A Move Postponed

“I’ve lived here 20 years,” the woman said, “and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

She was feeding her horse by the side of the road near our new house, and we were on our fourth unsuccessful attempt to find a road that wasn’t blocked with snow. This was yesterday.

The fact is that our part of England has been hit with the worst March weather since 1979 and one of the heaviest snowfalls anyone can remember and it’s come at the very time we’re trying to finish the work we’re having done on the house and get ourselves moved in.

(Here I am walking up the lane to find yet another snow drift blocking our way)

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We might have been more adventurous about trying to drive through the smaller snow drifts had we not met with disaster on Saturday when we tried to do the same thing. Only a few feet along the snow-covered road, we became stuck. No amount of changing gear, turning the wheels, or attempting to reverse did any good. The car was stuck, the lane was deserted, and the snow was starting again. We tried all kinds of things with shovels and grit, alternated with short bursts of time back in the car trying to warm up, but all to no avail. Finally out of the snow and wind came a lone figure – Tom from Colne, who had started down the same lane, seen us, and decided to come and help. He had some snow socks in his car that fit our tyres and with the help of those and a push, we were back out to safety. Phew! THANK YOU TOM!

So you can imagine that we weren’t keen to repeat the experience yesterday as we tried to find a way up to the house to meet the joiner who was coming to fit some shelves. Eventually we decided to park the car in the village and walk the half mile up the hill to get to the house.

This is the gate to the path, and you can see the house just peeking out right at the top of that hill. There are supposed to be steps up to the path, but they were all snowed over, so we looked like Laurel and Hardy trying to get to the gate!

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I can’t even tell you how cold and bleak that walk was. It’s a steep hill, we were carrying heavy bags, we were walking through snow in some patches and then boggy ground in others, and a gale-force wind was whipping hailstones in our face.

Here’s the view back down to the village from halfway up the hill

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(Don’t be fooled by how little snow is on the fields – by now it has all blown down onto the roads!)

But I’m proud to say we made it and we felt like Edmond Hillary when we closed the front door and were able to have a hot cup of tea!

Once there we called the joiner and the carpet fitters to tell them there was no way they could get up as planned. We then called the movers and rescheduled our move for the following week. Finally, I went out and fed the poor birds, whose feeders were all empty because we hadn’t been able to get up and take care of them.

Once all those things were achieved, it was time to head back down the hill and go home, knowing we have extra time now to get everything done before we move.

Here’s the lane outside our house

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Here’s the house from the field as we started to descend again.

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And here’s Phil on his way down.

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I should quickly say, if you’re thinking of coming home and all this has put you off, that our lane is very unusual. All the other roads in the region – even the small ones – had been cleared and we were really impressed by the efficiency of the snow clearing operation. But if you choose to live on a quiet, isolated road that hardly ever gets used, you have to expect that it will be the last to get attention from the snow ploughs.

Last night we went out for a well-deserved drink and pub meal and then I had an even more well-deserved hot bath! More snow is forecast for the next few days – in fact it’s coming down again now as I write this on Tuesday morning – so it’s a relief not to have to worry about the move. We’re just hoping that these arctic temperatures lift at some point in the next 7 days, so that the snow can melt a little. Think good thoughts for us!

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