Sunday, 24 January 2016

Winter wonderland

At long-last, the veritable winter has turned up. First days of January brought harsh frosts (day-time highs below –10C), yet the first winter episode was snow-free. The first proper snowfall was witnessed on Friday, 15 January; lasted since early afternoon until late evening and covered the ground with eleven centimetres of brand-new white powder. For comparison, maximum snow cover during the previous winter (on 9 February 2015) reached 4 centimetres (and melted right away).

The sight I woke up to behold on Saturday a week ago. While it had snowed temperature had been barely below zero, hence the snow was wet and thick. No wonder trees were bending under its weight. Temperature overnight had fallen to some –6C, hence shyly shining sun did not cause snow caps to drop.

Afternoon. After a bright morning sun has been occluded by clouds. I stroll around to gloat over the magnificence of winter. The sight caught from ul. Zimowa in NI brings to mind “White as snow” by U2. A pity we had not enjoyed such weather during Christmas. Peaceful, slightly dark, silent place. May the moment last!

Further up to Mysiadło, where side streets have not been cleared of all snow, rather it has been beaten and its compact layer is vehicle- and pedestrian-friendly. For inhabitants of terraced houses any bigger snow precipitation is a challenge, since front-yards and drives are too tiny to heap up masses of fallen snow.

Walking east, I get to premises of bygone PGR Mysiadło. Swathes of land covered with snow and a row of trees marking a boundary of the capital bring to mind… labour camps in Siberia. The association does not seem legitimate, since the only common element is a relatively large piece of flat land under the snow…

As I strut about towards ul. Puławska I notice heavy snow has not deterred motorists from moving about (I drove nearly 40 kilometres on that day, so why do I grumble?). Yet traffic jams congest side roads in Piaseczno. Here, clogged up ul. Wiśniowa, towards ul. Łabędzia, where a queue of cars before intersection with ul. Puławska is half a kilometre long. Situation is worsened by the fact some drivers use summer tyres useless in such conditions – setting a car in motion on ice is nearly impossible.

Here comes our saviour. Ul. Raszyńska in Piaseczno, tractor with a plough removes some of the snow from the street and puts down sand on it. Road clearance on roads governed by Piaseczno is a crying shame. Back yesterday, a week after the snowfall many roads were still covered with frozen slush…

And the outcome of the plough’s work. Worse than the day before. This is a regular ice, fortunately clearly visible, so less treacherous. Drive slowly, operate all pedals gently and use engine braking in advance to slow the car and provided no object cuts in on you unexpectedly, you should avoid going into a skid.

Here, an example of a frequent unsocial behaviour. The egg trader (or someone hired by him) has got rid of snow from their drive by shoving into onto the public street. The “move it away from myself (into no-one’s territory)” way of thinking is not what I put up with…

Last Sunday, level crossing in NI. Construction crews carry on working despite unfavourable weather. A weeks ago western track was ripped off nearly by the station in Nowa Iwiczna. Good to see works move on despite the winter.

And another snap of rail tracks, this time from ul. Mleczarska, the coal line. The Sunday was a gloomy day, yet the snow-covered earth brightened it up. Much healthier for one’s mood than a grey day with drizzle.

One more picture of snow-covered fields. Further from Warsaw in Mazowsze such landscapes splay out into the horizon. Here in the distance we see development in Stara Iwiczna and not very old housing estates in Piaseczno (where flat supply overhang is record-high, yet prices are not much lower than in some outer districts of Warsaw which enjoy better transport links with the city centre).

Monday, foggy morning seen from ul. Sarabandy. My journey to work lasted on that day nearly two hours (left home at 7:05, reached the office at 8:55), I guess longer than ever. Ul. Puławska was unusually congested; besides, waterworks crew dug up ul. Sarabandy at its northern end. I ended up driving there and back slowly and then, to avoid dense traffic on ul. Puławska, I turned right into ul. Karczunkowska and took a detour via Dawidy Bankowe (ul. Starzyńskiego was one huge ice rink).

Yesterday. Temperature overnight fell to –13C, morning greeted with clear blue skies and hard rime, setting on trees. Picturesque sights to lap up before they disappear for a while. Forecasters predict thaw is due tomorrow and within a fortnight winter is unlikely to return.

In the afternoon I took a bus to Pyry and marched into the forest. To my surprise, Las Kabacki was not chock full of ski-runners and walkers. Quite disappointing given the weather was conducive to enjoying gorgeousness of the winter which will soon be gone.

Heading towards the bus stop, I take a shot of ul. Puławska from the footbridge over the artery. Note the white shade of asphalt. Road clearance in Warsaw, compared to Piaseczno where the town’s services have buggered it up all along, seems beyond reproach, yet massive amount of salt on the streets are the price to pay. The footwear deserves watering when I get to the office and then at home, not to let salt mix up with the leather. The car looks horribly (in some spots the bodywork is virtually white) and is due for a decent wash-up as soon as thaw arrives. Roll on spring!

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

Great stuff! Lovely local reportage, words and pictures.

Stand back - now it belongs to the ages! (Look forward to revisiting this post in winters to come.)