This morning, in Britain, Wales and the west of England is covered in snow. I don't know about the East, but I'm assuming that they are too. Being Britain, this took us all totally by surprise. Despite the fact that it rains incessantly here, and snows every winter, your average Briton remains permanently shocked that we haven't got sunshine and clear roads.
Being British, this also meant that I ignored all of the weather warnings last night. Shefali told me, on the news, that there was a blizzard coming. I looked in my cupboards and saw that we were low on milk and cigarettes. Then promptly did nothing.
Until this morning, when I ran out of milk.
The local Co-Op is about five minutes drive away. Our street was a bit on the white side, but the main road at the other end was already a brown-black sludge. I figured it would be fine. Did you know that I live on a hill? Did you know that there's a local wisdom that you can't enter or leave my town without going up or down a hill? Did you know that said Co-Op is in the next town, down one hill and up another? I did. I knew all of this. But until a couple of hours ago, I don't think I actually knew it.
I first lost control of the car on top of Shant's Bridge. The railway track is in the cut down below and a line of equally struggling traffic on two sides of me. I managed not to hit nor plunge into any of them, controlling the car with the gears and steering alone to come to a stop in a snowbank. That should have been my cue to turn around, but there's only one thing worse than being snowbound in your house. That's being snowbound in your house without milk for a cuppa nor cigarettes. I'm British. We drink tea.
Having regained control of my car again, I was a little perturbed by the white van driver behind me. He considered being so far up my arse, that I couldn't read the registration plate, was safe and sensible in the circumstances. On the bright side, it probably scared him as much as it did me, when I got stuck near the Co-Op. Wheels spinning in the snow and going nowhere.
Just then, a pedestrian stepped out right in front of me. I was still trying to go forward, so I yelled, "Cachi!" And stalled the car. That appeared to sort the front wheels out, because as soon as I switched the engine back on, I shot forward. Fortunately the pedestrian was gone and the white van driver was still stuck behind me. At a distance now, because his van was also wheel spinning.
TIL that my boots have no grip on the bottom. I nearly went arse over tit on the wet floor inside the Co-Op. An elderly lady steadied me. -.-
I decided not to go back via Shant's Bridge. I plotted many alternative routes in my head, but they all involved climbing a hill eventually. I went the very long way round, on the basis that said hill would be climbed on one of the busiest roads around it. It had to be gritted. That turned out to be a great and true assumption. However, to get to it, you have to travel along Hill Road. I'd never quite registered before why it's called Hill Road...
This time it wasn't me, but another car which lost control up the deceptively steep incline of Hill Road. How he missed me, I don't know. I did what anyone would have done in that situation. I pulled into the carpark of the Aquarium and Garden Centre up there, and bought two goldfish. >.>
There was hardly anyone in the carpark. Being a garden centre and all, they were great at gritting the main walkways, but the carpark was largely an unblemished expanse of beautiful virgin snow. Until, that is, a roar of engines made me spin around at the doorway. Two cars were encircling each other, spinning 360 degrees with much screeching of brakes. My jaw dropped. It was two young men, basically using the conditions to have hours of fun with their cars and the snow.
Though I admit that it was amusing to watch the store's security guards slipping and sliding to try and reach them. The lads did a frankly impressive parking skid, ending up right next to each other in perfect alignment. The security guards gave up and returned to the store.
Coming up the main road was fairly uneventful, but back into the lanes it got scary again. This time I had yet another car right up my arse. The bloke inside had a suit on and kept beeping his horn. I was going 20mph, so I slowed down to about 5mph. My car couldn't cope with the sudden drop - which was naturally done for the purposes of being utterly annoying to the git behind me - so I started to skid again.
Trouble is that down there, you're surrounded by trees and the old cut. That was frozen by the way. I turned into the skid, as you do, seeing an old oak right in front of me. But I stopped in time. It taught me a valuable lesson about not being a bitch, even if other drivers aren't being nice boys. After all, this wasn't just about me. I was now responsible for the lives of two innocent goldfish.
I made it home in one piece, but there was a problem when it came to my driveway. It's quite a steep one and my car was having none of it. I was stuck in a wheel spin, in 6-8 inches of snow, however I tried to approach it. I tried every which way, before admitting defeat. If my car hadn't been half on the road and half on the drive, and if I hadn't got two fishes in danger of freezing, I would probably have kept on trying. Instead I called my Dad and did the 'weak and feeble female' routine. Yay for Dads!
He came and tried everything that I'd tried to get that car onto the drive. Then he sent me for a spade. He cleared two lines in the snow, before he could force my wheel-spinning Zafira onto it. By now, it was over two hours since I'd 'nipped' to the shop. Versus the usual five minutes.
But I got the milk and the cigarettes.
Blizzard? Bring it on!