Last Thursday I met up with two of my erstwhile colleagues for an evening in Reading. We began in The Hobgoblin, which I noticed as I entered seems to have a Polish licencee (maybe it always has). In any case, it didn't seem much changed, though there was piped muzak which we hadn't expected - mostly Tom Lehrer songs, which we deemed acceptable. We moved on to Sweeney's for pies, of course (has anyone ever had the "Hare and Cherry" pie? It's always listed on the menu but I have never heard it read out), then dithered our way to Zero Degrees. The music was quite deafening and we retreated to the bouncers'/smokers' area, admitting that we had all clearly become reactionary old farts. Still, we struck up a conversation with someone taking a fag break from his company dinner, who told us quite how awful it was to work for a certain software company on Thames Valley Park. This cheered my ex-colleagues up quite a bit, as clearly they didn't work in the worst possible place after all.
Later on Thursday evening, it began snowing, and by Friday morning there was a couple of inches or so of snow, with the corresponding stream of cars struggling up the hill - beginning at 05:45 with someone scraping the road clear. Fortunately it was my work Christmas lunch, and I had arranged to work from home, and then venture in by public transport, so I didn't have to consider whether to brave the roads. We had lunch - which ran on all afternoon - at the Head of The River, which I admit had the best menu of the options we were shown, but did turn out to be adequate, in an Ofsted-requiring-special-measures sense.
We've had more snow overnight here, and I struggled to get up the hill in the car this morning (setting off in second gear did the trick) to make a trip to Sainsbury's, which was every bit as unpleasant as I expected. Unfortunately I have a meeting in Oxford tomorrow, so I have to make a decision about whether to attempt to get in, and if so, how. It looks like the roads are reasonable, once I am off this estate, but that is not a trivial matter (the council grit bin at the bottom of the road is once again empty, and one of my neighbours told me that he'd rung them to be told that they couldn't get the lorry down our hill to top it up, and then that they didn't have enough grit anyway. Reasons I'd like to move, #37). As it's out in the sticks beyond Cowley, the train is of limited use. I'd have to get the bus from here to Reading, then I may investigate the X39/X40 as I think it stops quite close to work, and if the driver doesn't agree that it goes that way, I would have to take the train and then a bus within Oxford. And then I'd have to do all of that in reverse. It doesn't look good for Tuesday either as there could be more snow on Monday night, but as I don't have any committments it shouldn't be a problem to work from home. Mrs Q is in a similar situation for the next couple of days, as Tuesday is his leaving day it's difficult not to be there to hand things in.
It could be worse, but let's hope it doesn't become so. I gather Christmas is pretty much cancelled already for anyone wanting to use the Channel Tunnel. I'm heading North via London on the train on Wednesday.