It snowed on a Sunday recently, the whole country came to a standstill, I had parties to get to.......aaaghhhh! So back in the day I had to walk 4 miles to a party and back again due to heavy snow and my car sliding sideways. I had winter tyres fitted the next day and have been waiting years to actually need them whilst secretly hoping I never would. Fred's party was in Berkhamsted, about 15 miles from me and started at 11am. The snow fell all night and by morning there was a huge blanket of white covering everything. After speaking to Fred's mum early on she said the party was still going ahead and I said I would do everything I could to get there. Putting everything in the car including a snow shovel, blanket and lots of biscuits memories of climbing Kilimanjaro came flooding back. This was going to be a challenge I would win, whatever the cost.
Step one, get out of my road. It was tricky but I made it. There were a few other deluded / brave fools out as well and they were mostly going no-where slowly. Knowing that without my winter tyres I'd also be going no-where, it was a joyous moment as I overtook everyone giving myself a little high five and mini fist pump. These were both metaphorical of course. It would be extremely dangerous, reckless and a clear contravention of the highway code to actually do it. Just wanted to clear that one up, I'm a good boy I am. The first slight incline was a nightmare (for everyone else) with cars sliding backwards and getting stranded. I seamlessly eased past everyone and continued on feeling proud and a little smug, which I'm aware is also how this post is sounding. I don't mean to be, it was just redemption after the Blizzard of 2010.
Heading for the M25 I saw it wasn't moving...at all. People were out of their cars chatting, playing football, riding their pet hippos and generally not going anywhere. This was fast becoming the pattern of the day. That’s going no-where, not riding pet hippos. Diversion to the back roads through Chiswell Green and beyond it was then. I'd been updating Fred's mum with my ever changing arrival time and luckily she was very understanding. All was going well albeit very slowly until a car in front of me got stuck in the middle of a country lane so I couldn’t pass.
I hopped out, snow shovel in mind and kindly offered to help. I got stuck in shovelling the avalanche of snow from on and around his car whilst he stood there pointing out where it was which was very generous of him. Hmmmm. Twenty five mins later with me absolutely exhausted he finally managed to move…….sideways and then, thankfully slid backwards to the side of the road so I had room to pass.
We were already past the start time of the party and Fred’s mum had told me there was just Fred, his brother and one guest who’d made it. I soldiered on and soon came across someone else in need of my snow shovel so helped again only to find myself stuck now. A big push from some nice Hemel residents and I was off again.
I then had to drive through miles of woods that reminded me of scenes in The Blair Witch Project and Deliverance. The prospect of getting stuck there and spending the night terrified me but thankfully the snow here was kind and let me through unscathed.
Finally, after more than two and a half hours I arrived, relieved and proud. Just like Lt Dan in Forrest Gump jumping into the sea I think I made my peace with God that day. Well, not God but maybe the Hertfordshire weather system.
I had lunch and a nice chat with the three children and set up. The party finally started at 1pm and I had a great time entertaining three of the loveliest children you could meet. Fred’s parents were really grateful I’d made the effort to get there and were so welcoming it just made the whole journey totally worthwhile.
Three minutes after leaving for home I got stuck again and for the ten minutes it took to get going again I was very scared. This might mean no food for hours and I was ravenous. I got back at 5pm and truly felt I’d conquered my demons from 2010. I’d finally got value for money from my winter tyres and Fred had his extremely personal party.
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