A good place to live...

Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow much more than we bargained for

Through the evening and night, snow fell. The little black dog set off in a series of extravagant zig-zags: looking for the scent of something she recognised, or perhaps simply enjoying the strange newness. I had forgotten her Halti and so we both ran sometimes feeling more like flying...

The forecast was confident - 10 days of winter. Essential supplies of milk and bread: the village had neither, so off to a village normally 20 minutes away. The main road East through the Valley had been gritted into a welcome slush - the side road climbing over the hill led into an arctic landscape: one set of tracks only, and a slithery-slow journey. No milk. The previous day's sell-out of bread included the frozen pastry, AND all the flour. Home again with small trophies.

Yesterday, cheered by a brilliantly sunny day, and the forecast of hard frosts/snow, it seemed a good idea to head West to the next village with a well-stocked shop. Uphill. The gritter passes, turns right and heads down-hill onto the parallel road along the valley. Unfortunately this leaves our hill untreated - as I discovered on rounding the first sharp bend.

The sunlight encouraged ideas of thawed snow further up, but then a compacted, icy stretch was quite impassable even after several attempts. The car slipped neatly in to the side of the road...

A cheerful farming neighbour dropped me home in his 4-wheel-drive, and 2 hours later, another kind neighbouring farmer came and, with bagged-up wood-ash and a large spade, we went up to rescue the car before the night fell. He drove it helter-skelter up the hill, straight through the [softened] icy stretch, belching black clouds of exhaust, and vanished from sight. All the field-gates were drifted, with nowhere to turn before the woodland.

It felt so bitter-cold on the high slope, in the evening sun's afterglow, sharp as swords to breathe. Below, walking the little black dog, the air felt comparatively warm! and we sped along the narrow snow-way behind cottages and fields, dodging unfriendly dogs, and calling greetings to their owners. The light on the hills was a wonderful tinge of palest strawberry-fool - nothing to cause such a colour, no 'red sunset' just the softest reflected glow from a pale sky.

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