In severe fog, the whole of life is silent. The only people moving about outdoors are blind people. We had a couple nearby, both blind, you could hear their canes tap-tapping along the road and the two of them talking away. So eerie. Some of them succumbed to it too.
For happens when clouds come down so low that they touch the ground, for hours or days. It is amazing to me that sections of the world can be swallowed up by fog. I have seen some dandies, mostly in England, a few in Canada.
I decided to mention some of the stories I remember of Yorkshire and London fogs. One day, a Saturday, Ron and I decided to go to Bellevue Park in Manchester (30 miles away,) to see some motorcycle racing. We arrived there at 2 pm. We really enjoyed the trip and the racing. At 5 pm we went to a cafe for a bite of supper, before heading home over what is locally known as "The Isle of Skye Road," a two-lane highway over the moors. The Great North Road, from London to Scotland, was the only 4-lane road in 1946, so speed was not so fast. Shortly, we ran into a cloudy stretch of this lonely road and then all of a sudden, FOG closed in and we could only see the yellow line on the edge of the tarmac, on the side of the road. We couldn't see very well, so Ron said, "This is going to be a very slow ride home, so hang onto me." We were on the motorbike. So I did hang on and as he could only just see the yellow strip we traveled very slowly, Ron sliding one of his feet along the road, all the way home. It took us over two hours to go thirty miles. We still had fog but not as bad as riding over the moors. We were soaking wet, so tired, but home, had a cup of tea and then to bed.
In Huddersfield one time we had eleven days and nights of black fog. I will never forget it. Chimneys were blocked up, no buses running, many people sick, inside and outside filthy houses. Both children and I were sick in bed, Ron was off work and he was our nurse. Many people died.
|Photo: Manchester Daily News. Time likely the 1940s, showing the terrible smog of that time.|
If you live near water you get more fog, like in B.C. Michelle and I had a bad time due to fog a few years ago. It was terrible and we won't ever forget it. (Their flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver was delayed eight hours because of fog in Vancouver. They had visited Art and I in Long Beach, California, for Christmas.)
That's it for tonight, after a foggy day yesterday.
January 8, 2008
Huddersfield at that time was an industrial city, with over fifty chimneys belching out putrid black smoke. Of course today, we'd call that black fog "smog," and the amount of illness it caused was one important reason my parents decided to return to Canada.