This week brought the snow to many areas and Hertfordshire got a fair sprinkling of it, especially on Tuesday when it snowed heavily for most of the day. I both love and loathe the snow, I love it if I don't have to go out in it in the car and I hate it with a vengeance if I've to drive in it. So Tuesday was a lovely day with no medical appointments, no shopping required, no need to go anywhere and a beautiful snowfall to watch and enjoy.
In my days when I used to work, before PH, I used to do everything I could to try and get into work in bad weather conditions and on several occasions I've found myself completely stranded. Once I was stuck with my two young daughters in the car, I had picked them up after school and work and it took us nine hours to drive home. We were completely caught out and unprepared at rush hour and the journey home was frightening and scary as we skated up and down hills and round roundabouts. On that particular evening, mobile networks were down everywhere and we were unable to make contact with Rob and let him know we were safe. Rob managed to get all the way home on the train from Belgium in the time it took us to get from one town to the next and was relieved when we eventually returned from school at nearly midnight and driving with the petrol on red. The following year, it happened to us again, but this time we were more prepared and after being stuck in traffic for a few hours, I dumped the car at the roadside and we set off in our wellingtons on the walk home, this time we fared better, only five hours to get home! I can think of many a hairy moment most winters after that when I have tried to skate and slide to work in the snow.
The last time I got caught out driving in the snow was three years ago, just a few months before my diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension. This time it was an evening and we were having our work Xmas party in a village pub, just a few miles near to where I live. During this period leading up to the Xmas party, and totally oblivious to being ill, I had many an evening where I felt more tired than usual and kept feeling that I was coming down with something. This evening felt like one of them and I very nearly didn't go out, but not wanting to be a misery, I decided to make an effort and go out. There was a forecast for some slight snow showers, but nothing that worried me at all. While we were in the restaurant, we could see the snow coming down heavily and blizzard like conditions developing through the window and before we got to dessert, some of us thought it may be a good idea to try and get home. I had to literally dig my car out of the snow with my hands and try and wipe the windows clean in snow that was blowing and blasting down and sideways across the nearby fields.
I decided not to go on the narrow country roads way home, which should have been the quickest, but to try and make it to the main road, which would perhaps be clearer and better lit. As I slid down a hill, there was oncoming traffic that had skidded and blocked the nearest through road. A kind gentleman, directed me to another road, which would take me to the main road, so off I went precariously slipping and sliding everywhere in my mini, not a car I would recommend for snow driving! I then found myself on some narrow kind of track in the middle of nowhere, in a blizzard and I couldn't tell which were roads or fields. It began to feel like something similar to a horror movie and I had to tell myself more than once to pull myself together and just concentrate on finding the main road! I prayed as I drove along that nothing would come the other way and miraculously it didn't. When I got to the main road, now quite a few miles in the the wrong direction I should have gone in, my car then wouldn't make it up the slight incline to get on the road.
People are always saying how strangers don't stop to help each other anymore, but two cars stopped that were passing along on the main road, and some complete strangers literally did all they could to get me up and onto the main road, giving me good advice and pushing me and my vehicle up the hill. I knew then it would still be a long walk, as I was miles further away from home, but I felt less panicky as I was on a main road and it was well lit. I will always be grateful to those people who stopped and helped me that night, especially as they were struggling too. I drove along as far as I could until I reached a bigger hill, where lots of others were stranded and the road was nearly blocked. There was a pub nearby, so I put the car on the pub car park, popped into the pub to check it was alright to leave it, remembered my walking boots were in the back of the car, as I had taken the children in my class for a walk that day, put them on and walked the few miles home in the wind and snow. I remember being so glad I had my boots in the car, the rest of my gear was evening dress and a velvet coat! I managed to get a message to the girls and as I reached the outskirts of my village, Rob and the girls were driving along to pick me up. I don't think I have ever been so relieved. Also, I didn't know the delicate state of my health at the time, so I think I was lucky I made it home all in one piece.
So those are my snow stories, I think most of us have a few of them, and I relished the thought this week that I didn't have to go out and set off to work in it! Instead I was in my PJs watching the traffic slip and slide down our road, drinking coffee and enjoying being in the warm. In the afternoon, I decided I'd like to go out for a walk in it and take some photos, everything looks so beautiful in the snow. So we donned our wellies, got wrapped up warm and went for a walk in the park before all the children came out of school, so I could be the first to walk in it! Well I just wanted to totally indulge myself, sorry kids! Enjoy the pictures!
As I finish writing this we have had lots more snow just like the rest of the country and we are expecting more snowfall tomorrow. On Monday we are supposed to be travelling to the Transplant Clinic at Papworth for my routine check. We will have to see what tomorrow brings now and review on Monday whether we think we will be able to get there and back safely.
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