Moving to the countryside: Part 17: last snow blog … honest

Being snowed in – and snowed out

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One last snow story

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When the last dumping of snow fell on the hill at the end of January, I was caught out – stuck at work in Bristol, while my wife and son were snowed in. They had plenty of food but I was desperate to see them. But I also had to get the latest issue of the magazine out – so I stayed over in Bristol.

Next day I left early to get home (apologies for any typos in the March issue). Helped by lots of supportive tweets along the way, I made it back to Abergavenny after 3 hours. I dug my car out of the snow at the station and drove gingerly along the main roads and then up the hill until the lane became impassable. I asked a neighbour if I could park on his drive and then trudged the rest of the way in a foot of scrunching snow.

It was lovely to see my little family, though I’d forgotten precious supplies of chocolate, so the welcome chilled slightly.

Next day, I used my new snow shovel to clear 800 yards of lane. Satisfying but utterly exhausting.

The morning after that, I set out for work once more. It had snowed again in the night; only a smattering but it had frozen as black ice and I slipped over painfully three times before reaching my car. I was annoyed and bruised, with an uncertain journey ahead.

Alas, I couldn’t open the neighbour’s gate to his drive. It was frozen shut. I found some de-icer in the car, but that had no effect. So I rummaged in the boot for a suitable tool to lever it open. As I re-emerged, I was astonished to see the neighbour standing there with the gate open.

“Were you trying to open this?” he asked, with a sort of smirk.

“Yes, it was frozen, how did you do it?” He showed me that it wasn’t frozen, it just needed a lift and shove.

“You’re not really cut out for this country living are you?” he said.

It was definitely the last thing I needed to hear at that precise moment.

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Later, however, my wife bumped into one of the local farmers, who told her in tones of admiration: “In all my years here, no one’s ever cleared the lane…” That helped soothe my battered pride.