Our day in the snow...

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The Independent Online

The gritter: Brian McDonald, Cheshire

I started on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock. My clients are smallindustrial estates and superstores, B&Q-type places. We worked for six hours and our team was back out on the streets at 5 o'clock [yesterday].Conditions were among the worst I have seen in 15 years. It was -2C but we have a heater in the van so itwasn't too bad. The snow will sit on top of the grit until the traffic starts moving it. Once the cars activate it then it should work. I had a couple of hours' sleep mid-morning and then it's work again until 9 o'clock [last night]. We'll set out again at 5 o'clock in the morning to check the roads. Over the past 24 hours we haveprobably had double the amount of work we normally do. After Tuesday night we are expecting normal freezing conditions, which isn't so bad. We are hoping by Friday orSaturday it should slow down.

The farmer: Richard Dryden Bennett, Kent

We would rather have a really hard winter than a namby-pamby winter. All this cold will kill the bugs off. I have 272 acres with wheat, barley, beans, potatoes and carrots. Frost breaks down the ground so it will help with the ploughing later. I also have a farm shop selling logs and kindling wood, which is doing a good trade. You have to be careful with the tractor and a full trailer which weigh a total of 20 tonnes: it can start to slide and you can jack-knife. Eight years ago we had snow in May just as the oilseed rape crops got into flower and it flattened it – the snow reduced my yield by 50 per cent. I think we all overreact with a little bit of snow. Other countries have it a lot worse than us and seem to cope.

The police officer: Chief Inspector Sean Wilson, London

I think it's about eight miles so I normally take the train because it's much easier, but this morning I realised the trains might get me in, but leave me stranded when I tried to get home later. So I put all my kit on and got my bike out of the garage. A few people [fellow police officers] were simply snowed in, but I didn't have that option. I had to get in to make sure people starting their shifts this morning had a way into work and those on the night shift were able to get home.

"I tried to keep off the roads although there wasn't much traffic at that hour. I really liked cycling through the snow. It was very enjoyable and safe across Hampstead Heath, but it was hard going in some places because the powder was so deep. I fell over a couple of times.

The bus driver: Magnus Mills, London

I was on the bus late on Sunday night when the snow started to fall. By 9pm it was really making things difficult and my journeys were taking two or three times as long as they should have.

The main roads were bad, but not as bad as the smaller roads which had hardly any traffic and so were covered in snow. When on the small roads I had to drive at walking pace to stop the bus from skidding.

Finally at just after midnight, Transport for London put a call out to all the drivers telling them to get the buses back to the garages as soon as possible because it was too dangerous to drive. Many of us still had passengers on them and so we just had to take them as far as we could and drop them off.

The schoolgirl: Nevada Summerley, London

I was annoyed at first because all my friends rang to say they were missing school, but my mum would only believe it once we had checked the website. Fortunately it read: "Due to the severe weather conditions we are not expecting to run any normal lessons today, Monday 2 February or tomorrow 3 February. Students are being advised to stay at home until Wednesday morning." I hoped all my friends, the whole school, would gather on Clapham Common for a massive snowball fight but my friends live all over London and there was no transport so no one was allowed out. So I built a snowman in the street with my brother Rory [18] before a car knocked it over. Then I did some GCSE work out of guilt – my music homework and I wrote a history essay. I didn't mind missing school today as I had double chemistry. Hopefully, everyone's parents will let them out for snowball fights today.

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