Well, I never. Heavy snow and plummeting temperatures. In January? Who would have believed it? Not, it would appear, those champions of local government, Midlothian Council.
Having not been out since Saturday - when my bus got stuck in the snow about a mile from home meaning I had to get off and walk the rest of the way - today I ventured out into the Siberian conditions that Dalkeith has become recently. We've had snow here for more than a fortnight now but, thus far, people have carried on relatively unscathed. Today was a different story. Buses are only going part of the way in Dalkeith. For people like me who live at the top of a hill this presents difficulties. After standing for around twenty minutes at lunch time today it became clear to me and the half dozen other hardy souls that no buses were heading our way. So a fifteen minute walk beckoned towards where the buses were terminating some distance away. It seems this will be the way of things for the rest of the week and for who knows how long as the forecast is for the worst winter to hit Scotland for thirty years to continue in its present state for at least another fortnight. However, I don't blame the bus companies for the lack of public transport. Not on this occasion. The state of the roads in Dalkeith are quite frankly shocking. And for this I blame Midlothian 'it's no 'oor fault' Council.
I eventually made it into the centre of Edinburgh this afternoon. The centre of the capital city is fine. There are some patches of snow and ice but for the most part the roads are clear and traffic is moving. It's a different story in Dalkeith. I did see a gritter/snowplough on my way home - that was the only time I saw such a vehicle all day. Yet the traffic in the town is slithering and sliding and crawling to get anywhere. Pedestrians are having to walk on snow covered roads because the pavements are more suitable to Torvill and Dean. There are accidents waiting to happen - and are probably happening as I type this.
The story from local authorities across Scotland is they are concentrating on the major roads and will tend to minor routes when the snow relents. Fair enough. But it seems Midlothian Council aren't even managing that as anyone heading into the town on the A68 today would testify. Of course, today is a public holiday in Midlothian. Perhaps the Council bosses are mindful of this and are counting the pennies. Or it could be they didn't expect snow and ice in the first few days of January (this is Midlothian Council after all...)
Either way, I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I reckon I'll need to set aside at least an hour and a half to get into the office. I may just lob a snowball at the Council's Big Pink Headquarters on the way...