Tag Archives: 英仏海峡トンネル

Castles in Kent: Leeds Castle


今回の小旅行の最初の訪問地は、イングランドで最も美しい明媚なお城の一つで、「loveliest castle in the world(世界で最も美しいお城)」とも称されるLeeds Castle(リーズ城)。湖に浮かぶ2つの島にまたがるこのお城は紀元1119年に建立、多くの王室や貴族の住まいとして、また要塞、刑務所、病後療養所としても使用された。最後の私的所有者であったLady Baillieレディ・ベイリー)は、1926年にリーズ城を購入したのち、インテリアを全面的に改装し、優雅なお屋敷に生まれ変わらせた。

敷地内はお城や庭園の他、お城が一望できるレストランやカフェ、ショップ、世界中から集められた100種以上の鳥が見られる飼鳥園、洞窟のあるmaze(迷路庭園)、イギリス唯一の犬の首輪博物館、子供の遊び場、ワイン用ブドウ園、果てはゴルフコースまである。ただ、ゴルフコースがお城のすぐ横にあるのはいただけない。また湖上からお城を眺められるBlack Swan(黒鳥:このお城のシンボルでもある)フェリーボートや、入口からお城を結ぶElsie(エルシー)castle trainもあり、いようと思えば一日中いられるほど盛りだくさんなだけに入場料も高く、大人一人 £18.50なり。私たちはお城と庭園以外は興味がないけれど、手入れの行き届いたこの美しいお城は高額の入場料に値する。

Kent is a county situated in southeast of London. To reach the furthest towns such as Dover and Margate takes less than two hours from central London, and it is perfect place for a day excursion and a short trip for Londoners. There are also many European tourists coming through Channel Tunnel, and we saw many cars from Netherlands, Germany and Belgium around there. Not many from closest neighbor France – probably French would prefer lying down on the beach and getting tan to going around chilly and cloudy British isle.

The first stop for our trip this time is the Leeds Castle, setting on two islands and one of England’s most picturesque castles, often described as the ‘loveliest castle in the world.’ Dating back to 1119,  it has been home to royalty and nobles, as well as being used as a garrison, a prison, and a convalescent home. The last private owner of the castle was Lady Baillie, who purchased it in 1926 and refurbished its interior to transform the castle into an elegant country residence. She generously opened this gorgeous residence to the public in 1976.

Other than the magnificent castle and beautiful garden, the castle grounds have many other attractions, though some of which are not of our interests: a restaurant, kiosks and souvenir shops; an aviary housing over 100 species of birds from all over the world; a maze with a grotto; UK’s only museum of dog collars; kids’ playgrounds; its own vineyard; and even a golf course, though it is ugly to see it right next to the castle. There are also the Black Swan (a symbol of this castle) ferry boat and the ‘Elsie’ castle train that connects the main entrance and the castle, for alternative ways to explore the estate. All these attractions don’t come cheap – £18.50@adult. We are only interested in the castle and garden,but it is worth to pay up the high price to see this beautiful castle and its estate well taken care of.

Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos


イギリスの冬は高緯度の割には温暖で、厳しい寒さに慣れていないので、大寒波が来ると途端に立ち往生してしまう。幸い私たちのフライトは1時間半遅れでヒースロー空港に到着したけれど、国内便、ヨーロッパ便を中心に、ヒースロー空港やガトウィック空港等でキャンセルが相次いで、人々の足に支障が出ている。鉄道の遅れも多く報告されており、12月19日から3日間運休して大ひんしゅくを買ったユーロスターは、7日にまた英仏海峡トンネルで止まってしまった。寒波が原因の事故も増えており、これ以上悪天候が続くと、道路徐氷用の塩不足も予想される。道路の凍結や雪で食物の供給も滞り、悪天候で消費も落ち込み、経済への打撃も深刻だ。多くの学校は休校になり、今週予定されている、義務教育修了時に受ける全国統一試験(GCSE/General Certificate of Secondary Education)にも支障が出る可能性もある。


イギリス気象庁(Met Office)の予測は近年ことごとく外れていると、批判の的だ。昨年夏は「バーベキュー・サマー(バーベキューが楽しめるほど暑くて天気のよい夏)」になるという予測を出していたにも関わらず、7月は100年ぶりの歴史的大雨と、雨続きの冷夏に終わった。また、2008-09年冬も暖冬予測を出していたが、一部地域の1月の夜間気温は20年来の寒さ、2月には大雪に見舞われた。そして今年の冬は暖冬である確率が高いと言う予測を出し、気象庁はすっかり面目を失った。しかし気象庁長官は、2008/09の期間に25%もの昇給を享受し、首相より多くの給料をもらっているにも関わらずこの体たらくと、厳しい批判にさらされている。

We came back from Italy the other day. It has been very cold in UK due to the cold front from Russia staying in UK from mid-December, and it is the biggest chill since the winter of 1981/82. As we were used to mild Italian weather of around 10º for 2 weeks, we suffer with the chill quite badly. The sky has been always white and it has snowed some times everyday since we are back. I felt strange that less than 2-hour flight showed me the completely different views, when I saw the land just before our airplane touched down on Heathrow Airport (photo above).

British winter is rather mild although it is located in comparatively high latitude. The country is not used to severe cold weather and gets paralyzed when the big cold front hits. Luckily our flight arrived at Heathrow airport with 1 hour and half delay, but many flights, mainly domestic and short-haul flights, have been canceled and have been affecting people’s travel plans. Many delays of train lines also reported, and Eurostar broke down AGAIN on January 7th – it got huge criticism after notoriously three days of service were cancelled from December 22nd. The accidents and injuries related to the chill has been increasing, and it is predicted that salt stocks may run out if the cold weather stays long. Food supply has been disturbed due to the snow and icy roads. Consumer activities have dropped and UK economy has been hit hard. Many schools are closed, and it is anticipated that some students may fail to sit this week’s GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), if weather prevents them taking the exam.

Although these reported chaos sound terrible, London functions relatively OK, except the mess on the streets and cancellations and delays of public transportations. However, it seems to me that UK has failed to prepare for the relatively mild cold front (for me) just below 0º temperature and has gone into such a mess. It is true that the winter is mild here, but the average winter temperature of around 5º (London) is not warm either, and the cold front, bigger or smaller, could happen anytime.

Met Office, the national weather service, has been heavily criticized for getting its forecasts wrong recently. Their forecast of a “Barbecue Summer” last year ended up heavy rainfall and the wettest July for almost 100 years. The organisation’s prediction of a mild winter in 2008-09 was also criticised after heavy snow fell last February and parts of southern England had their coldest night for 20 years in January. They issued the prediction of high probability of warm winter 2008/09 and again, they are wrong. The head of the Met Office is under attack, as he received a 25% pay rise and now is paid more than the Prime Minister during Met Office is harshly criticized of its incompetency.

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Severe Cold Weather and Traffic Chaos in UK


イギリスだけでなく、今はヨーロッパ中が大寒波に見舞われており、交通機関は大混乱。クリスマス帰省・旅行客の足に支障をきたしている。チューブ(地下鉄)や鉄道、航空便は遅延・欠航が相次ぎ、路面凍結や雪で交通事故も多数報告されている(BBC News)。先ほどのニュースでは、ルートン空港が悪天候のため閉鎖されたという。フランス・ベルギーとイギリスを結ぶユーロスターは、今日でもう3日間運休しており、100,000人もの乗客が足止めを食らっている。19日には英仏海峡トンネルで、ユーロスターいわく「fulffy French snow(フランスでのふわふわした雪)」が原因の故障で、列車5台が立ち往生。何台かの客は救出されたそうだが、2,000人以上が数時間から最長16時間もの間、車内に閉じ込められた。以下のビデオは車内で15時間を過ごした怒れる家族。ユーロスター側から何の説明もなく、乗組員のフランス人は英語が喋れず(喋らず?)。その間飲み物も食べ物もなし。トイレは2つだけで、水が流れないので、排泄物が8cm以上も溜まっていたそう。電気もつかず、暗闇の中夜を過ごしたそう。ひどい話だ。


It’s been freezing cold in London recently. The temperature is around 0°. It was OK on weekend as it was sunny as well, but today there was heavy snow in the afternoon, covering the city in white. The bus I took suddenly stopped and didn’t travel further, due to the accident or something ahead and it was forced to wait. Though it was only 4 stops away from home and 30 minutes walk, it was hard to walk on the slippery wet and melted snow, going through a thread of random snowball attacks by obnoxious kids hiding behind walls or in a park in front of my apartment.

Not only UK but Europe is suffering with severe winter weather and traffic chaos, which affects tens of thousands of people who travel during the holiday season. In the UK, delays and cancellations are reported for many flights, trains, and tube lines, and Luton airport — closed due to snow. On the road, traffic jams have been seen due to the snow and accidents and AA has been busy rescuing people on the road (BBC News). Eurostar, which connects UK and France / Belgium, has suspended all the services for 3 days and has disrupted 100,000 people’s travel plan, after “fulffy French snow” in France created excessive condensation in the channel tunnel between England and France, causing electrics to fail and 5 trains to become stuck on December 19. More than 2,000 people were trapped inside the tunnel – some trains were evacuated, but other passengers were forced to remain on board, for hours up to 16 hours, without food and water supply! Below is the video of a furious family, stuck in the train for 15 hours; they complained that the passengers were treated like animals and with no explanation, no food, water, oxygen, electricity and light, no medics, with only 2 available toilets with no flushing water and 3 inches of excrement (or poo) and urine piled up… They were really mad at French attendants, for being rude and ignorant, and ‘those French even didn’t speak English’ (or acted that they didn’t??).

Eurostar is expected to resume partial service tomorrow on Tuesday, but the priority will be given to the elderly and the vulnerable, and passengers that should have travelled on Friday and Saturday. Eurostar advises to customers holding booking in the next few days from tomorrow is to only travel if it is absolutely necessary (as in the ‘notice’ published on the newspaper). With the incident, the way Eurostar handle of the accident, Eurostar’s reputation has gone down the drain, as well as the British image of French people…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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