, just us. Once down we took them off of course but we have as I said, thermal snow tyres and even with them it was decidedly slippy. But all over the place there were cars skidding off the road without chains, without snow tyres or nailed tyres going at speeds just the same as they would if it were a light drizzle. People overtaking, not indicating, parking, stopping without warning, some going at 5 kph some at 70kph. Pedestrians wandering about in the middle of the road because the local authority can’t be bothered to clean the pavements (mind you they aren’t exactly doing a very good job cleaning the main provincial road so far either) people trying to park on meter high banks of snow. Sheer madness. One total prat bombing down a steep hill in the middle of the road (which the snow plough had more or less reduced to one track) with absolutely no possibility of stopping had, say, a person stepped into the road and with his elbow propped up on his door sill and mobile attached to ear caused the car in front of me to slide off the road to avoid him. Then, as I had stopped behind it, I was already moving off to overtake it (no I didn’t help. No snow tyres or chains? push it your bloody self) and the car behind me accelerated like a maniac to try to overtake me, which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting as I was already moving (yes I did check the mirror). He braked… and slid off the road opposite the other car. He was not a happy bunny. Meantime (woozle started to enjoy himself at this point) another car coming down the hill too fast starts to brake. Oops, big mistake and turns 180 degrees causing the car behind him… well you get the picture. I deftly nip out of it’s way and just have to stop and look in the mirror to see the chaos behind. And what chaos! I really am going to have to buy a new camera to keep in the car. Anyway all this because we were all using the side roads because a bloody great articulated lorry got stuck across the roundabout on the main road blocking it completely. No chains or snow tyres apparently. What gets into people? What is it that makes Giovanni who only ever drives on Fridays, no snow gear and without bothering to clear the snow off the windscreen, suddenly get into his car and pootle off a 0.5 mph going who knows where? And what make jeep drivers ignore the difficulties they cause to others by zooming all over the place just because they have snow tyres and 4x4. Because they then cause Giovanni to brake to 0.0005 mph and everyone else has to brake too. But the weirdest thing is that this is a mountain community. I’d have thought people would be prepared. Madness. Better to stay at home.
So having already started the day off well, I had muligatawney soup for lunch, with remains of last night’s ragu chucked in as well and half an hour of misommer murders on video. Aaaahhh.