It’s déjà vu all over again

Haven’t we been here some time before? In the words of baseball legend Yogi Berra, it’s déjà vu all over again.

17th December 2009

The Thursday of the week before Christmas was our work Christmas party, held at a golf club in Wokingham. It snowed suddenly and heavily late in the evening and caused havoc with many people’s travel plans. Some people walked home in freezing conditions, others had to spend the night at colleagues’ houses.

I left early – as soon as it started snowing – which meant I made it home okay, although the first kilometre getting out of the golf club on snowy roads with rear-wheel drive was a bit of an adventure.

16th December 2010

The Thursday of the week before Christmas was our work Christmas party, held at the same venue. The forecast suggested a strong possibility of heavy snowfall. In the end it snowed during the afternoon but didn’t settle, and it thankfully held off over the course of the evening.

I left early – wary of the worsening conditions – which meant I got home okay, although, as last year, the first kilometre getting out of the golf club on icy roads with rear-wheel drive was a bit of an adventure.

Spookily familiar.

21st December 2009

The Monday before Christmas. An all-day management meeting. Mid-afternoon we had a sudden blizzard. Offices across Bracknell emptied as if there had been a bomb alert. The lucky ones managed to slither home, completing what would normally be relatively short trips in two hours or more. (A colleague who lives near to me took five hours to do what is normally a 30-35 minute drive.)

It took me three hours to crawl less than a mile until I could find somewhere safe to abandon the car, and I spent the night in a hotel. Heather, meanwhile, was 36 weeks pregnant and stranded in Henley, and Zac had to be delivered on a mission of mercy from nursery to a friend’s for the night. Let’s just say it was a fraught 18 hours or so.

Is it going to be this bad again this year?

20th December 2010

The Monday before Christmas. Today. An all-day management meeting again, but this time we had a couple of inches of snow over the weekend, with a variable forecast for the day which veers randomly from no to heavy snow with every passing hour. At the very least, lots of severe weather warnings.

So you’ll forgive me if I’ve wimped out and decided to work from home today. It’s all too easy to think I must do the macho thing and struggle manfully to get into the office – and risk not being able to get away again – but if I’m being honest my commute to work definitely counts as ‘non-essential’. Particularly when I can easily teleconference and use online solutions such as NetMeeting to share documents and presentations – which is what I am currently doing at the same time that I write this post. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly adequate.

Overall, my attitude towards travelling in bad weather is significantly more conservative than it would have been, say, five years ago now that I have two young children and having been caught out badly on the equivalent day last year. Maybe I am being too cautious, but as I glance out of my front window at our snow and ice-covered road I am reminded of an old aphorism:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Never mind déjà vu – once vu is quite enough for me, thank you.