The Friday before Christmas Eve we had the biggest deposit of snow in one go that I can remember and we, the car and I, got to drive in it.
I’d clocked off work at 18:00 and agreed with B that I would drive to see Chris, the friend who’d had the mini stroke at the beginning of the week, on my own. There was a light dusting of not quite snow, not quite just frost on the ground and I was heard to say that I had driven in much worse with my driving instructor in January so what was there to be worry about?!?!?! I agreed to be home by 19:30 – as I just needed to Chris with my own two eyes to confirm that she was okay.
I was a little longer than anticipated as Chris and her hubby were about to have their tea when I arrived and Chris as me to have a cup of tea after. Her husband was going to choir practice and this needed me to move the car. We walked out and it was snowing – a bit. He ummmed and errrrrred about whether to go and then went. I went back in and agreed with Chris that I’d just have the tea and then go. I’d barely got my backside on the settee when the phone rang. We bet that it would be B asking where I was but no, it was Chris’s husband saying he was coming home.
Ohhhh, we looked outside, it was coming down thick and fast. Maybe I, who had been driving 9 months, and the car B adores should head home. Chris suggested I could stay there but there were two things to consider – me getting home to Buddy and the car getting home to B.
So Chris gave me instructions on which corners to be careful of and how I should attempt not to break at the junction of her road and the main road and off I went.
There was so much snow coming down I had to have the windscreen wipers on fast and it was building up rapidly on the ground. I got to the junction of Chris’s road and eased to a stop. There were cars on either side and no room to move over if something was coming. I almost thought about staying but that would have involved turning round anyway so I might as well give it a go.
I acquired a vehicle behind me, or should I say BEHIND me, way too close – well certainly for my liking. Did they not know it was snowing and that this was my first time driving in snow when it was falling from the sky and how much B thought of the car?
I went across a mini roundabout. Not in the conventional way of ‘go straight ahead’ meaning take the second (generally) exit but literally as nothing was coming.
The roads between Chris’s and the main road, which she assured me would be clear, are windy country roads and as I approached the next bend, doing all of 10 miles an hour, I slid onto the opposite side of the road. By this time my heart was beating like a bird’s. Fortunately the oncoming car was about 200 feet off. I slid/steered back onto my side.
‘I can always pull over and get out and walk back’ I thought. However what if something happened to the car. Let’s keep going. Just keep, as per the driving theory test, in the highest gear possible and what can go wrong.
I got to the second T junction Chris had warned me about and had to stop as there were cars passing. Okay deep breaths. We can do this. Got onto the road and phew this takes us down to the dual carriageway which is going to be clear.
This road slopes, gently as it turns out, to the traffic lights, but that night it felt like we were coming down the north face of the Eiger with a little four wheel drive already at the bottom, or rather the lights, which were on RED. Well I guess that means we won’t slide into oncoming traffic just into the back of the 4×4. I think I very well may have a heart attack first.
With impeccable timing the lights changed to green. We turn right, the road was anything but clear. I couldn’t see a hint of road surface, just a slight indentation from the cars in front of which there weren’t that many. So it’s now just one straight road, a right turn and three left turns and we’re parked on the drive.
This dual carriageway always seems a relatively level road and suddenly I realised that it is actually up and down like a roller coaster. Roller coasters are probably not a good idea for me anymore however I have to say I have never been so scared on a roller coaster. My heart was pounding. I was wildly terrified AND wildly excited.
I had to move over, across the outside lane to get to the turning lane. Our rear end slid out as we turned right. Wooohoooo nearly home. The car behind pulled over to the fast lane and started to overtake. Don’t hit us – I don’t want to have to explain this to B so close to home. It overtook us and then all the cars in front. It was a clapped out old banger – maybe I should get one of those.
Now we had the slip road with bollards (very nearly what I was thinking by them) at the turning point. We managed to avoid those, then the turn at the end of the road and onto the drive to find B peering through the bedroom window. B who then starts giving me hand gestures as to how close to get to the porch. No pressure there then. I get out and the boot (trunk) is practically on the pavement. So I get back in to move it and the tyres wouldn’t grip. I thought sod it and got out.
I had never actually understood the expression ‘I need a drink’ until that night. I NEEDED a drink.
I got in to a warm welcome of Bud and a B with a face like a smacked backside.
B: ‘If you’d left at 19:00 like you said you’d have missed it!’
Me: ‘I’m glad to see both you and the car made it home okay a major achievement considering how long you’ve been driving.’
B: ‘You were the one that said you’d driven in snow before.’
Me: ‘Yes with my driving instructor, in snow that was on the ground, in daylight! If anything went pear shaped I could have got out and he could have taken over.’
I however was way too hyper by then to let B’s glumness bring me down and after two single malts, one with hot water and honey and the other neat while I was waiting for the kettle to boil, and a phone call to Chris and my Auntie Ann (who had called while I was out) to confirm I had made it home in one piece Bud and I went out to play fetch in the snow and left the grinch inside! ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!