As I look out this morning, the road in black, the field opposite is brown and the garden and lawns are green. And it's a chance to reflect on the changes brought about by the snow over the first two weeks of this year, and present you with a snow-orama.
Snow came to Melksham in two batches - the first and second weeks of the year - and blanketed the roads. "The Spa", where we live, is a cul-de-sac and doesn't get treated in any way, and for much of the time it has been completely white.
Many other suburban roads in Melksham have been "whiteout" too, though as the hours passed from the initial falls, they quickly became passable through the passage of the residents.
The countryside was blanketed - here, just behind Melksham Spa, is a familiar landscape but now decorated in white.
There's a great prettyness added to the scene by the snow; this view of the back of the Spa houses isn't usually one I publish, as it doesn't usually have the "wow" factor of the frontages .. but in this recent weather, an exception has been made.
Well House Manor
- our training centre and hotel - has also been looking very pretty. Situated just off the main road, which is treated / cleared in bad weather, it's both beautiful in the snow AND practically accessible - which is always the conundrum of such bad weather.
School closures have left children unable to attend their normal classes. In days gone by, teachers simply reported to the nearest school and taught there, rather than going to their normal place of work, and it used to provide a refreshing interlude for all concerned and a real educational experience. These days, with heath and safety requiring that all teachers are trained in fire evacuation, with the need for CRB checks on teachers which are specific to their places of work, and with schools frightened of being sued if a child slips on ice, the system has to be kept staider and staler, with the children remaining at home and a caring parent being required in turn to take the day off. But it does result in some family time and fun activities ... and there have been a lot of snowmen around!
This may look like a Swedish road ... can you believe it's taken yesterday on the road from Warminster to Horningsham through Longleat Forest? I had a luncheon meeting at Longleat House, and only the back entrance was clear, leading to a long drive around the outside of the estate.
Returning from Longleat, I paused outside Westbury and took a final snowy picture. By late yesterday afternoon, the snow had largely melted from the roadside and in the valleys, but the hills were still white. The same picture today would, no doubt, be back in the familiar green with only the White Horse remaining snow coloured!
How has the snow effected our business?
It's been almost "business as usual" for our training courses
; we're well set up to cope with eventuallities, and the training itself just ran as if it was green outside rather than white. You may have noticed that I used the word "almost" ... a couple of delegates who had planned to commute daily chose to stay overnight at the most extreme time.
We've had other guests at the hotel
who have booked late and stayed, from quite close by. Dedicated people who provide a vital service, which simply cannot wait because of the weather. And other people who don't want to let people down by cancelling appointments, so have come up to the area a day early. Surprisingly, no hotel room cancellations.
The train service, limited though it is, is still used by a proportion of our guests, and First Great Western cancelled all trains for 50 hours at Melksham - an ignomy they shared with just two other much smaller isolated communities in the South West (I have a letter in my email from their MD, patting himself of the back for continuing to provide a service to MOST places - complacent, me thinks!) and we arranged lift to an equally snow-encrusted Trowbridge where a near-complete train service was running.
We DID have a breakfast meeting that was planned to take place at Well House Manor cancelled at short notice. 19 people had planned to drive on icy roads, predawn, to a regular weekly meeting and it was a sensible decision by the organisers to call it off. It gave us a rare chance to lie in on that Friday morning - Chris on duty from 06:30 rather than 05:30!
Our biggest problem? The phone lines; I suspect that water and ice got into one of BT's junction boxes, and the phone, which has always been a little crackley - became much worse. So much so that it became quite hard to get credit and debit card payments through. But it does mean that we have learned how, in extreme times, to accept payments and phone in for authorisation via mobiles. And when we reported the problem to BT, they had an engineer with us within the hour, who located the problem to a box of tricks they have across the road from us and we've now got a far cleaner line that we even had in the past. So there's a silver lining to every snowcloud, and a "thank you" to BT for their efficiency.
I wouldn't want snow all the time ... but it's certainly helped to spice up the first couple of weeks of this year.
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG103 - Well House Consultants - Where to stay in Melksham 
A warm welcome awaits you at Well House Manor, Melksham - (2015-11-02) 
Peak weekend - where there are still rooms near Melksham - (2015-06-06) 
Overnight accommodation in Melksham - if Well House Manor is full! - (2015-03-02) 
The Best Bed and Breakfast in Melksham? - (2014-09-19) 
What makes Well House Manor different? - (2012-09-18) 
Hotel booking in Melksham made easy! - (2010-04-03) 
2009 - Hotel, Meeting, Training Course prices - (2008-12-07) 
A little touring help during a business trip to England - (2007-11-18) 
Course Joining package - updated - (2006-11-20) 
Brand new hotel and training centre, Melksham - (2006-10-22) 
Well House Manor goes ahead - (2006-04-03) 
Well House Manor - (2006-01-21) 
Hotel novelties - (2006-01-05) 
2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01) 
Exciting futures - the Well House Manor project - (2005-11-30) 
Where to stay in and near Melksham - (2005-10-24) 
Accommodation and landing pages - (2005-05-21)M101 - Well House Manor - Business Accommodation in Melksham 
PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04) 
Happy New Year. Our customers are our ambassadors - (2016-01-01) 
Early morning - welcoming business and leisure guests to Melksham - (2013-07-10) 
New guest ... becoming returning guest - (2013-02-15) 
Four in a Bed comes to Melksham tonight - (2013-01-09) 
Where do businessmen stay in Melksham? - (2011-08-25) 
Hotel and Training Course prices - the effect of the VAT rise on 4th January 2011 - (2010-12-26) 
Customer Review - Hotel Room, Melksham - (2010-10-03) 
Well House - the pictures - (2010-08-16) 
Chancellor George Osborne inspires Perl Program - (2010-06-22) 
Happy new decade - and course and hotel prices for 2010 - (2010-01-01) 
Carry on Training - in spite of the weather - (2009-02-03) 
Melksham Hotel Rates - (2008-11-25) 
Which is your best hotel room? - (2008-10-07) 
We love children ... but our hotel is not going to be their scene - (2008-09-24) 
Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11) 
Training Course and Business Conference Technology - (2008-07-07) 
A warm welcome for visitors from the USA - (2008-06-14) 
Terms and Conditions - Hotel, England - plain English - (2008-01-26) 
Well House Manor - feature comparison against the old place! - (2007-08-24) 
Grand Central Station - (2007-04-27) 
Playing old games - (2007-02-22) 
Wilts and Berks - two conference / training rooms in Melksham - (2007-02-14) 
Three sets of twins - (2007-01-31) 
Well House Manor and Beechfield House, Hotels, Melksham - (2006-12-29) 
George Hotel and Well House Manor, Melksham - (2006-12-04) 
Training rooms to learn Open Source programming - (2006-11-15) 
Opening approaches! - (2006-10-08) 
Hotel Exchange Rates - (2006-09-21) 
Strikingly busy - (2006-09-06) 
Hotel, Melksham, Wiltshire - (2006-08-24) 
Hotel Technology Requirements - (2006-05-24) 
Residential - (2006-05-15) 
A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
Some other Articles
Consultation in Melksham, on Melkshams futureMelksham Food and Drink Festival, 2010Reducing image size on digital photos - PHPStarting to arrange the picture librarySnow scenes - and how snow effected our businessC course inspires new teaching examplesCreating, setting up and using objects in C++Where are your objects stored in C++?Complete teaching example - C++, inheritance, polymorphismWhat does const mean? C and C++