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Monday, 6 February 2012

Scott of the Antarctic

Life in Milton Road in the depths of E17 is nothing if not exciting.

Last winter when it really, really snowed and our road impersonated Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica we had much fun thinking up stratagems to stop ourselves from starving to death being unable to beat a path from the front door and onto the glacier.

Car drivers suddenly discovered the thrill of skating on ice and the sense of helplessness as the front wheels wouldn't steer and the back wheels couldn't grip. It was all because our little section of the road is one way. For some strange reason that means it doesn't register on the Council's radar. So as well as being missed off rubbish collections, we don't get gritted.

Such was the furore last year that representations were made to our elected representatives. Letters were written to the local press and a petition signed "What do we want, "Grit" when do we want it, "When it Snows"".

By early last Sunday morning the snow lay deep and crisp and even: it was, as always, beautiful. Once again, crampons and ice picks were hauled out as we and the neighbours struggled up the North Face of the Eiger, but confident in the knowledge that the sound that heralded the approach of the gritter would soon be echoing up and down our one way stretch of road.

Nothing, not a sausage, not a single crystal of rock salt fell on the whiteness that was the Milton Road crevasse.The sight of sleighs drawn by beefy husky dogs, herds of reindeer and Arctic foxes gambolling in the snow brought iced tears to the residents' eyes. Once again we were the Frozen North of Walthamstow.

Last winter did not do our road surface any favours. Had they been casting for the lead in a remake of "Scarface" it would have been a shoe in. It was pitted to buggery as the say at the Highways Secretariat. Almost a year ago, as the neighbours banded together to Spring Clean the street on a chilly Sunday in March, we were joined by our hard working councillors.

They were the bringers of good news. The road was to be resurfaced in 2011. They didn't say when exactly but we were overjoyed. Drivers would be able to tell the difference between a speed hump and a cavernous pot-hole. Returning deserters from the war in Afghanistan would no longer be able to hide out in their depths.

Around November, signs started to appear in the road. Advance notice of "Road Resurfacing" with a warning that any car found parked and loitering by the curb on the day in question would be forcible removed and impounded. Shortly before the great day, the dates on the signs were rubbed out and another date, a week later, written in. Shortly before the second great day, a new sign appear at the top and bottom of the road apologising that because winter was drawing in the road resurfacing would have to be postponed.

Today, we learn that, subject to the weather, the resurfacing is to take place the week beginning the 20th of this month.

About time too! Especially as a snow plough went up and down the road this morning removing the by now vanished snow and much of the remaining road surface.


Steve said...


Anonymous said...

Your council are obviously following the maxim of Oates when he said to Scott, when leaving the tent for the last time, I may be some time......

Marginalia said...

Dear Steve, exactly!

Dear The Penguin,"Scott's Porridge Oates" to you.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy getting my oates of a morning

Marginalia said...

Ho Ho Ho!

Anonymous said...

So Santa comes from the ANTarctic does he?

Marginalia said...

Anymore wisecracks like that and I'll DEC you!