A temporary cure for slippery surfaces

Yesterday’s slippery problem has been solved today, at least temporarily, by a blanket of new snow. This has stuck to the slippery bits and covered all the dirty old snow and ice with a layer of large, white, grippy snowflakes that ‘crump’ satisfyingly underfoot.

As a general rule, if the surface under your feet ‘crumps’, then you have at least some grip. It is when your foot makes no sound, on the ground that you have to start being careful.

Slip sliding away

To say it is a bit slippery underfoot is a like saying there is minor interest in the up coming royal wedding in the UK or the paths up Everest are a little steep or there was a slight dip in the world economy after the credit crunch.

The thaw has created randomly distributed patches on roads and pavements so slippery that they make the ijzel that covers Dutch roads during winter look like a high friction coating. It is also impossible to determine which bits are merely slippery and which are incredibly slippery. This evening, it took more than ten minutes to walk down to our Norwegian class at the adult education centre, something that normally takes less than five.

I don’t fancy going base over apex and landing on sharp frozen slush. So, I might just head out to Nesbyen tomorrow and try and get some gangbrodder. They should keep me upright and walking until all the ice has disappeared.


The thaw has started. Not in the sense of water gushing in torrents down small mountain rivers, accompanied by the mellifluous tones of David Attenborough explaining the curious spring mating rituals of the flightless Garzantian Duple Floober.

No, not like that.

As soon as the sun has risen far enough above the valley wall to shine for most of the day, snow starts melting. The snow on our roof, that has been hanging over the edge of the guttering like a beer belly constrained at its lower reaches by a belt, drips all day. Every now and again there is a soft ‘floop’, as another chunk of snow falls three metres and lands on the thick layer of snow that still covers the garden.

Driving has also become more interesting. Where the roads get sunshine the whole day, the snow and ice has all but disappeared. But, round the next corner, the road could be in the shade all day and all of a sudden you are driving on old, warm snow. In many places only one wheel sits on tarmac: braking suddenly is something you don’t want to do, even with ABS.

It is warm too. Despite experiencing temperatures below -20’c in the last fortnight, outside is a balmy +something-or-other. It is even warm enough to start working on our cars without having to go inside every half hour to warm up.

Yes, the thaw has started. Just not quite as I expected it to.