Chaos from the moment flakes hit the ground - Argus Friday 4th March 2016

Posted Monday 7th March 2016   By Ericka Waller

So the white stuff is coming. No doubt in the words of the chart-topping band Blue it will ‘have the city under lock-down’. And in true British spirit, our failure to prepare will no doubt prepare us to fail. I predict, as normal, that we will not grit soon enough, or thickly enough. People will risk life and limb to stock up on bread and canned goods. The word of the day will be ‘severe delays’ across all forms of public transport. Historically, Virgin trains have blamed delays on "snow that had fallen, snow that was still falling as well as ice forming on overhead power lines." Network rail’s genius excuse for ineptitude was snow having the audacity to fall after 5pm "Snow can pose a threat to the railway if it ... continues to fall outside normal working hours." Kids will be praying to wake up to a blanket of white over the lawn, and a day off ahead, while mothers desperately resort to strapping tennis rackets to their shoes in an attempt to ski them to school. Anything rather than a day of ‘I want to go outside and build a snowman’, then twenty-minutes later, 18 of which were spent bundling them into snow-suits, gloves, wellies, bobble hats and scarfs) ‘I’m cold, I want to come in’ (mitten-less glove pounding on window).


I think the saddest part of snow, is watching people meticulously shovel their own driveways, exactly to the point that it touches their neighbour, and then go back indoors with ‘job well done’ glow on their face.

One of my favourite childhood memories is of my brother (I won’t say which)  reaching that wonderful age where he knew far more about everything than our dad, and so responded to his ‘First time driving in the snow eh? Word from the wise, don’t pull out the drive too fast Son’ with a derisive sneer.

How we laughed then, when less than five minutes later a little white face appeared at the door, and a frosty finger pointed to his beloved car, in the front garden of a house nearby.
Luckily, only male ego was hurt (and confirmed) in this tragically funny event.

Don’t think I am a mean sister. This is the self-same brother who wrote to the local DVLA and proposed a ‘three strikes and you are out ban’ on driving tests, the day after my third failed one. (Pigeon flew into windscreen, no-one believes me.)

In other news residents and businesses are swapping their leftovers with neighbours in an innovative scheme designed to cut down food waste.

The Free app OLIO has gone live in Brighton and Hove stopping food near its use-by date, spare vegetables from the allotment or groceries being binned.

I think the idea is pure genius. I am ashamed at the food that goes into my bin. So much so, I’ve often felt like taking our leftovers into the City and offering it to someone who would be grateful for a lukewarm meal (I am one of those people who never serves baked beans hot enough), instead of to my faddish children who often declare they ‘don’t like it’ before even seeing what dinner is, or informing me they will ‘only be eating blue food from now on.’

But then, they have never gone hungry, and perhaps I have never been hard enough on them. As someone who struggled with an eating disorder, I am too quick to say ‘just leave it poppet’ when it comes to plate clearing (oh mum guilt, hear my cry).

OLIO will also help tackle the sustainability issues that being overly-keen meat eaters has caused.

Historically meat was for Sundays, and the leftovers eked out over the week (I can’t be the only kid who had a roast lamb, braised lamb, curried lamb and lamb sandwiches all in the same week).

To try and rid the world of meat-eating could be seen as ‘biting off more than you can chew’, literally, but this scheme allows fickle people who planned to cook the chicken in their fridge for dinner, then decided on a last minute cheeky Nando’s instead, to still find a use for it.

Of course I am sure some people will ‘have a beef’ with this scheme for one reason than another. No doubt someone will be sued over finding a rouge hair in someone else’ left-over rhubarb crumble, or inadvertently eat a beetle from some allotment grown lettuce, but till then, lets enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of being picked as one of the first to adopt this scheme.

OLIO co-founder Saasha Celestial-One said “Brighton was always on the shortlist because it has such a reputation for an eco conscious community, we felt the city’s pervasive consciousness was a good fit.’

We shall wait and see. Leftover jacket potato anyone?

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