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Sunday, December 11, 2005

The snows of December 9


A visit by friends from Northern Ireland turned into a wintry adventure when a blizzard (minor by New England standards, but a blizzard nonetheless) hit on Friday. Randi took this photo in Beverly, but my Belfast visitors and I were actually up in New Hampshire where they were schedule to make presentations at UNH. They arrived in Boston the day before and were settled in at the university's New England Center hotel facility by Thursday night. I made the trip home that night knowing what the forecast was, and by 5AM I was on the road from Beverly to Durham on very dry roads. The snow started falling as I hit Durham at 6AM (I went in early to workout at the UNH gym), and by 7:30 there were several inches on the ground. I believe the day's total was 15 inches....

Friend Ciarán gave his presentation at 10AM, and a few brave souls made it to the seminar. By noon we were heading across campus to lunch at the faculty dining room (Oak Room), but it did not even open so we trekked another block to eat at the giant food court facility in Holloway Commons -- then to the Women's Studies conference room where friend Elizabeth gave her seminar presentation to even fewer folks.


Despite the lack of attendance, both presentations were well worth the effort, and it is comforting to know that both are likely to find their way to publications.

On the "down side", this was my first experience with a snowstorm at UNH, and I have to say that I was a bit peeved at the lack of effort by the physical plant folks to at least do the basic sanding and shoveling required to assure the safety of those who must traverse campus. Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- was done until late that evening. This is a campus with heavy foot traffic in some pretty awkward spots, and a bit of maintenenace effort would have been nice. And in my past experience on snowy campuses in Colorado, Chicago, New York and Kansas, I have never been at one where the building crews did not lift a finger to keep the steps and entryways of buildings at least sanded.

Despite all this, there was a smile on
Ciarán's face most of the time as we went from snowbound place to snowbound place -- for Irish folks this much snow was a fascinating experience, especially in a pretty New England campus setting. The winter scenes also seemed to inspire Ciaran to take out his camera and get some shots from my office window -- and the third floor men's loo. Hmmm -- maybe he'll post those on his now intermittent blog....

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