Monday, 11 December 2017

The best laid plans ...

When I last blogged I was fully organised for a family gathering to celebrate a big birthday.  How easily plans can be destroyed.  Because although I had a fridge full of food and drink, balloons and banners ready, the weather fairies had a cunning plan to teach me a lesson ...

it snowed.

And we all know what that means in the UK.  The world as we know it stops turning.  At first it was all fun and games


Especially if you are an over-excited dog.  It took about half an hour to defrost her paws once we got home but she had the best time over the park.

Then one by one various strands of the day started to unravel.  Paul's mum, who is almost 91, did not want to travel.  The thought of leaving the warmth and safety of her house was not appealing (and to be honest, we wondered what the journey may be like).  

Then my son phoned to say that there was a signal failure on the train line and all trains between London and our area were cancelled.  So there was no way for him and his wife to get here.  They sold their car when they moved to London as a) there's nowhere to park it where they live and b) public transport is so much better in and around the city (it's just when you try to travel to the outer reaches of icy Hertfordshire in December you have problems!)

I normally make all family birthday cakes myself but on this occasion I thought 'No, I'll order a personalised one as it's a special birthday'.  It needed to be picked up Sunday morning.  My daughter offered to go and get it for me.  She then rang to say they couldn't even get their car off the driveway.  I'm not particularly confident at snow driving so I asked Paul to take me down the town.  It was a bit tricky getting out of our cul-de-sac but we felt that surely it would be better once we got onto a road which had had a bit more traffic on it.  How wrong we were.  We got about 1/4 mile from home and decided it was a stupid idea and there was no urgency to get the cake especially as his actual birthday isn't until Tuesday.  So we pulled into a side road to turn round.  Or should I say, try to turn round.  The car was having none of it.  We were well and truly stuck.  Two families who were walking down the hill kindly offered to give us a push and Paul and I changed places so he could get out and help and I would be in the driving seat.  Let me tell you now that trying to drive wearing wellington boots is not a good idea.  There was a quite a bit of wheel spinning, a few false starts but then I was slowly moving - to the applause of our good samaritans - but with very little control over the steering.  Then it was decision time.  Do I risk stopping to allow Paul back into the car and driving seat or do I try to keep going slowly and get home?  I decided to see if I could at least keep it going around the roundabout which leads to the estate where we live and once round that I found a clear patch of road which had been sheltered from snow by an overhanging tree.  Hazard lights on, I waited and shortly afterwards I saw the figure of Paul walking tentatively on the icy pavements.  Once we had our experienced bad weather driver back in the driving seat we were on our way again and all was ok until we tried to get back onto our drive.  The snow had drifted up onto the pavement and we simply could not get the car up the kerb.  We were now literally outside our own house but blocking the road!  A quick trip to get shovels out the shed and we were digging ourselves back home.  An hour after we set off - and we had barely travelled a mile!

It certainly wasn't the way the day was mapped out but at least we know we'll never forget the time we tried to celebrate Paul's big birthday!  Fortunately our daughter and family live within easy walking distance of us so we did manage to have a partial celebration. And there was certainly more than enough food and drink!

4 comments:

Patio Postcards said...

Well I'm very glad to hear you are safe tucked up at home. I am not a confident winter driver either, in spite of us spending about half the year in "winter like" conditions. And it's not even my driving that I worry so much about but others who are overly confident! So glad there was some celebration & enjoyment of all the food & drink stuffs. Hopefully Dec 12th will dawn clear & dry to allow full on birthday celebrations - I'll be raising my tea mug to cheer your husband on!

Barbara Eads said...

I grew up with lots of snow, but now we live in the south where we don't get much. Despite the interference with plans, I still love it!

Ruth said...

Gosh, poor you, how scary! West London got off lightly by comparison, we had enough to turn the grass white.

Leslie Roberts Clingan said...

What a fun read. Giggled that your car took on a mind of its own in the snow and would have none of it when Paul tried to turn around. We had a standard poodle-human mix dog that had the craziest fur...a lot like an English sheepdog. She loved to play in the snow but would get icicles between her 'toes' and hanging beneath her. Crazy Cici. We miss her so much. Thanks for rekindling the memories of the old girl with the description of your pup defrosting.