Monday, March 19, 2018

Snow-Bound in Sheffield

The plan was simple. Drive up to Sheffield on Saturday, stay over, and on the Sunday morning collect Mrs.C's mother from her retirement home and drive her to London where she was due to take up residence in a new home. All went well until the blizzard struck on Saturday evening. Sheffield, sprawled over many hills, became a paralysed city. On a particularly steep rise that led from our nephew's home to a nearby restaurant to which we were driving, we watched in shock as a car coming  down towards us seemed to lose control. It bounced off one car parked just ahead (not parked particularly well and with its hazard lights on) and ricocheted off to hit another on the other side of the road. As the drivers began exchanging details (and perhaps a few choice personal remarks), I drove gingerly past, the wheels beginning to skid. Later that night a short drive to the flat owned by Mrs.C's brother and sister-in-law was a tense affair as we slewed and crunched down a windy hill, nearly slamming into the car crawling along just ahead, then it was eyes straining to see through a near white-out as we chugged in second gear; fortunately the roads had become very quiet by then.

I thought I was pretty clever parking overnight on a side road rather than risk the steeply raked drive to the flat's parking area but the next day the car was in a foot of snow, the wheels merely spun when I touched the accelerator and, given that we had no easy way of digging the car out and that the idea of driving back to London with a 90 year old seemed pretty crazy in any case, that was that for the day.

So we spent a day holed up in the flat (my in-laws were themselves lying low in London), venturing out just once to the local Tesco to get something to eat, and watching the news which, when it wasn't all about Russians murdering anyone they didn't much like, showed  transport mayhem all over the country. It stayed at freezing point all day but the second round of snow promised in the forecasts did not materialise.

Today we managed to get back on track, albeit a day later than intended, and apart from a nasty few feet of sheer ice on the pavement (I was so worried about falling I was seriously pondering about sliding down on my bottom), the weather caused no further problems. By lunchtime at Leicester the snow had virtually vanished, the temperature was a reasonable 6 or 7c and the motorways were safe and dry.

That's the first time I have been marooned in this way and it brings home how much at the mercy of nature we are.

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