I’m not sure exactly when it started to snow, but I had to postpone my visit to Sheffield on 18th December because the slight snow fall had turned to ice and I couldn’t get out of the village. I could, just, but it took and age and the journey wasn’t worth the risk.
The snow was deep and crisp and even throughout Christmas and then it came again. We had about nine inches each time (not exaggerated – I measured it with my trusty – now rusty – blue metal ruler) and then this week we had a final daylong fall of very fine stuff that caused the most problems. Our road by this time was not gritted. This caused me to postpone this week’s trip to Newcastle, partly because the trains to that city were intermittent at best – cancelled at worst.
However, this isn’t a whinging note: I think that Kirklees Council have done a sterling job with the gritting – given that we’ve had a month of what appears to have been the worst winter snow in thirty years. I heard somewhere (maybe I read it) that Kirklees had bought in extra stocks of salt/grit this year and it showed, as the roads were kept pretty clear for the best part of this extended period of bad weather. Of course the side roads were not kept too clear – but then they never were!
Thirty years ago I lived in Golcar, just across the valley from where I live now and for two years running we had to dig ourselves out of the estate. Great fun it was as well; two or three hours digging to make sure we could get out the following day and then off we all went to the pub. None of us seemed to consider NOT going to work during that period. And my own children had a great time playing in the snow with their mates too (so did I).
I have two distinct memories of snow when from I was (much) younger. As a child in the fifties (time passes so slowly when you are very young), the snow seemed interminable, very deep and so much fun. I vaguely remember the milkman’s float having chains on the wheels and those neighbours lucky enough to have cars, changing their types in winter to ones that gripped – these might have been chains too, I can’t recall, but people certainly seemed to get about. Then in the sixties, as a young teenager, it became even more fun with sledging and snowballing and making huge snowmen. We used to make super glass-like icy slides down the footpaths too – brilliant but very deadly. The householders used to throw ash from their coal fires over these to prevent anyone from killing themselves (we hated them for that).
Ash was the grit of the day then: a virtuous circle of fire >> warmth >> useful waste. No big holes in Cheshire.
Well done so far Kirklees Highways Dept. Not so well done Kirklees schools – you have VLEs!
And not so well done Kirklees whatever the bin-men department is called. December 9th was my last gray bin collection. Tut tut.