Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brrrr in Vilnius

Got back to Vilnius a week ago; it was raining, it had frozen earlier, and it was like an ice rink - until and including Christmas day, when it was absolutely pouring on top of the ice. As I went out to empty the bins, a couple of homeless guys slipped into our stairwell, no doubt hoping I would not notice. Found them sitting right at the top of the stairs (next to my apartment); they said they wanted to warm up (and dry out?) a little. Who could blame them? I gave them some Christmas biscuits to support any liquids they might be taking. The next morning they had gone and the stairs were fine.

Then it thawed a bit, and the pavements were clear, but a couple of days ago it started snowing again. I can't make up my mind whether the municipality is cutting back on snow clearing; now the snow is frozen to the pavements again and it is becoming treacherous. But I do see people out shovelling snow (this always used to be a public works scheme whereby the unemployed got a bit of employment and a bit of income). I am not sure how much the municipality is liable for people's injuries; they may never have been sued, otherwise the pavements might, even without snow, be in better nick.

Having said that, while I was in Germany a couple of weeks ago, during a very cold snap, I did not notice that there was that much pavement cleaning being done - and there the onus is on property owners/renters to clear the snow in front of their property....