HERE’S a question: What word has four letters, ending in * *I T, and is found at the bottom of a birdcage?
The answer is, of course, “grit”. And the tray of your budgie’s cage is the only place you’ll have found it recently – certainly NOT on the roads of West Lothian during the Big Freeze.
No surprises there, then.
Despite dire warning of freezing conditions and forecasts of massive snowfalls, West Lothian didn’t cope particularly well. Again. Not until the third day did the gritters seem to get their act in gear. And that was just on the main roads.
As a performer I was regularly driving around Scotland during this period. Time and time again the going was gruelling in West Lothian – until you reached the boundary with the next county. Suddenly, no ice. Coincidence? I think not.
Take the A71, running through West Calder. It’s a major thoroughfare from East to West, but on the third day of the bad weather only half was gritted, and once you got further west you were on a slippery slide to nowhere.
Yet once you extracated yourself from West Lothian – by taking a different route – the going was easy the whole way to Ayr.
Duncan MacNeill, who is in charge of looking after major roads for Transport Scotland, including the M8 which is Scotland’s busiest road, said that contractors had spread more than 250 tonnes of salt on the motorway over the previous 24 hours.
Wow, that sounds like a lot of grit!
Until you realise that he reckoned that they had about 40,000 tonnes of salt in storage. He told reporters that it would “…last a long, long time.”
It most assuredly will, if it’s not being spread on the roads – where it’s needed!