4pm yesterday I was glued to the front window waiting for the storm to hit. Those in the know seemed quite certain that it would. Our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was on national TV telling us all to be indoors by 4pm Thursday and to stay indoors until 3 pm on Friday. And then it was 12 noon and then it was back to 6pm. I stopped briefly to wonder why Leo V, leader of the country, was on camera. Surely Eoghan Murphy,Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government would have been better served as spokesperson. But hey – face time is face time.
I knew the situation was serious. But it still felt a little like the head teacher warning us to be back in class when the break-over bell had rung. A sliver of stubbornness leaked out and I thought about going for a walk at 4pm in a childish act of defiance. But at that stage, I’d discovered the Comedy Gold TV Channel and I was busy watching reruns of the Good Life. Watching Barbara trying to count chickens seemed a warmer use of my time.
So we stayed in. We watched the telly. And we ate dinner. We watched reruns of University Challenge and got all excited when we got an answer right. Late into the night, we watched an episode of Shetland, a TV series based on the brilliant Perez books by Ann Cleeves (Note to self to check Netflix with a view to investing time in watching the rest of the series). We occasionally looked outside to see what was happening. At times the wind was howling and blowing around the snow that was already there. That seemed to be the blizzard. The one metre of snow forecast never materialised – at least not in this part of Dublin.
This morning, I was like a kid at Christmas, peaking through the curtains to see what havoc had been wreaked.. But there’s little difference. The wind is still howling, and there might be a little more snow. But that’s it. I checked the airport. It’s closed until Saturday. Some 260 people were stranded there last night. Not the most comfortable of places to spend any length of time as I’m sure the vending machines haven’t been refuelled and the cafés and restaurants might not have been restocked.
I checked this morning’s papers. Some people, driving in defiance of the public order, had been stuck in their cars overnight. That must have been bloody cold. Dublin Fire Brigade had to assist 200 ambulances who couldn’t make their way through the snow. And about 25000 houses are without electricity. Public transport is still not running and a lot of the shops aren’t opening until this afternoon.
Pictures from around the country show that other places definitely had it worse than we did. There are murmurs this morning of a national over-reaction but then those in charge are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Better safe than sorry, I say. And to the world that’s wondering how such a relatively small snow event could bring the country to its knees when it wouldn’t cause a second blink in Minnesota or Toronto or Anchorage – remember that this is the norm there – it’s a rarity here. We’re beginners, novices, newbies to the whole snow thing.
Yes, I’m still put out that I missed the inaugural St David’s Day celebrations in Budapest. I’m more than a tad peeved that I’m missing the Brain Dogs gig tonight. And I’m a tad disgruntled that my pre-workshop prep time has been derailed. But at least I have somewhere to stay, good company to share, and great TV to watch.
The funny side keeps popping up on the radio. My favourite so far is a lad who wrote the words SEND BREAD in massive letters in the snow, and then climbed on his roof to take a photo of it. And one Spanish couple went ahead and got married and then braved the elements along the Grand Canal, photographer in tow, to get the sacred wedding pics. One of the 52 babies born in the last 48 hours in Holles Street hospital has been named Emma. A happy coincidence or just stuck for inspiration – you gotta wonder.
The status red is still in operation for Leinster and Munster and Galway, but orange reigns elsewhere. The curfew has been lifted though, so we can venture outside, if we really need to. Just another couple of days to go before I can fly. If I had to get weathered in, Dublin was the place to be.