We’ve had some snow… not much to be honest, not like the north and the east of the country, but apparently there is more to come. I love snow but it does cause a lot of disruption and difficulty, but I guess that’s because we don’t have it often enough to get used to how to deal with it in an everyday way. A couple of days a year, that’s it for the most part in most of the country. Even in my lifetime I’ve seen that there is less snow now than there used to be.
A friend told me that when she lived in North Lancashire, the snow would come down and the lanes would be full of it. Mums sent their children off to school, walking along the top of the dry-stone walls by the roads! I remember once when I was about eleven, a group of us were waiting at the bus stop in a terrible snowstorm and when the bus didn’t arrive, the older girls led us into town, walking through the snow… I had ankle length socks on and bare legs (no trousers for school uniform then!) I must have been frozen! I think we may have caught another bus from town on to school, but maybe we walked, I don’t remember now!
In that same year my family were going to Sheffield d to stay with my uncle and aunty and two cousins. Our car was an Austin A35; it had no heater so my sister and I were bundled up with blankets in the back as we set off. The snow began to come down as we headed north from Cambridge… it would be a four-hour journey at the best of times in the days before motorways. After four hours it was dark and we were halfway there… I think my parents wanted to turn back for home, but to my sister and I it was a great adventure! I guess we were more used to being cold in those days – no central heating or double glazing in our little flat!
No heating meant no heating on the windscreen and the snow falling began to freeze despite the wipers trying to shift it. We stopped somewhere and dad found a chemist’s shop and bought some glycerine which he poured onto the windscreen. On we travelled, applying glycerine from time to time. At one point we came to a junction at the bottom of a hill, and as we were waiting to turn the car behind us gently slid down into us. Dad got out and so did the other driver and he accused dad of reversing into him… reversing up hill on an icy road? I think not!!
Eventually we arrived at our destination and were welcomed in, into the warmth and cheery bright house. We had a lovely Christmas, and my sister and i enjoyed a novel experience – sledding! There are no hills in Cambridge, so we might have played out in the snow but we never had the fun of shooting down hill on a sled!!