Monday, 2 February 2009

Snowpocalypse '09

Well, the last time snowfall got this deep in London I was 8 years old and the headmaster caved in and let us wear long trousers - actually the tracksuit bottoms out of our games kit - for a day. This was how hard we were in 1991 in the wilds of north Surrey.

Today I got up, poked L to look at the snow, and then found out that every bus in London was out of action for the duration. L said it much more eloquently than I could hope to, but I'm not so surprised by this; if this is a once in 18-year event then there's no logical way for TFL to make any kind of return on its investment in snow chains, gritters and the like to keep its fleet on the road. Better everybody have an extra day in bed.

Spent a happy hour or so watching the world pass by below me. At about 8:15 a very orange-skinned, spiky-haired air steward tried to drive up the road in a Smartcar and promptly got completely stuck. Five people, none of them me because I was warm and have more sense, helped him push his stranded little car into a parking space, whereupon he unloaded his little trundly bags and attempted to walk back to the tube, pulling the cases through the snow with their handles. A funnier sight to start my day I could not have hoped for.

I attempted to work for a little while but nobody else on the team made it in and there was nobody in the office to help me upload content remotely, so in the end I jumped on a passing PR bandwagon and wrote a short piece about snow and business continuity which I plan to hang over for tomorrow.

However, multiple attempts to contact my editor and various PRs this morning ended in failure because the mobile networks were unable to cope with the sheer volume of calls from home-workers. Now, the mobile networks and various unified communications providers - that's presence, social networking, voice over IP telephones (VoIP) for the unitiated - have built much of their sales pitch around providing a rock solid infrastructure that facilitates mobile working, particularly in scenarios like Snowpocalypse '09, and this morning they failed to come up to scratch.

So I'm going to try and hit up the usual infrastructure suspects this week for some comment on why this happened and what they plan to do about it and, well, let's just say Orange PRs can expect a call from me.

Bizarrely, pretty much the only part of the tube running today was the Northern Line, which I literally live right above, so I made it into town for a very cosy lunch at the Charlotte Street Hotel - incidentally one of my favourite venues for press events alongside the Soho Hotel, where a colleague once swears he saw Richard Hammond, but I digress. Talked business continuity and routes to market with a very new and interesting US IT firm trying to break into the UK. Lots to say around security and virtualisation and they gave me some ideas to work on. The food was good, too; pork belly with roast pumpkin.

Then, with snow flurrying about my ears and taking little mincy steps I half slid, half scuttled back to the tube and made it home without falling on my arse, so I can content myself with the knowledge that unlike most of the rest of the workforce I did actually manage to have a productive hour or so today and did my bit to keep the economy going.

And now I am sitting in the bay window watching people skidding on the Upper Tooting Road.

1 comment:

corinnetags said...

Hmm, feed didn't pick this one up for some reason. Odd. Sorry for the late comment. Yeah, I used to live in the midwest US. The idea that anything short of a two day blizzard with multiple feet of snow could shut down a major city is kind of hilarious. Hell, unless there's a level 3 snow emergency called (when it is illegal to drive) you're still expected to show up at work. :) I can't believe all the phones went down though, that's ridiculous.