Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Busybusy and the s-word

Current work: French duo book 2
Listening to: Corelli (essential for driving on bad roads)
Reading: Lucy Dillon, Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts (enjoying though has put a lump in my throat)

New tumble dryer arrived this morning at the crack of dawn – well, actually, no, earlier than that. Our slot was 7-2 today. ‘They won’t come at 7,’ says DH. Phone rings at ten to (while I’m in the shower). DH eats humble pie...

Am immensely pleased with it. Helpfully, it beeps when it’s finished. And instead of sticking it on for a time and knowing you’re going to have to check and adjust, you tell it what kind of stuff you’re putting in (sheets and towels or clothes) and how dry you want it (very dry, cupboard dry, iron dry – ha, not the latter in this house because I have minimum iron off to a fine art), and it tells you how long it’ll be. V clever. Oh, and if you don't get the stuff out straight away, for the next hour it fluffs up the laundry every five minutes to avoid creasing. (Ha. Even better on the minimum iron front.)

School run was horrendous. It was minus three for the whole trip, according to car thermometer. The so-called main road was very slippery (and yet the back road through the village, which I’d expected to be a nightmare, was clear) – and this is despite the fact that we have it much better here than the rest of the country does. Hope everyone out there is staying warm and safe.

DH and I were reminiscing about bad winters. The worst I can remember was in early 1987, when BT were on strike and I had to walk two miles in the snow to find a phone box that worked. (Kids were stunned to think there was a time when mobile phones were nonexistent. I remember that winter extremely well as I was a student, it was just after my mum died, Dad was in pieces and the snow made everything worse.)

I also remember being snowed in during 1978 (which I think went on for longer). And there was one in the mid-90s where the snow was so bad that we couldn’t find our exit off the bypass in Norwich. I’d had to go to Sheffield for work, and went by train because I refused flatly to drive in those conditions; DH was a hero and met me from the station.

Probably the worst during the children’s lifetime was Jan 2003, when the M11 was blocked for two days. This was the day before bestest coz’s wedding, so she was very nearly without a pageboy and bridesmaid…

I’m not old enough to remember the winters of the 1960s, though we do have some cine film of me and the dogs in the snow in 1970, when I would’ve been just about four.

What’s the worst snow you can remember?

12 comments:

Caroline Storer said...

Take care out there Kate! My mum says that the year I was born - 1963 - was one of the worst winters ever! I can remember one year in the 1980's being really bad snow wise. But the one thing that still sits with me in the memory bank was the storm (hurricane) of 1987! I won't forget those winds in a hurry! Take care. Caroline x

Anonymous said...

I adore snow, so there's no such thing as "bad snow" for me. But I do have vivid memories of spending winter 1990/91 in a rented north-facing and seriously draughty room in a big nineteenth-century student house with an unheated north-facing stone-floored kitchen (complete with draughty window and back door) and a stingy landlord who refused to turn the central heating on...

Oh, yes. We were cold.

mpe

Jane Holland said...

Caroline, did you know that the poet Sylvia Plath took her own life during that very harsh winter of 1963? It wasn't just the depressing months of snow and ice weighing her down, on her own in a freezing flat with two very young children, but I imagine it must have been a contributory factor.

Thank goodness for central heating, that's all I can say. Oh, and electric blankets! I've spent the last week in bed, where I am now, typing away under the covers on my laptop. Why freeze in the living room when you can write in your own cosy boudoir? (And be constantly interrupted by kids and DH, wanting to know where their supper is.)

I have fond memories of our school being shut as a teenager, due to the first serious snowfall on the Isle of Man in years, and getting a lift home with the Latin master, who lived over the hill. He was also a clergyman, and a very unlikely one at that, eccentric, always hilariously late for things, and consequently a bit of a wild driver. But we made it back in one piece! His daughter is still my oldest friend, one-time bridesmaid, godmother to my kids etc. Fond memories indeed ...

Lacey Devlin said...

I think I'm in love with your tumble dryer...

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - hope it's better your way, now.

DH reckons 1981 was a bad snow year.

And yes, I remember that night in 1987!

Kate Hardy said...

MPE - ooh, that sounds freezing! (And it's also given me a bit of a lightbulb about how to fix a problem in the book I'm going to start at the weekend - thank you.)

Kate Hardy said...

Jane - that's a very good point - might just try that this week...

Poor Sylvia. Shame she didn't get the help she needed - I think people are beginning to understand mental health more these days.

And how lovely that you have those memories! Your best friend's dad sounds quite a character.

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - LOL!

Diane said...

I think this is possibly the worst snow I can remember at "home". I do remember snow ploughs back in Solihull coming right down our street, which is a side road and would be unheard of today even though it's now a bus route too. But I often wonder if it seemed a lot "bigger" because we were a lot "smaller".

Apparently there was snow on the ground when I was born, and that might be why I love it so much - I don't revert back to the womb, I revert back to the snow. I remember everyone going off sledging and not seeing tarmac or grass coming through. This is probably mid to late 60s and very early 70s.

Best snow I ever experienced was a Christmas walking break in the Peak District when I was about 15 or 16. There was about 6 foot of snow on the hills, the experienced walkers wore snow shoes, and we sat down to get downhill quicker - I was wearing navy blue trousers that "bled" all the way down ... :oD

Olivia Ryan said...

Hi Kate. Yes, again showing my age I can tell you that 1962/63 was the worst winter in (my) living memory; apparently 1947 was awful too but that was before even I was born! In 62/63 the snow was here from December to March without a break. I think things DID grind to a halt back then, just as much as today, but what people forget is that there wasn't so much to grind to a halt! Hardly any cars on the roads, for instance. It's the volume of traffic on today's roads, and our dependence on our cars, that make conditions so bad. I wouldn't want to go back to the 'good old days' with no heating - chillblains every winter, scorched legs from sitting by the coal fire, bedrooms frozen up on the inside, cold lino floors, getting dressed under the covers...! No way! We're much better off today.x

Kate Hardy said...

Diane - I dunno, I can remember it being two feet deep in '78. (And I'm not much taller than I was in 78 - started growing outwards rather than upwards in 79, bah.)

And I can just imagine the trousers...

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - ooh, I can remember bedrooms frozen on the inside (the "ice feathers" on the windows) in the early 70s, and sitting by the coal fire (was too hot there, but too cold anywhere else in the room).

December to March, though - that's really awful.