Scotland on Red Alert

by duncanr

2 Comments to “Scotland on Red Alert”

  1. was born and raised in Edinburgh but moved away a long time ago, so lovely for me to view this video of my home town

    actually lived on Arthur Street – at the foot of Arthur seat – and have lots of happy memories of playing on it’s slopes!


  2. You Scots are hilarious.

    I woke up on the first day of the Iraq War in March 2003 to discover a massive blizzard had dropped 3 – 5 feet of very wet snow over the Denver metro area of Colorado, shutting down a city of nearly 4 million and silencing a major international airport.

    The city was on emergency lock down and private vehicles were banned from the streets–not that you could even FIND your car under four feet of white stuff–so I suited up in my high altitude winter gear and went out to explore with some guys from my apartment complex. We whipped snowballs at each other and ran into drifts that stopped us cold with snow up to our necks. We walked down the center of an 8-lane neighborhood street (Denver is massive) that was apocalyptically empty save the occasional giant snow plow and emergency vehicle creeping down the middle of it. I’ll never forget how loud their tire chains sounded chewing up the icy street in the weird silence. One of my cohorts threw a football to a plow driver who caught it up in his vaulted cab and threw it back. We all cheered.

    We walked half a mile down to a major grocery store that had only a large, cave-like hole carved out of the snow for an entrance. Most stores in Denver are 24-hours but these people were trapped there for DAYS, sleeping on the floors and scrubbing up in the washrooms. They bloody well better have gotten overtime for that, and free meals.

    Stocked up on junk food, we slogged back. People were gathering in the streets now to gape at the damage. Every store front awning along the strip was torn in two or brought down completely. Roofs several stories up were punched in by the weight of the snow. Smaller outbuildings were listing. A covered car park’s metal roof had smashed down onto a row of limousines, turning them into convertibles. Plows couldn’t see the cars buried under drifts and couldn’t be bothered to move around them, so they stacked up vehicles inside their snow piles and the owners were left to wait for the unhappy truth to be revealed during the melt.

    It took me two and a half hours to find my own truck beneath all the white, and that’s with proper snow removal tools and a snow thrower. I was a landscaper back in those days and as such, I had a certain responsibility to get out as fast as possible and help clear the city in emergencies. Police let you through when they see the equipment. I helped lot of stuck vehicles get out of the way so ambulances and fire trucks could pass. I fuckin’ love four wheel drive.

    I worked so hard that I made a month’s rent in 24 hours and it took my body several days to recover from the ordeal: shoveling snow as heavy as concrete has a deleterious affect on the joints. But my business clients gave me free food while I worked (gourmet chocolate ice cream with Jack Daniels in it has certain restorative properties) and I was proud to be part of the rescue team for the second worst blizzard in Denver history.

    I still drive that same truck and my original articulated snow shovel hangs in the garage like a talisman. I continue to go out four-wheelin’ on the streets after storms when I know most of the city is cowering indoors and counting snowflakes. But I live in Portland, Oregon, now. An inch of snow closes down the entire school system for the day. If a Coloradan heard that, they’d laugh into their ice cream.


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