Well things never go according to plan do they! We are still aboard Lady Arwen on the frozen Macclesfield Canal! My brother Nick phoned me this morning and asked what the weather was like – beautiful said I, lovely blue skies, sunshine – why? You should be so lucky, he said, its blizzard conditions here – I’m setting off now and will be with you in about an hour hopefully!
So, we went into overdrive! We got all the clothes packed, packed up the laptops, TV, guitar, music bag etc etc just about everything except the kitchen sink! Then we emptied the freezer and put everything in a bag up on deck (coz it was freezing outside!), switched the fridge and the freezer off then piled all the bags on the bed ready to unload. Then the phone rang!!! It was Nick – he wasn’t going to make it!
My brother Nick has a large 4 x 4 Toyota Landcruiser and is very used to driving in snowy conditions because he spends a lot of time in Switzerland at his chalet in Grindelwald, a few inches of snow is not a daunting prospect for him at all. However to your average man in the street in this country it means that all hell lets lose and everybody goes into panic mode, hit the roads in their cars and completely bung them up. Total traffic constipation! That is why Nick couldn’t get here because when he reached Ashton under Lyme the roads were gridlocked! What is matter with this country – we can’t cope with it when its too hot and we can’t cope with it when its too cold – grrrrrrrrr!
So to cut a long story short we unpacked the TV and the laptops, switched the fridge and freezer back on and unloaded the food and wondered what to do next. We have got food on board and a little milk but no butter and worst of all – no wine! We decided to go for a walk round to the marina shop to see what they had – we knew they had wine! When we reached the bridge guess what we spotted across the road? A pub!! Well look at that, all is not lost, if we do get totally stranded here we know that we can eat and drink in the pub – things were looking up. So we popped into the Rising Sun and had a nice lunch and a wee drinky poo and learned from the landlady that there was a Co-op about a ten minute walk down the road. So after we had finished our lunch we headed off down the road. A few minutes into our walk it actually started raining! What on earth is going on here!
Under normal circumstances any self-respecting Yorkshireman (or woman for that matter) would always say that we come from the right side of the Pennines, however I think on this occasion we happen to be on the right side!
We picked up a few essentials in the Co-op - you know, butter, wine and chocolate – then headed back to the boat. By then it had started to snow a little but it didn’t last very long and we were soon back on the boat. Fortunately we hadn’t let the stove go out this morning, almost but not quite and it didn’t take long to coax it back to warm the boat up again.
So here we are. Nick is going to phone us in the morning and if he thinks the conditions are better he is going to make a second attempt to come and fetch us. If he can’t then it will be a Matthews Turkey Joint and a bag of Birds Eye Sprouts for dinner on Christmas day I think! I sincerely hope we make it though, my sister Thelma ordered an enormous turkey yesterday, which she is due to pick up in the morning – it could take her some time to eat her way through that all on her own!
As I have said, a white Christmas is all very well but when you want to be with your family it can really get in the way. If you are travelling by air, the airport gets shut down whilst they clear snow and ice of the runway. If you are travelling by train, it gets stuck somewhere under the English Channel in the middle of a tunnel. If you are travelling by boat - you get stuck in a frozen canal and if travelling by car you either end up in a snowdrift or gridlocked! As I said - Bah Humbug!
Keep your fingers crossed – we’ll keep you posted!