Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Change of plan

Well, we still have six inches of snow on the ground - and a good couple of inches of compacted snow and ice on our road, which is on a hill and is too narrow (and unimportant) for the gritters to come down. This morning we have freezing fog, and the temperature is forecast to be well below zero for the next 24 hours.

This is the road I live on - as you can see, it's on a hill, and there's a right-angle corner at each end to take you onto a road that goes across the side of the hill. Several vehicles have got stuck on that corner and had to be towed or pushed out since the snow began last week.

This is the road that runs along the bottom bit - the road itself is as narrow as our road, but you can't actually see where the road ends and the pavement (sidewalk) begins. It looks in this picture as though the pavement is very wide, but that's actually the entrance to a car park.

And then there's another right angle here before we go UP this road, turn right at the top and eventually get to the main road.

This is the view from our attic room window yesterday morning.

And this is the view from our front door yesterday.

Some of you may be looking at this and thinking "that's a pathetic amount of snow - how can that bring everything to a standstill for several days?", and the answer is that this country is not set up for snow. We don't get it every year, and the last time I can remember having this much snow for this long was January 1987. We had two or three days of major disruption in February this year, and that was unusual in itself - and many councils used up their gritting supplies then and haven't restocked adequately.

Our cars aren't built to deal with snow, and we're not used to driving in it anyway - so the roads are littered with cars abandoned by people who got caught in a snowstorm and discovered that their wheels had no traction on the road. A lot of the road closures are caused not by the snow itself but by the fact that it's not possible to get past all these abandoned cars.

What all of this means for us is that there's no way we're going to be able to get our car out to the main road tomorrow, so Christmas is cancelled. We'll go up to my SIL's when the snow has cleared - and I can cope with that, because Christmas Day was the day I was really dreading, and now it's going to be as unlike Christmas as it possibly can be.

Mind you, I say 'us' and 'we' - I haven't seen DH since Monday morning, as he set off before the latest snowfall began to take the train over to visit his parents and do a bit of shopping for them. They only live 20 miles away, but there are no direct trains, so it takes him almost two hours at the best of times. Plus we're in one of the worst affected areas of the country, with disruption on the trains as well as the roads.

I told DH I'd rather know he was at his parents' house, safe and warm and looking after them, than stuck on a broken-down train somewhere, so twice now he's trudged down to see what the station looked like and then decided that he wouldn't risk it. He did say last night that he'd come home today no matter what, so I'm hoping he'll be back this afternoon.


  1. It sounds as though the snowstorm was a strange blessing of sorts for you. I'm glad it worked out in a way that makes it all the tiniest bit more bearable. Also hope DH does make it home as it still is Christmas, and I imagine you would feel badly if you weren't able to be with him for the holiday. Definitely wishing you some peace this Christmas. :)

    As for the pics, thank you for sharing. Honestly, living in the states, especially where we live, all our neighborhoods are cookie cutter suburbia. Everything seems to have been built just yesterday, and there is no real character. That's what I love about the East Coast and the UK...the way they look and feel is so much different. Feels homier to me.

  2. Thanks Myndi. You're right - the snow couldn't have worked out better for us. I think having a couple of days apart actually helped us both to work through some of this stuff, and now I'm excited about spending Christmas morning just the two of us, without the pressure of having to look happy and join in big family shenanigans.

    I'm glad you liked the pictures. Our house is late Victorian and has plenty of character - the only problem with houses of this age is that the Victorians didn't consider the need for nice wide roads and garages, so the streets are terribly narrow and don't have much space for parking.

  3. I liked the pictures as well. You live on a very beautiful street with lots of character. I agree that maybe this snow was a blessing in disguise. You can take a little more time for yourself before having to face everyone for Christmas. Being snowed in is kind of cozy/peaceful, too, I have found.