Monday, 30 November 2009
Snow is so frightening if you're me
I was thinking about the weather.... well I would wouldn't I, I'm British and we're obsessed with it!
Anywhere you want to start a conversation with a complete stranger, talking about the weather is it. We can discuss the temperature, state of the sun, wind, rain ad infinitum. We are always having the wrong weather. We as a nation love grumbling about the weather. And yet much as we yearn for deep snow, or endless hot sunshine when we get either we moan that it's been cold for too long, or that there hasn't been any rain for days.
Rarely do we in the UK feel happy with how the weather is, and maybe that's because it changes all the time. As in this morning was clear skies and sunshine, which has lasted until the last hour, now the wind is getting up and the rain is starting.
I think as I've got older I've got better at understanding that there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes! Which is such a British statement as we really don't have extremes of weather compared to other parts of the world.
Even our floods, whilst devastating for the community are nothing compared to the affects of a typhoon say in Indonesia!
Now I actually wasn't thinking like this when I was thinking about the weather.I was thinking more about how I dread the winter and live in fear of it snowing. Which in reality is never going to amount to much, it may cause a day's inconvenience but generally that is about it.
So why am I so frightened of it?
Well, when I was expecting Alex 19years ago I was living up in the hills, in a semi derelict farmhouse and barn. To get to the house you drove off the main road for two miles till you came to the track that we shared at the top with the working farm, our nearest neighbours. Our part of the track was a quarter of a mile long,twisting down hill from the road beyond the farm entrance. We were lucky they were the last farm on the milk run. So the road had to be kept clear for the milk tanker to get through.
We had learnt that the only way to deal with snow, as we were on the snow line and always got it, was to leave a car parked up on the country lane above the house. And then every morning I would walk up with my son and my sisters two children to take them to school, if the road had been cleared. This lesson had been learnt the hard way when we'd tried to get a normal car up this frozen track.
We did of course at times have suitable cars, like land rovers, but not always.
So we got to the winter I'm expecting Alex. On the Thursday night the weather forecast is grim, so we suggest to my sister that on her way home from work she picks up some food. We also phone up the coal man for a delivery. In this house the only heating we had as we rebuilt the house was either a couple of open fires in either end of the building or some fairly ineffectual calor gas heaters. I lived in the barn part and my sister and her family in the farmhouse, we shared the kitchen in the middle.
The snow starts in the night, and we are completely blocked in the next morning I am 7 months pregnant. The children think it is fab. I'm having braxton hicks contractions. The calor gas is running out and the coalman hadn't made it, we were running low on coal. We have some food, but not a lot. And even though we have a four wheel drive vehicle the snow is too deep to try and get up the track. We are stuck.
Ok it was only for 24hours, but it was a worrying 24hours, I had visions of having to be airlifted out in labour, thank goodness that didn't happen!
We were cold, and because I had only actually moved into the barn two weeks before I was still living with walls that were the same as in the days the cows lived there.
Kit and I were sharing the one room. We had one power point in the room and no glass in the window it was still blue polythene. I had to make the decision in the evenings whether to watch TV or put the electric blanket on, once Kit was asleep in his bed.
And what I was thinking today was that actually I've been through so much in my life time, and that really life is easy now compared to then. I mainly only have to please myself about things. I don't have to deal with little or no heating, the snow in the town, if it comes at all, is cleared from the road, so I only have to slid out of my drive, if I need to get out at all. And I can walk to the store from where I live. So will never be without milk or bread.
But fear is such a strange thing, as although I can rationalise all of this it actually doesn't stop that horrible sinking feeling when the snow starts to fall. Especially if I'm at work, I have an urgent need to get home to stay inside. Doesn't help that my journey home is 27 miles up and down some of the steepest hills in England. But I do have to try and keep a perspective and balance here and not just be ruled by my fear.