Wednesday 7 December 2016

Life halted by a few degrees

Published 12/12/2010 | 05:00

Sir -- The almost complete stoppage of life occasioned by the current spattering of snow is scarcely believable. When I was a child, our schools were kept open by every janitor, able-bodied teacher and even the school dinner ladies digging out the playground with old-fashioned shovels. The same "all hands to the deck" attitude applied to airports, where the general manager was to be seen with his spade alongside ground staff and pilots as they fought to keep runways clear.

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Not only are we now far too reliant on often inadequate and unreliable mechanical means of snow removal, but the EU-mandated adoption of the SI system has brought a touch of fatalism to how we regard low temperatures. O degrees Celsius is now seen as a sign that civilisation as we know it must be temporarily suspended, whereas 32 degrees Fahrenheit never had that effect!

John Eoin Douglas,

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