If you listened to the weather reports in the UK yesterday morning, you would have thought the second great ice age was about to begin. A storm was approaching from the North Sea, and a wave of low pressure about to sweep across England, and if you believed the weather forecasts, it was going to freeze everything in it’s path before an army of White Walkers killed everybody – or words to that effect.
I left the other end of the country hours earlier than usual, and raced the snow clouds home. An hour into the journey I thought my time was up, when snowflakes suddenly started whistling past the train carriage windows.
No suck luck.
You want to know the full extent of the blizzard that covered the front pages of the newspapers? A few frozen puddles. That was it.
Of course there’s always one or two people that think the grip levels on an icy road are no different than the tarmac at the outside of Becketts at Silverstone on a summer afternoon. I encountered one of these people this morning while cycling to work.
There I was, quietly picking my way along a victorian back-street not far from my house, when I heard a car approaching at quite some speed behind me. I pulled up at some traffic lights for roadworks, and the car rolled to a stop alongside me – inches from my leg. It was a Subaru Impreza with all the toy-car add-ons to really take away any doubt you might have had about the owner being a complete and utter w*nker.
The traffic lights changed, and I pulled away on my bike. Given that the queue of cars ahead were only 50 yards away, you can imagine my surprise when I heard the whistle of Mr Subaru’s turbo behind me, and saw his wing mirror narrowly miss the end of my handlebar. Here’s the thing though – the car 50 yards ahead was now 30 yards ahead, and turning into a side-street – only it couldn’t because somebody was crossing the road, so it had stopped. At that very moment, Mr Impreza also noticed that the road was half-covered in sheet ice.
I started grinning as the car started to slide. I feel quite guilty about it now, but at the moment I thought he was going to smash into the other car, almost every fibre of my being was screaming “SERVES YOU F*CKING RIGHT”. I was already preparing my words, should a witness to the accident be required.
I was quite disappointed when his car slid to a halt about 6 inches from the one ahead of him. He got away with it. He knew he got away with it, and as our eyes met (his car had rotated a fair amount while skidding, and I had pulled up just off his rear wing), he grinned like an idiot. I so wanted to stick my fingers up at him and shout something abusive, but I didn’t – I just gawped as he floored the throttle, and skidded off towards his next near miss.