Sunday, 23 February 2014

Winter in The Great White North

Towed Haul went into hibernation back at the end of October and since then we've lived through winter, through the snow and the ice and the bone numbing temperatures, all due to something known as the "Polar Vortex". I'm not a complete dullard when it comes to meteorology and I understand about the relative positions of the Jet Stream each winter but I don't have a clue as to why it was called the Polar Vortex for this year; another invention of bored copywriters at the newspapers I suspect.

Anyway, Towed Haul will be covered in a layer of snow up in her winter quarters in London and all we've been able to do is to think back to lovely times enjoyed and look forward to times to be enjoyed. Oh, and I've wasted a ton of time reading and commenting on the AirForums.

For those that don't know, AirForums is a place on the Internet where Airstream owners can swap ideas and knowledge about any aspect of their Airstreams. Chatter can range from the best chili recipe to how to store a gun when on the road. I tend to get involved in the towing and tow vehicles debates, what with the Toadmobile being my specialist subject. The trouble is that I have thrown my toys out of the pram on a couple of occasions over the winter, especially when beating my head against a brick wall has done me no good, and I've also been a bit troubled about some of the moderating decisions lately. 

Beating my head against a brick wall is something that I've grown accustomed to on AirForums; certain ideas amongst some of my fellow Airstreamers cannot be influenced whatsoever, regardless of the weight of evidence that can (and often is) presented. I've kind of backed off from there now and when people tell me that I can't tow with the vehicle that I've been towing with for three years, I tend to just ignore them. It's a shame that I feel obliged to stay quiet these days because it seems those that shout loudest are the ones to get heard, but I do have my sanity to consider. The trouble is that I do care about the contributors on AirForums and no matter how misguided I think they are, I can't just tell them to "wake up and smell the coffee"; being English I can't bear the thought of anyone thinking I'm not delightful at all times.

As to the moderating, well in my view the moderators have killed off too many valid debates recently, all in the name of avoiding any conflict. Yes, I know that it's a private site and subject entirely to whim of the duly appointed moderators, but sometimes it looks as if they're a bit nervous of good, healthy debate. I'm firmly of the view that people should feel free to voice their opinions (and have them challenged) so to find a quite harmless discussion being brought to a pre-mature end can be frustrating. You might wonder why I'm even writing about this here but, as the AirForums site rules say, moderators' decisions can't even be discussed, let alone challenged, so I have to use this forum to let some steam off. 

On the positive side, we AirForums small tow vehicle pro-ponents are getting some success in having others see our point of view, which is most encouraging.

So, to the forthcoming season. Towed Haul gets collected at the start of April and we already have our long May weekend camping dates sorted. We have no plans for long trips this year, partly because Mrs Toad is studying and partly because the tadpoles are getting a bit less enamoured at the thought of spending quality time with us. That said, the local trips are always good so I'm looking forward to some time spent in our Ontario Provincial Parks this year. 

Until then, though, all I can do is look out at the piles of snow outside and fret about the floods that are sure to follow when the stuff thaws out. In the meantime, I shall add some nice wintry photographs to this entry of our journal, so that we can look back and laugh (ha ha ha) in the summer!

(The photos were taken this January along the Canadian side of the St Clair River. For my American friends, that's Michigan across on the other bank)