Saturday, January 26, 2013

True Grit

If I had a grit-bin outside MY house, I'd make sure I used it!!!
Some things are meant to go together: Bananas and Custard, Morecambe and Wise and of course, Ann and I! Conversely, some things should never, ever, EVER be within a planet of each other!

My story began at around 6.45 this morning as I headed off to Peterborough driving Ann’s car (for the first time). It is still quite snowy round here and we also had a fresh batch overnight. ‘No problem’ I thought, ‘it’s not THAT much, the main roads are bound to be clear’. Trouble began within five minutes of leaving the house. snow on its own is fine, rear-wheel drive cars are fine too, and so are hills. However, put them all together (as happened this morning), and the result was a real mess.

As I approached the hill just round the corner from us, I just didn’t give the car enough throttle (my excuse? It was was the first time I’d driven Ann’s new car and the thought of going too fast on a snowy/icy bend - and the consequences didn’t fill me with confidence), the car slowly lost traction, stopped and began sliding back down the hill.

If we’d still had Ann’s little (front-wheel-drive) Fiesta, things would have been different, but the heavy Mercedes with its rear-wheel-drive just couldn’t cope. ESP kicked in reducing the throttle, and even when I turned it off, so I could rev the car freely, the car continued to go nowhere!

Still, surely with all the noise of the wheels spinning, the householders would be out to see what’s going on - not a chance! So I slid the car into a space and returned home. After tucking into porridge, Ann and I revisited the scene. We decided that the only thing to do would be to clear the road of all the snow and ice. Surely with all the noise of shovels, the householders would be out to see what’s going on - err no!

Forty-five minutes later, we’d cleared and gritted the hill (luckily there was a full grit bin nearby). I managed to turn the car round and pointed it back towards home. Two hundred metres later, at the t-junction, the nightmare repeated itself - no traction and the car just slipped and slid. A quick call to our neighbour, David, meant there was now three of us with shovels - David had thoughtfully, also brought some wood to go under the back wheels.

I managed to move it a little further on, but a local Wicks lorry arrived on the scene, completely ignored our plight (thanks!) and headed off into the distance. Five minutes later with his delivery made (or abandoned!) he was heading straight towards our stranded car. I was able to reverse it out of the way, but that now put it into a new position where there was no grip!! ARGHHHHHHH! More shovelling needed!!!

It was now getting light, and the locals were rising. Before long, we had three or four helping to dig us out. Eventually we made it, but on the final 100 metres of the journey towards Tynan Close, I instinctively stopped to warn a neighbour who was de-icing his car about the state of the roads and then realised that I stopped on ANOTHER ungritted part of the road. Luckily, two neighbours, plus Mick, our resident electrician, were on hand to push the car (with me steering)along the final 20 metres towards home. I just got the car onto our gently sloping drive, got out, and was just about breathe a sigh of relief, when the car started to slip down the drive - and that was with the handbrake ON. ARGHHHHHHH!

Fortunately, it didn’t have much momentum and gently came to a halt in the snow and ice. David and Ann carried on shovelling, and eventually, we got the car on the level - and there it stayed for the rest of the day.

Val invited us round for a steaming hot cup tea and reflected on the stress of it all. It  was now only 8.45, but we both felt like we’d done a day’s work already!!!