It’s still raining in the Lakes!
In the early 1990s British Rail was derided for claiming that ‘the wrong sort of snow’ was the cause of many service failures during one particular wintery spell. Subsequently, a successor company, Network Rail, was similarly derided for claims that ‘leaves on the line’ were responsible for a number of fractured services.
Yet in both cases the problems were caused by genuine engineering challenges, something overlooked by the great British public in its ignorance and with its desire to moan about the country’s railways.
I know from experience, that when complicated issues are reduced by the media to ‘trial by soundbite’, it is very difficult to close down misleading commentaries – especially to a public with the attention span of a gnat!
Neverthless, a lexicon that now includes ‘the wrong sort of snow’ does point to a kind of exasperated humour, which is why I had to smile when the Lake Windermere ferry service was stopped from running this week (for genuine safety reasons) due to the lake being “too full”…
It was the Graun that cottoned on to the fact that:
The operators of the Windermere ferry, which shuttles between Nab End and Bowness, have apologised for being unable to run the service with the lake being too full.
… before acknowledging the actual safety issue as given by the operators:
Due to excessive rainfall overnight the lake levels have risen to an extent whereby we cannot land safely and must suspend services till levels drop.
Still, it’s worth a limerick…
A Lake District storm will not lull
When the weather’s so beastly and dull
And conditions have shown us
The ferry from Bowness
Can’t sail ‘cos the lake is too full
Postscript: you can always tell an offcomer to Cumbria by the way they pronounce ‘Bowness’ (or ‘Penrith’ for that matter). The emphasis should be on the first syllable and not the second: BO-nuss rather than bo-NESS, ditto, PEN-reth and not pen-RITH! (In other words, to a Cumbrian, Bowness is a true rhyme with shown us!)