Friday, 6 February 2009

Weather, Or Not

I have spent a disproportionate amount of my time this week checking what the weather is doing in the Bristol area. So much so that I got a message on the Met Office website this morning asking if I wanted to set 'Bristol' as my home page. I now know Bitton AFC's postcode off by heart. Ahead of the Bitton AFC v Glossop NE tie tomorrow, there has only really been one topic for debate in South Gloucestershire and North Derbyshire. Will the game be on?

At the beginning of the week it all looked rosy. In the South East and London we were hit with a huge dump of the white stuff and, along with large parts of the rest of Britain, everything ground to a halt. My work site closed early on Monday and my son's school locked its gates for a couple of days. The kids loved it, the adults moaned. Us Northerners exiled in the South couldn't understand what the fuss was all about; how could a 'heavy frost' cause so much disruption? In the meantime, the South West had survived unscathed. I spoke to my sister, who lives in Devon, and she asked "what snow?" Confident predictions were filtering out of Bitton that their pitch, on Wednesday evening, was totally playable.

But then the country was hit by second and third waves of snow. I woke this morning to a miserable drizzle, and most of the snow in Chertsey had melted. Switching on the news I realised that Bristol had not been so lucky. They had over 3 inches of snow last night, and as I write it is snowing still. I have the TV on now; live from Bristol, a forlorn-looking BBC News reporter stands braced against the elements, with half of his body covered in snow as a horizontal blizzard pummels him from one side. He hardly needs to tell us that Bristol has been heavily affected, we can see for ourselves. He does say "it is worse today than it was yesterday" and "there is yet more snow forecast" as a car behind him skids on what I guess is a road. Bristol airport is closed.

It's not looking good then for the game tomorrow. I understand that there will be a pitch inspection this morning. If they can find the pitch that is. Now I'm the one making the confident predictions; I email Mackem, PB and POSH Mate to say "if the game is on, I'll eat my trousers".

So this Friday morning, we are all playing a waiting game. The Glossop fans will certainly need a decision about a postponement sometime today. Their coach plans to leave early on Saturday, and for their sake I hope we will know whether the game is on or off long before then.

As for me, I'll keep checking the weather and wait to hear from Bitton, but I know that it's just a case of waiting for the inevitable. I'm now wondering when the rearranged tie will be and will I be able to make it? In the meantime, I'll be off out tonight with friends for a Curry. That should warm me up.

Friday, 9:15am - just as I finish that last paragraph, news comes through that the game has indeed been called off, with Bitton waiting for ratification from the FA. Apparently, 6 inches of snow fell on the pitch last night. Early indications are that the game will be played a week on Saturday, 14th February. Valentine's Day. Oh dear.

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