This is starting not to be funny. Yesterday it rained and the snow had almost melted completely when we went to bed. By the time we woke up it had all come back; as much as before, if not more. Twice in one week is exceptional. Our 16th January here is tuning up to be our worst month ever, with only fleeting glimpses of the sun.
After last Wednesday’s white-out we were stuck. Our house is at the end of a kilometre long lane, which is steep, twisting and overhung with trees. It takes a long time to thaw and tractors make it worse by compacting the snow into lethally icy ruts. Although it’s a communal road, the commune hasn’t the resources to salt it, let alone snowplough it.
However, on Friday the Météo forecast more on the way – they were right – and we figured that if we didn’t break out soon we risked running out of food. So, with the SF driving we slithered off down the lane in the trusty old Mercedes, which has narrower tyres than our other car. According to him that means it’s less likely to skid. Once we had made it to the main road, some four kilometres distant, it wasn’t too bad. But it was pretty hairy getting there.
Once at Leclerc in Villefranche, we descended like the proverbial plague of locusts – if two people can constitute a plague – and stripped the shelves. Fresh milk and veg were priorities and we loaded up the car. Alas, we couldn’t get back up the lane. The tyres spun and we slid sideways but not forwards. I had the ingenious idea of putting the rubber foot-well mats under the wheels but even that didn’t get us far.
Nothing for it but to reverse the car carefully off the road and leave it. Then we had to walk one kilometre up to the house, fetch the wheelbarrows, load them up at the car and push them one kilometre uphill. At one point the gradient is about 1 in 3. Looking on the bright side, it kept us nice and warm and it does wonders for your arm muscles.
I complained like hell at the time but I’m glad we made the effort since we are back to square one today. The birds and animals have become tamer as a result and I’ve been able to get a couple of wildlife shots. The birds were mugging me as I hung out fresh fat balls for them this morning and fights were breaking out as they jostled to get to the food.
And this red squirrel was unusually close to the house, absorbed in his/her walnut and oblivious to my presence.
Apparently, in 2000 a climate expert in England claimed that snow would become “a rare and exciting event.” Humph.
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