It is no exaggeration to say that I have never seen anything like it.
Setting out at 6.45 am I slid gingerly along my garden path onto the public footpath. It only took 2 steps to realise I would be better off walking along the crisp frozen grass crunching along until I had to cross the pavement to grab hold of a neighbours garden fence. When the fence ran out I had no choice but to launch myself across the back ice topped tarmac down onto the road to where my car was parked. Slowly making my way around the car with scraper in hand, working to remove the ice from the windows. Icy rain making everything colder and wetter. Driving very very slowly skidding at the bottom of the road we crawled to the main road.
Carefully we made our way into town observing that pedestrians were without exception using the road rather than the paths. By the time I got ET to work we were a little late but at least we arrived in one piece. I was about to return home when I decided to pull over and phone my friend/neighbour/colleague PB to warn her what the roads were like. This was a bit of a mistake as I then couldn't get my car moving at first. However perseverance helped and with in a few minutes I was on my way again.
Calling into the local petrol station I found the forecourt being guarded by a man in a high visibilty coat standing next to a large sign proclaiming 'seriously severe ice'. He told me that they were open but be very careful. After filling up and completing my business I returned home passing PB as she was just leaving. Turning my car around I saw another neighbour (who I worked with a few years ago) with container of salt in her hand. She told me that she couldn't open her garage, as she couldn't stay on her feet. She had fallen and hurt herself already. Parking up I again managed to skate from my car to the pavement grabbing hold of my neighbour's fence I hauled myself along until I reached the grass (still crunchy even though it had been raining for some time by then). Once I reached my path I launched myself across the great devide that was formerly the pavement now an ice rink. Hanging on to the fence post geting a faceful of frozen wet leaves from the shrub that overhangs my side of the fence. (thank heavens I had cut it back about a month or so ago).
I left the house again at 8.40am for an audiology appointment at a local health centre. This time it was light and I could actually see the ice. There was not only ice on the road and footpaths but on the fences everything. Everything that was exposed to the elements was coated in solid ice. Never in my life have I seen so much ice everywhere. Again I crunched my way along the grass then holding onto the fence. Skating to my car I could see the frozen footprints where I had earlier stood to scrap the ice off which had now frozen again. Our road was still very icy but the traffic had by now churned the ice up to frozen slush. Even on the main road traffic was moving very gingerly. I didn't have far to go to reach the health centre. I noticed that the few people who were either brave or stupid enough to venture out were avoiding the paths still. As I attempted to turn into the health centre car park I saw that the gates were closed with a sign saying 'car park closed dangerous ice'.
On the one hand I could see the sense in that but on the other hand it was stupid. Perhaps there would be people falling over in the car park which like everything else was dangerously slippery. But where better to have a fall than in a place where there are doctors and nurses. Instead patients were forced to park across the road where there is a small parade of shops. I parked my car in one of the few remaining bays slid across the road running along the parade. Up onto the ornamental paving hanging onto the metal railings that surround the beds of shrubs that decorate the area. I made my way to the gap that led to the outer pavement lining the main road. At this point I had no choice but to let go and free slide to the edge and step into the road. Luckily there was still not much traffic (a mere fraction of normal) and those cars on the road were moving slowly. Reaching the opposite side of the road I joined about 4 others who were gingerly picking their way from gate to door of the health centre.
Once inside I was suprised to see an old friend working as a receptionist. I waited for heer to finish a protracted telephone call before greeting her. To my utter amazement she told me that she is now a granny (twice over), I assumed that this was from her daughter from her first marriage but no both her sons have become fathers. Her sons were school friends of DC and OJ. In years past there were often weekends when I had one of her boys sleeping over while she had one of mine. (in fact I had not long collected OJ from there when he fell out the window ripping open his armpit, about 9 or 10 yrs ago).
Anyway she made a note that I had arrived although it took her a while to find my name on the list as she was looking for LiR not my real name of Lady. (ok so that is not my real name but you get the idea). I then sat in the waiting room reading my book. Mother phoned me to tell me not to go out because it loks very icy, I shouldn't go to work (I would normally have been at work almost an hour by this time). I had to cut the call short when I was called in by the 'trainee scientist'. It was my time for my early christmas present. The young lady who didn't look much older than DC explained that she felt I would benefit from a different type of aid from the one originally planned for me.
I was hooked up to a computer via various wires connected to a machine that made noises at me. After an age during which she fiddled with her computer whilst I sat staring (as instructed) at the speaker emitting noises that would not be out of place on an episode of Dr who, she was satisfied that she had set the appropriate levels for me. This device I shall be wearing from here on in is a clever little thing. Not only has it been set reasonably quietly to give me a chance to get used to the new sounds I shall be able to hear but it gradually increases the volume over several months until it reaches the optimum volume. But I can adjust the volume according to various situations and it will remember those changes and make those adjustments itself next time I am in a similar setting. Armed with my new 'open fit' hearing aid, spare batteries, tips, tubes and leaflets I was now free to get off to work.
Although it was gone 9.30 by now it was still extremely icy outside. How I managed to stay on my feet I really don't know as my feet did slip countless times on my various trips to and from my car. Anyhow I made it safely back across the two road to my car and set off to work. Once I got back to the main road I was ok but I did still see others struggling. I made it to work without incident unlike many others according to my radio. This being our last day before we broke up for christmas I prayed we would be let off early today (in the hope the roads would have thawed and not refrozen). We were in luck, stock take completed we finished at 3 pm. Armed with my christmas cards a bottle of spiced rum and two bottles of shiraz I bade my colleagues christmas wishes and departed.
I didn't go home I collected a few items from a local store and called round to see my mother and collect the turkey. I was just leaving mother when OJ text me asking for a lift home from his soccer match at 6.30pm. That was an hour away, first I collected ET from work. While were were driving home there were flashes of lightning in the sky among the dark clouds. It was drizzling but nothing worse, the ice had eventually melted whilst I was at work. However when I was driving home with OJ the drizzle had become heavy rain that turned to hail. By the time we were half way home (its about 2 miles) the road appeared to be covered with snow. The hail was so thick everything was now covered in a blanket of white at least an inch deep. Hours later this carpet of white was still there. Adding to the excitement of our short journey was the sudden crash of thunder accompanying the sky splitting lightning.
This is one day I shall remember for the weather for a long time yet. How was your day?
“Doing” a Doctorate – week 3
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