Monday, March 12, 2018

Of #StormEmma, Grandad, And #Space Littering (FD + Kinda R/WP)

There were a lot of weather warnings in the week that ended February and started March. I told you in my post from yesterday about the snow we had from February 26th to March 1st. But I didn't mention the red alert weather warning that was issued because "Storm Emma" was scheduled to hit some time on March 1st 2018, with warnings about not travelling unless you had no choice all over the news.

It was my Grandad's funeral on March 2nd.

It didn't happen sooner than that because my Uncle Patrick (the eldest of my Mam's siblings, and the one who was closest to Grandad) was away in Africa when Grandad died, and things had to be delayed until he could get home.

Anyway, I didn't go.

Not because of the weather though. I mean, I probably would have decided it was safer not to go with how the weather was anyhow, because it would have meant spending several hours on the 1st making a train journey across the South of England, from where I live in the South-East, to where a lot of the family lives - and my Grandad lived - in the South-West, and then hoping I could get back home again on the 3rd, after the storm had hopefully passed and finished causing any damage it was going to. But I'd already decided even before the first snowflake fell that I wouldn't be going to the funeral.

Funerals, in my opinion, are a chance for you to remember the person and say, "Goodbye."

Except, I feel like I already did that even before Uncle Patrick came home with what I posted on my blog.

Like I said in my post at the end of January, I wasn't close to Grandad. I didn't see a lot of him as a child, and saw him even less as an adult. I'm sad that he's gone, because he was my Grandad, and because death is always a sad thing. But I didn't feel I needed to be at his funeral.

Of course, then I felt guilty for being able to lay my Grandad to rest so easily, when I struggle with many memories of other things. I hate how my head works sometimes. I don't regret not going though. Like I said, I didn't feel I needed to be there. Even if part of me felt a bit guilty for feeling that way when it was my Grandad.

I actually wondered at one point if it would be rescheduled because of the weather. Do people do that with funerals? I actually don't know much about how these things work. Still, as I said, I wondered if it would be. It wasn't though, so a couple of people who had planned to be there ended up not managing to be, which is a shame.

As already mentioned, I'd have been staying home anyhow, because of the weather. Travelling so far would have been an ordeal for me without the added complication of snow and severe weather warnings. I wasn't really concerned about the storm itself as such. I'm not saying I didn't take it seriously: I kept an eye on weather reports for our area, and made sure we were fine for supplies for us and the furkids before it hit, etc. My main concern was in the fact that the UK tends to panic easily about weather warnings, and things get shut down at the slightest sign of severe weather, including long-distance transport options, bearing in mind that trains are unreliable in this country as it is. I didn't want to get stuck somewhere that wasn't my own home if this happened. Especially since I'd have had to go without Kelly, because he'd have had to stay home with Joshua, Mollie, Maizie, and Lilie.

I understand the concern. I really do. And, to be honest, I wouldn't think twice about them worrying so much if people were sensible about what they did. Most people rush out to empty the shelves of their nearest shops, which seems to be common all over the world in the event of severe storm warnings. Getting supplies is sensable. Unfortunately, people don't use sense when gathering said supplies. The shelves of canned and non-perishable items remain largely untouched, while supplies with short shelf lives - in particular things like milk - are brought in bulk, despite the fact they not only have short shelf lives to start with, but will last even less time if the power goes out and the fridge stops working. Buying extra milk and those kinds of things are logical if you're having extra guests visiting. For potential storm supplies... Not so much. If it was nuts, dried and canned fruit, or things like crisps (potato chips) and chocolate bars, that would make sense. If people were stocking up on extra bottled water or pop too, that would also make sense. The kinds of things people buy in their panic don't make sense. I think the whole country needs some tips on surviving storms, especially considering how many bad ones we've had in the past couple of years, because I think it's the lack of knowledge on what they should actually do - combined with the media offering no more advice than, "Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary" - that causes most of the UK to panic, make stupid choices when trying to prepare for a coming storm, and cause accidents in their attempts to do so. I heard several emergency vehicle sirens even before the bad weather actually hit. Most likely hurrying to deal with accidents caused by people who were rushing to do whatever they felt they should be doing before a storm. Accidents that may have been avoidable if people didn't panic so.

I'm not saying the UK is the only country that does it. It happens elsewhere too. I'm also not saying making sure people actually know what to do in the event of a storm will completely stop this kind of thing from happening. It won't. But I know the UK panics big time, and feel I can say this with confidence, having lived in a few different parts of the UK myself throughout my life, and witnessed it first hand. Storm survival tips wouldn't prevent it all, as I already said, but it might help. It may also reduce the number of deaths that actually occur during the storms. It may not. But wouldn't it be a good idea to try it and see? Wouldn't it be sensible to arm people with the knowledge they need to be safe in these situations? I know not everyone would listen to the advice. But if it saved even one life per storm, wouldn't it be worth it?

I know there's no way to completely avoid death from storms and other natural disasters. But I still think there are ways we could reduce the death tolls by being more prepared, and educating people better on how to be more prepared themselves. Not to mention, ways we could reduce the death tolls from manmade disasters. As I already said, I think it would be worthwhile putting in the time and effort required to educate the masses better... Even if it only saved some of the lives that might otherwise have been lost.

On a sort of related note...

While reading "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery" at the end of last month, something occurred to me: mankind has hardly started to set foot in space, and we've already started littering up there.

While it's true that much of the space litter will be burned up during its time orbiting the Earth... At least, after a certain amount of time... That's not true of all of it. There are already satalites and things floating about up there, reminding me of scenes of rusted old washing machines and prams, left in gardens because nobody could be bothered to arrange for their proper disposal.

So, even as we praise the efforts of people like Trash Girl here on Earth, we're littering in not only our own backyards and streets, but also the galactic highways of space.

It's taken polution levels increasing a lot to make people start becoming aware that something needs to be done about littering here on Earth, and even then many people still don't care. What will it take to make people find an alternative to littering in space too? Considering how life-threateningly dangerous floating debris is in space, I hope a solution to this space littering is created before we have to find out!

Anyway... Returning to the topic of the storm...

I know Storm Emma caused chaos and damage in some areas: it was mentioned on the bits of news I caught. But in my immediate area it only seemed to be freezing temperatures that felt even colder than they were because of the strong gusts of icy wind. At least, I didn't hear of anything worse than that in my immediate area, despite predictions of gale force winds, more snow, etc. By the morning of March 2nd, the weather warning had changed to an amber alert, and - as I already said - we didn't actually get anything worse than a very cold and blustery day. Also, a lot of my snow was gone by the morning of March 2nd, and more disappeared throughout that day, with no more falling to replace it.

March 3rd was another day with temperatures below freezing, but still no more snow. That day started out with really thick fog though. But that had mostly cleared by mid morning. Since then it's been cold, but nothing interesting has happened weather wise. In other words, no more snow or storms.

6 comments:

Jeanie said...

I understand what you mean about your grandfather. You said your goodbyes and you do it in writing. We all do it differently and sometimes a funeral just isn't what we want -- or need -- to do. Even without the weather.

You've got a good point about storm shopping. I hadn't thought of that but yes, I can see if you have a kid and need milk for a bit (I suppose you can put it out on the ledge if desperate for periods of time to keep it cold, but too much and frozen!). No one LIKES canned goods all that much but in a storm and without power, they'll be more effective. I've heard a good fridge/freezer if kept closed is good for about 48 hours if it is full and 24 if half, if you keep the door closed. A big storm can take things out longer than that.

Victoria Zigler said...

Jeanie:
Exactly. We all say goodbye differently, and funerals isn't my way to do it.

I can understand the reluctance to have dried and canned items. I can also understand the desire to get a little extra milk or bread in... Just in case. But "a little extra" should be an extra carton or two, and an extra loaf or two of bread (maybe a little more if you have a large family). What I'm talking about is how people go nuts, and it's not a little extra they buy, but whole cart loads of just milk and bread.

Rita said...

I guess I hadn't thought much about how people who aren't used to snow storms might panic and buy silly stuff like tons of milk. Like you said--bottled water would make a lot more sense. I don't think they think about the not having electricity maybe being a problem. I don't buy bottled water so when storms are predicted I fill up pots and pans...and pails, etc. I don't have a bathtub in this apartment but I used to fill up the bathtub, too, sometimes. You'd be surprised how much water you need to clean dishes and things and yourselves...besides just drinking water.

But if you have an electric stove--bread actually does make sense. You can make sandwiches from peanut butter & jelly or cheese (that will last a long time without being refrigerated) or even canned tuna or even canned baked beans on bread. But first you'd be using up everything in the frig and then what you could in the freezer. After the tornadoes in Fridley, Mn when I was a kid (1965) we didn't have electricity for many days. The first thing we got to do that us kids loved was eat up all the ice cream and popsicles! We were lucky it was spring and not winter.

You need oil lamps and candles...a radio that takes batteries and extra batteries. In the winter you need to know where all your blankets, sleeping bags, coats, and sweaters are. People in homes that have outside grills can use the grill in the winter if they need to. You can start up a portable grill in the garage and leave the door open if it is really bad weather.

We know to have things in the car here, too. I always traveled with my box of stuff--pail or a large coffee can & toilet paper, extra clothing & blankets or a sleeping bag, candles and matches, a deck of cards, a shovel & bags of sand or kitty litter. If you never travel outside of town you don't need as much but if you travel out into the country--you could be stranded for a while and it doesn't take a car long to get very cold. And if you need to get dug out--you will need to save your gas & battery to get out of there once you are free.

I'm sure people who live in hurricane country or flood country have all their own survival plans, too. I think anyone who has a home and can set up a generator is blessed! Up here, too. We get floods every spring along the river. Thanks goodness we don't live close to the river! :)

Goodness--I did go on. Sorry. Just a lot of stuff comes automatically to mind. ;)

I think you did the right thing. It is also not easy for you to travel alone. I can't travel anymore due to pain so I couldn't go to my aunt's funeral or my dad's. Life is just like that sometimes. They know I loved them. And we all have relatives we are closer to and less close to. That's just the way it is. I think you wouldn't have needed to feel guilty if it was beautiful weather, for that matter. ;)

Victoria Zigler said...

Rita:
I agree about the bread, which is why I was focussing on mentioning things like milk. Bread can last just fine without a fridge, and is a great option for putting with things as part of a meal that doesn't require cooking, as you said. Although, I have to wonder how many people they thought they'd be feeding with how much bread they were buying. Still, at least I can see the logic in buying extra bread.

I don't usually buy much bottled water, but do buy some.

That's fine about you rambling on a bit. Those are great tips. Though I dare say you don't need me to say so. It's things like that people here need to be taught.

Travelling even with people is hard on me, but doing it alone is worse. I'll feel a little guilty no matter what though, because I can't help it. I'm good at worrying and feeling guilty about things that I have no need to worry or feel guilty about.

Intense Guy said...

Someone once told me this, "You know, half the people are dumber than average, and the average isn't very high either!"

So the panic and dumb behavior - buying milk and such.

And to add to the dumbs... you got the lazy that simply toss trash any old place. Makes me sad to be part of the human race most times.

Victoria Zigler said...

Iggy:
You and me both... *sigh*