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East, west...

I've made it home safe and sound, in just under 4 hours; but when I look at the news, I don't know how I did it. Thousands of people are stranded, there are no trains, and very few busses. In Amsterdam, they're putting 2500 beds up in the RAI, and they're doing the same for passengers in other cities too. Five people have died, and a great many more have been wounded through flying glass, rooftiles and whatnot. On my way home, I've seen trees uprooted and street furniture wrecked by the storm. It hasn't died down yet and is currently blowing at a 135 km\ph -- it's officially a force 11 gale.

I was extremely lucky; when I made it to Schiphol, I met a colleague there who had left the office a full 3 1\2 hours ahead of me, and who was still there waiting for a train to take her east...I had only been there 10 minutes when I heard they'd try and let a train depart for Leiden. I managed to get on it, and after a 30 minute delay in which the train refused to leave unless a few hundred people got off again, we pulled out of the station and slowly, very slowly made it to Leiden. However, when we got there we were told there would be no more trains anywhere until further notice. Those of us who were hoping to travel on would have to wait out the storm, which we were invited to do in the relative comfort of the train. NS, the Dutch equivalent of BR, would not provide alternative transport in the form of coaches as they said that would be too dangerous.

Thank God I know Leiden well. I decided to go and see if there was still a regular bus service to The Hague, and although I wasn't the only one, I was one of the few who knew where to get on (i.e. not in front of the station where literally hundreds of stranded passengers were milling about. Fights broke out when we got there, everyone trying to get onto the one bus, and only a few of them succeeding. Total mayhem. And then we went on a winding trip through all the little villages in the countryside, buffeted by the wind...it got quite scary a few times, but eventually we arrived at The Hague Central, and from there it's only a 20 minute walk to my flat. Normally I take the bus, but because of the storm, tonight all busses terminated at the station. It was alright: I had the wind in my back all the way home.

I hear they don't expect the trains to be running according to schedule until 'sometime in the morning', so who knows, I may even have to take a day off!

I am glad to be home, though. Given the choice, I'd rather sleep in my own bed than on a stretcher in some leisure centre. It may be a great way to meet new people, but spontaneity loses some of its sparkle when you haven't got a toothbrush.

Comments

( 23 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
gwyn_r
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
YOu have my extreme sympathy and empathy, having just gone through something like that myself here in Seattle. I'm glad you're home safe and sound... and my heart goes out to all the people who aren't.
gamiila
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
and my heart goes out to all the people who aren't.

Mine, too. I could so easily have been among them, and even though everyone seems to be putting a brave face on it, and thankful for the hand-out of coffee and sandwiches, I'm sure they'd all rather be home.
quietlychaotic
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
I am pleased to hear that you got home safe and sound.
gamiila
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm pleased to be here.
vegmb
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
So glad you made it home safely. Maybe staying home tomorrow would be a good thing.
gamiila
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Oh well, we'll see how it goes. But if I do decide to stay in The hague, there are a couple of shoes in a certain shop downtown I wouldn't mind taking a closer look at...
elfgirl
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you made it home safely!

Someone else on my flist (in Almere) said it hit there around 4PM local time and, at the time she posted, her neighbors had already lost their fence and her own 50kg+ outdoor grille had overturned.
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
I'm sure the news today will be full of such stories. My own garden furniture seems to have been moved about a bit, but other than that, I don't see that the storm has left much of a mark...but it's still dark out (it's only just gone 7 in the morning here). Be interesting to see whether I can get to work without delays...Í don't think so! ;-)
bogwitch
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Hurrah!
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
Thrre's no place like home, it's true. ;-)
curiouswombat
Jan. 19th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Yay! You use the Beaufort Scale - Americans don't understand it as far as I can tell.

And hey! You beat us - it was only a 10 as it went over here! We haven't had an 11 yet this winter.

I bet 'jobsworth' stayed at the office so that he can complain if anyone is late - because he wasn't!
suze2000
Jan. 19th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
LOLOL!
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
Of course we use the Beaufort scale! What other way is there to measure a storm's severity?

As soon as he heard the news, Jobsworth went out to get his kid out of school, then returned with stories of fallen down trees and rivers being blown across the motorway, and enjoinders for us to get back to work. Then, he went home to sit out the storm there. He really is our fearless leader. ;-)

Geert, the manager of our adjoining department, allowed people that were worried about their homes, children, possessions to gome home early; devised a carpooling scheme for those who were going in the same direction; and booked hotel rooms and taxis for those that were left stranded. He even offered me a lift, but as Jobsworth insisted we all stay as normal, I had to reluctantly decline.
curiouswombat
Jan. 19th, 2007 08:45 am (UTC)
I'd always thought the Beaufort Scale was world wide until I came onto LJ - but my American friends seem to only measure storms in MPH - so I'd begun to wonder if it was only a British thing. I love the Beaufort Scale - you can immediately visualise how good or bad things are going to be.

As for your dear leader - I would note this for sometime in the future if there is ever any question about his managment style, or the attendance record of any of the staff. If there are queries that go to Human Resources, or to senior management it is a good example of someone showing poor man-management and weak leadership skills - not to mention going home when it was clearly(!) not necessary, because had it been necessary he would have sent his staff home as well.
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 09:00 am (UTC)
Problem is, the way manager evaluation is set up in our company, feedback is only invited when they manage at least 8 people on hp-contracts. Jobsworth only has 3 hp-personnel.

And I agree, the Beaufort Scale is much easier to work with. Each severity immediately conjures up an image of how windy things are likely to get. ;-)
diachrony
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
Oy. Scary.

I'm glad you're home safe! And you're even plotting a shoe-shop trip! Be careful, now. Pace yourself. :)
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)
It's been a long time since I've plotted a hoe shopping trip...I must be getting out of my winter funk!
diachrony
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:09 am (UTC)
It's been a long time since I've plotted a hoe shopping trip
Hee hee.

It's been a long time since you plotted a "ho" shopping trip, did you say? Now that could be interesting ... ::weg::
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
BWAHAHA!
chantal87
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:17 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you made it home safely.
Central Germany didn't get hit as hard as others. The wind was incredibly high though.
It's not a storm I would like to sit through again.
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
There were definitely a few scary moments, but on the whole I'd have to say it was more of a nuisance to me personally than a real danger. I expect the insurance companies will be busy settling claims for weeks to come, though.

It's still a bit windy here, but the trains and busses are already back to their normal schedule here in the West.
enigmaticblues
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'm glad you made it home safely!
gamiila
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie!
( 23 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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