Snow. Again. 2013 365 Challenge #83

Snowman needed a friend

Snowman and friend

I’m beginning to wonder when winter is going to sod off. We’re two days into spring and in the middle of an arctic blizzard. I really hoped the kids wouldn’t want to go out in it this morning – hubbie isn’t well and I knew it would fall to me to don the snow trousers. Even my initial inability to find the kids’ snow-gear (I’d put it away for the spring, that was hopeful) didn’t dampen their enthusiasm.

Actually once I got out and settled into it I enjoyed our hour in the snow. I built my first proper snowman, by rolling the snow across the garden. Well, I’m sure I must have made one like that when I was a child but I don’t remember doing it as an adult.

Unfortunately our snowmen picked up dirt from the bare patches in the lawn so they look like they’ve been jumping in muddy puddles. We couldn’t get the carrots or eyes to stay in either, as the snow was melting as quickly as it fell. Bloomin British weather. Still, I think they look quite cute.

We coaxed the kids out to my parents’ after lunch in a need to escape the house. We were only going for an hour but Aaron fell asleep and Kung Fu Panda was on the TV. All it took was the offer of Fish & Chips for tea and we ended up staying until the kids’ bedtime. Now that’s what Saturdays are about. I just have to think of something interesting to happen to Claire (maybe it will snow again!) and I can go to bed. It’s been a long day.

This is how Saturdays should be spent

This is how Saturdays should be spent

First proper snowman

First proper snowman

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“Checking out please.”

The man behind the desk looked up from his paper and smiled. “I wouldn’t love. Have yer looked outside this morning?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Heavy snow overnight. Roads are going to be murder. Best stay put for a night or two, wait fer it to clear. Happen it’ll be gone by Friday.”

“Friday? I have to be in Cambridgeshire by Thursday afternoon.” Claire felt fear twist in her gut. Ruth will kill me if I’m not there to pick Sky up after school finishes.

The man laughed, not unkindly but with genuine humour. “You’ll be lucky lass, unless that’s a flying car you’re holding the keys to.”

Claire thought about the Skoda parked out on the street. “Not flying, no, but it is Eastern European. It’s pretty handy at starting in bad weather.”

“Skoda is it? The little brown one? Starting’s not your problem. You’ll dance your rear-end into a hedge driving that, even with bricks under the bonnet. You got ballast?”

Not wanting to admit she had no idea what he was talking about, Claire pulled out her iPad and did a quick online search.

“Would I make it to Hartington Hall do you think?”

The man frowned, as if questioning why she wanted to leave.

“Oh, no,” Claire interjected swiftly. “Don’t take it personally. I’ve loved staying here. It’s just I only have a year to stay in all the YHA hostels and so far I’ve only managed twenty. I’m about to spend two weeks in just four or five hostels and it will put me way behind. I might get fired.” The words spilled out unstoppable and Claire felt the heat rise to her cheeks.

“Weeeell,” the man drew out the sound as he considered the barrage of words. “It’s nobbut eight miles from here but I couldn’t say if she’ll be passable. Gritter’s not been through, not that she’d have been much use. And they ’aint going to plough the back roads.” He stopped, seeming to register Claire’s disappointment. “Though the five-one-five will be clear. Shall I ring t’Hall, see what they think?”

Claire nodded and tried not to care about the look on the man’s face that suggested he feared for her sanity. Never mind that, I fear for my sanity. But I can’t be holed up in this tiny hostel for days. If I must be stuck I may as well tick another off the list. And Hartington Hall sounds like it might be less cabin-fever-inducing.

The man hung up the phone and faced Claire, his brows contracted. “Well, they’ve room and their roads ’aint too bad, but I still reckon you’re crazy to drive that tiny tub of yours in this muck.”

Claire remembered the last time she’d battled through the snow, on her way to Byrness, and wondered if she should just go back to bed. Her book called from deep in the rucksack and she could almost taste hot Earl Grey. As if sensing her wavering the man behind the desk shone a kindly smile. “Shall I just check you in for another night? We have room.”

Something about his face set Claire’s hackles rising. “No. I will not be defeated by the weather. Book me in to Hartington Hall. I’ll get there if I have to walk.”

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