Scraping the car windscreen in the freezing cold this morning convinced me that winter is not just around the corner, but has arrived! Driving to work on some of the pot-holed rural back roads, where lots of the surface water had reverted to a glutinous mush,meant that the application of the brakes on any bend was extremely hazardous, made me realise how vital the work of the gritting lorries is. Unfortunately, even in the very worst conditions, they never seem to venture onto these roads. You just have to remember to drive that little bit slower and not feel under pressure by arriving a few minutes late (of course, better planning would ensure that if I left slightly earlier, this added stress to my daily life would disappear).
I realize now that I have subconsciously been aware of piles of grit gradually appearing on verges at known black spots along these routes – the memory of those snowy drives from last winter are still very much alive in people’s memories. Preparation is obviously the key factor in maintaining a non-slip surface on routes at all times. A factor in our attracting one of our new customers – a gritting company, based near London, is the fact that our site is so well-placed – near to the M40 and the centre of Oxford. The grit is delivered to a designated area in our storage centre and then their trucks are able to collect loads for spreading around all the NHS sites in Oxford. Hopefully, they won’t have to use it too often, but it’s reassuring to know that we shall all be safe walking around all those interminable pathways which link many of the different buildings in our local hospitals.