Dashing Through the Snow

A fine morning, not a cloud over Cavan, sunshine. And, oh yeah, that pesky “yellow snow warning” (gets me giggling every time they say that on the radio). I mean, it started to come down yesterday afternoon at 3 pm, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise to find a blanket coverage in the morning, would it? But this is Ireland, so people panic, go extra slow, and make such informed decisions like braking and then revving it up in low gear when going up an incline.

In short, it was pandemonium again. But there you go, the fat German had reason to laugh …

Because, lo and behold, when I did my NCT eight weeks ago (and a few weeks too early), tester Martin gave me the advice that two tyres were pushing it a bit. I knew. And had those earmarked for the winter tyre treatment. Because on wintry roads, you need good tyres more than sparkly lights. But this is Ireland …

So, I headed out to buy winter tyres. Trusty local garage. “We’ll look into that …” They did, and became very frustrated. Because winter tyres were not to be gotten, neither for love nor money. Same experience when I phoned around a bit, even including those robber barons of the big chains fobbed me off. And here are some of the reasons they gave for not even being able to quote a price and delivery date …

“Ah shure, there’s no demand for them!” I just phoned, I have a demand.

“The NCT does not like winter tyres, y’know …” Finest piece of crap I ever heard, they might not like rotten tyres, otherwise they don’t really care.

“Good summer tyres will do the same job!” Nope, they won’t – all weather tyres maybe, up to a degree, but not summer tyres.

“They are not suitable for high speeds, dangerous they are!” True, mid-range winter tyres are only safe up to 190 km/h, a speed you’ll after all experience on a regular basis in Ireland. If you are landing an airplane, that is.

“Never know what the winter will be like, so it might not be worth it … why don’t we wait and when it gets really bad, I’ll see what I can do?” Obviously, being prepared does not figure large in this man’s brain.

So, in the end … I bought the winter tyres in Germany. Via the internet. And for around € 90 I got a pair of decent, mid-range winter tyres, including courier delivery to the local garage. Further € 20 saw them fitted and balanced. Can’t complain there.

Yesterday afternoon I drove past a whole convoy of vehicles going 30 km/h on the bypass, doing a dizzying 65 km/h or so on a road slightly dusted with snow. Shouting all the time, “Winter tyres, ye eejits, winter tyres!”

Ah, the small pleasures of life.

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