Cardiff to Manchester – snow problem; Brits barfing on cruise ship

There aren’t enough castles with moats.

At least not anymore.

But Cardiff Castle in Wales, which dates back to 3rd century Romans, has a lovely moat constructed by the Normans to fend off the locals as they pillaged their way across what is now the U.K.

The food has been uneventful, all of it served piping hot as the Brits suffer through their worst snow and cold in 30 years. To watch the constant news and weather reports on BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 4, and Sky News – there is one movie channel that seems to feature bad 1980s American fare – and read the newspaper accounts, the country is in chaos and everything has been shut for at least two days.

We drove from Cardiff to Manchester when people were told to stay off the roads and it was completely uneventful, what with the couple of inches of snow. Guess they aren’t used to that around here.

Some attempted to escape the weather, only to end up barfing.

USA Today today reports that Britain’s Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has ordered an early end to a cruise to the Canary Islands after a massive outbreak of what is believed to be norovirus.

The UK’s Daily Mail reports at least 289 of 795 passengers on Fred Olsen’s Boudicca this week have been struck down by the illness. At 36% of passengers, it’s one of the most widespread outbreaks of a norovirus-like illness recorded on a cruise ship in years. Even the worst outbreaks of norovirus rarely spread beyond 10% of passengers.

The outbreak, moreover, is the third in a row for the ship and comes as another Fred Olsen vessel, the Balmoral, also struggles with a major outbreak of norovirus-like illness — it’s third in a year.

I might be movin’ to Montana soon …

Just to raise me up a crop of Dental Floss.

Frank Zappa (right, exactly as shown) came to mind as I read this morning why children shouldn’t eat snow. I ate lots of Ontario snow, Amy ate lots of Montana snow, but we both avoided that yellow snow.

Julie Deardorff writes in the Chicago Tribune that,
"University of Toronto environmental chemist Frank Wania reports that the atmosphere is exceedingly efficient at transporting pollutants—so efficient, in fact, that industrial pollutants released into the atmosphere in India could be found in snow in northern Canada only five days later.

"Argonne National Laboratory’s Dr. Jeff Gaffney is more specific. He says snowflakes can contain anything that floats in the air: the chemicals that fall in acid rain, bacteria, sulfates, nitrates and even lead from areas in the world that still burn leaded gasoline."