How a pub convoy helped us through the snow

Aurora James
Yahoo! Contributor Network
How a pub convoy helped us through the snow
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Pushing our car stuck in the snow and ice ©Aurora James

"Don't travel on Friday unless you have to," they said. The Met Office warning couldn't have been any clearer. When I left in the morning to work at a local school in Staffordshire, it was snowing lightly. Within two hours it had become a white-out and the school called the buses back and sent everyone home. My car struggled to get off the school car park and it took me over an hour to pick up my own children from their school, in what should have been a five minute journey.

I have a front wheel drive little Suzuki Swift which I love, and it usually manages icy roads with no problem. This time, I experienced the fear you have when you apply your brakes and nothing happens. The van in front of me stopped suddenly, I braked and my car carried on down the sloping road. I turned the steering wheel frantically and swerved to the other side of the road, thanking my lucky stars that nothing was coming the other way. Lorries and buses were already abandoned in lay-bys.

That morning I'd fortunately put extra warm clothing and wellies in the boot of the car for all of us - just in case. I'd also made sure I had lots of extra food and glucose for my diabetic daughter. If we were stranded and she had a diabetic hypo - it would be a medical emergency.

With the kids safely in the car we inched our way home. But with two miles to go, on our only gritted route, traffic came to a stop. Everyone was turning round. I soon found out why. The roads were like a skating rink. Our car got stuck. The wheels went round but it simply would not move. I managed to reverse slide and turn, and we decided to pull into the nearby pub for something to eat and to think about how we could get home.

The police had arrived to help a lady who had gone into labour stuck in the traffic. She'd managed to do the same as us and pull into the pub car park. Her Audi A3 was left in a corner. Somehow the police managed to get her to hospital.

There was a real community feel in the pub. Lots of us were stuck there with children and debating what to do. My kids wanted to walk the two miles home and leave the car. By now it was like a blizzard and I knew the novelty of the snow walk would wear off for them after about half an hour. I was also concerned about our safety.

Then someone rang the pub to say they'd managed to get through a tiny back road route to our village without a problem. A group of us decided to go in a convoy and try it out. If we got stuck - we'd get stuck together. My phone battery had died and I'd left the charger at home - stupidly. At least my kids had their phones.

We were lucky. Slowly but surely we crawled along snowy country lanes and we made it home. I still don't understand how the small lanes that hadn't been gritted were OK for us. Now, we're snowed in at home, but at least we have a coal fire and plenty of food to keep us going. And for us, the important thing is having enough medical supplies like insulin and blood test strips to last through this weather. Today I plan to go and check on elderly neighbours to make sure they're OK. If we can struggle with a bit of snow, it must be so much more difficult for them.

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