Monday, 20 December 2010
Escape from Cornwall!
Well, on Friday we woke up to freezing conditions in Essex, but no snow, so set off to the West Country to pick up Ben from uni in Plymouth and then go on down to Cornwall to see the in-laws, stay a couple of nights and do the annual present swap.
All was going well. The journey around the M25 was uneventful - miraculous! There were weather warnings out, but we had just seen a sprinkling of snow. However the closer we got to the West Country the worse it became. We stopped at Taunton Dean services and the snow was blizzard like and settling well. We had a call from Ben letting us know there was snow in Plymouth and then a call from Carrie (Hugh's sister) telling us there was snow where they were and advising us which way to go to get safely into the village.
We arrived in Plymouth and there was some snow, but actually not a lot. It was lovely to see Ben again after 14 weeks and to see how homely he had made his flat. We loaded all his clothes, computer games, laptops etc into the car (and no dirty washing - amazing what a difference 3 years of living away makes) and set off for Cornwall. And yes, the snow was coming down harder! The lane we were to go in by was like glass. We drove along at about 8 miles an hour and that seemed too fast! The family home is actually in a small hamlet half way down (or up) a hill! Hugh decided that we would go down the hill to the house and that we would be able to get back up again! So, off we set - two wheels in the gutter to stop us from slipping and after 10 minutes of very slow driving (and with Penny and me sitting in the back with our hands over our eyes!) we arrived.
It was lovely to see everyone again. Hugh's Dad had had a fall the day before and had a very nasty graze on his head and two lovely black eyes, but considering that he is 88 he had got off very lightly. We spent the night chatting and catching up on all the news.
Over night it snowed again - oops! That meant that it was almost impossible to get out of the village as the roads do not get gritted there and the hills out from their house are all very steep. However, impossible is not in Hugh's vocabulary and Ben seems to be strongly taking after his Dad! They decided that they would get the car out of the village and up to the top lane where it is flat, so off they set with hoes and every intention of making the road passable. They used the hoes to scrape up the snow and then threw down some branches, leaves and muck from the side of the road. And bless them, they managed it! They parked up in a layby at the top of the hill and there the car stayed over night.
The trip was always going to be a short one as we had the Scout Carol Concert to attend on Sunday evening, so Sunday morning saw us packing everything up. We had rather a lot of luggage, plus Christmas presents! The walk up the hill usually takes about 10 minutes. However, with a wheelbarrow (with presents and other non-wheeling baggage) and wheeling bags and the most slippery conditions I have ever walked on it took nearly half an hour! However, we did make it and the trip back to Essex was fortunately completely uneventful although we had heard absolutely dreadful things about the roads on the news.
I had today off to catch up on all the washing and we went to the theatre tonight (more on that another day), but tomorrow I have to go back to work until I finish on Friday at 12.30pm. I am not looking forward to driving in these icy conditions - I am full of admiration for Hugh for all the driving he has done over this weekend.
(By the way, Penny was also with us, but was behind me in the photograph - she found the walk very heavy going!)