What is it about the weather in Britain. I know it is a wee bit unpredictable, but it provides the main topic of conversation for the British and when it is in any way out of the ordinary, everything seems to break down.
It was certainly warm yesterday which made a nice change from the norm, but flights were cancelled, the railways almost came to a standstill and even the new Prime Minister was largely forgotten about, except perhaps in the House of Commons where he seems to have completely flattened – verbally of course – his opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn.
Back to the weather and the trains though. It will be Autumn soon so the trains will again have difficulty and thousands of folks will have their lives disrupted through ‘leaves on the line’ then a couple of months later, it will snow and the railways will fail again. Yesterday they seemed to think that the tracks might buckle in the heat – it wasn’t even forty degrees damnit! – but railway tracks are built to withstand high temperatures. Aren’t they? British railway franchises must surely use the same tracks as systems elsewhere yet one never hears about hot weather disrupting life in other countries. Even in particularly hot countries, trains and aeroplanes still come and go.
This is supposed to be a developed nation and rail travel is hellishly expensive so why on earth isn’t something done to prevent this sort of nonsense?
In Switzerland they have another weather problem which local people are tackling themselves. Residents who live near the endangered Rhone glacier have been covering it with a huge thermal blanket to protect it from the summer heat. Every spring since 2009, locals who live near the glacier trek up the Swiss Alps to cover it in white blankets. These are stuffed with a heavy-duty fleece material which insulates the ice and reflects back the sunlight. Pretty hard ion the eyes I should imagine.
These ‘blankets’ cover around five acres of the retreating glacier and are left on from spring until autumn, when the ice field is most vulnerable. Seemingly this prevents some of the snow and ice from thawing in the summer sun that has already wreaked damage to the Rhone and other glaciers in the area.
Over the last 10 years the glacier has apparently lost an average of 33ft of thickness with the melting water forming a lake that has been growing in size in the past decade. The ice mass, which 11,500 years ago covered the majority of Switzerland, has apparently 4,600ft since 1856 or so the scientific community would have us believe.
Scientists say the process of covering the glacier can reduce the rate at which the ice recedes by between 50 and 70 per cent. But then what? Weather patterns are undoubtedly changing as they have changed for millennia and I fear that there is nothing Mankind can do to prevent global warming from taking place. Glib political promises to cut this or that out of life will achieve nothing against the forces of Nature and all the protests in the world won’t help.
Talking of protests and protesters, I mentioned Zoe Jones in a rant a week or so ago. She was the Extinction Rebellion ‘eco warrior’ who cried crocodile tears to a Bristol radio reporter when she was told that a motorist had been prevented from seeing his dying father by the XR protests.
Now it turns out that Ms Jones is a long way from the passionate believer in a cause that she claims to be. On social media she flaunts her ecologically unsound jet-setting, uploading photographs of herself skiing, posing at the Victoria Falls, and in skydiving kit at an airfield.
Other exotic locations enjoyed by the protesting lass from Shrewsbury include a trip to Egypt and a bungee jump over the Nile, a safari in Uganda, holidays in Namibia, France and New Zealand. Emphasising her soft spot for environment-damaging travel on Twitter, she wrote: ‘Impromptu trip to Paris… YES PLEASE’.
Miss Jones’s boastful social media pictures have led to some folk – including me -accusing her of double standards by preaching to others while flying around the world. After all, you can hardly complain about the impact of travelling on the environment and then swan around by aeroplane. I’m afraid that is complete and utter hypocrisy.
One of the XR organisers, Robert Boardman-Pattinson has also come under fire for advocating environmentally friendly living while flying all over the world. He has also posted pictures onto Instagram from numerous skiing holidays, posed in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as well of pictures of palm fringed exotic travels.
It turns out that Miss Jones and her family are avid Corbyn supporters and hugely anti Conservative as well as climate change protesters. I wonder if that is significant?