Oh I wasn't going to do a 'snow post' but as I have exhausted all my families ears with my snow saga I feel I must go one step further and get it off my chest on the blog.
The whole county of Surrey got caught out on Tuesday and I don't think anyone was able to foresee the events that took place that afternoon/evening. OK so it had snowed the night before, but not much. You could still see the ground and most of the roads where clear. I was able to drop my little boy off at my parents-in-law that morning with no bother before driving 7 miles onto work.
During the day it began snowing heavily so I arranged with my boss to work through my lunch hour so I could leave at 3.30pm to get a head start on the traffic. Now was that not sensible of me?
Unfortunately when I left at 3:30pm and get onto the main road I hit traffic, but I expected this. The traffic is slow moving but it is moving. But this goes on for much longer than I expected and by the time I turn off the main road to get to my In-laws house its 6pm, I've been in the car for 2 ½ hours when normally this journey would take 20 minutes. According to my mum there are two lorry's overturned in the nearest town, and one has overturned and ended up in some ponds which is blocking all the traffic.
Its around this time that I realise how hazardous the side roads really are. As I turn corners my car starts to slip and I see other cars having to be pushed by kindly passers by. I find myself by now queuing in a road and the traffic is now not moving at all and we get the news that the road I am on is completely blocked. I ring my In-laws and let them know that I cannot get to them, my son will be spending his first night away from home (which upsets me) and I then turn around and start to drive home. Its now 7:15pm.
The road is clear for around 2 miles with me driving very slowly on a 40 mph road at under 20mph. But then 5 miles from home I hit a wall of traffic which is not moving at all and this is where I will stay for the next few hours.
While the snow is still falling heavily and while the snow under the cars are turning to solid ice as the temperature drops, this is how I am spending my time. I'm turning my engine off (to conserve petrol) and sitting there for at least ten minutes. Suddenly everyone starts to switch their engines on, everyone's lights pop back on and my heater kicks into gear, we all eagerly move 4 or 5 car spaces (some wheels slipping more than others) before stopping and switching our engines off again for the next ten minutes. The monotony of this is broken at times while I call my mum and moan or I call Chris before he sets off to work and almost cry.
Even though I haven't eaten since one that afternoon I am not hungry but I am bursting for the loo. The men in this jam have the advantage in bodily logistics in situations like these and often stand at the side of the road while I try not to think of waterfalls.
Eventually at MIDNIGHT I make it to the top of Reigate hill, a steep-ish hill about a mile long and there is a sudden abundance of abandoned cars. I almost contemplate taking the motorway but one look at that makes me realise that that would be even more dangerous than the situation I am already in. I later found out that there were 400 abandoned lorries on the motorway in Surrey that night. There are now many pedestrians having to walk home and I almost feel envious of them; at least they are moving.
Funnily enough I also bump into Chris here who is working as part of the emergency services. The last I see him he is talking to a girl who is crying hysterically because she has been in her car since 2pm.
As I start to slowly make my way down the hill I see more and more pedestrians and more abandoned cars (including an abandoned bus) but I am OK. As I come to a particular steep part of the hill however my brakes stop working and I shit myself (not really.) It was one of the most scariest things that has ever happened to me and I honestly believe I am going to hit the car in front. But all these hours of driving on ice has made me an almost expert in these conditions so I take my foot off the brake and then spin the car towards the curb while braking in a jabbing motion and I manage to stop. Some guys who have already abandoned their cars help me 'slide' the car into a parking space and I then pull the handbrake as far as it will possibly go and contemplate the mile walk home.
Thankfully a guy in a flashy looking sports car offered me a life to the bottom of the hill which while under normal circumstances I would not accept, I did this time. The guys name was Lee and he lived in Kent; I doubt he found his way home that night.
After being dropped off I finally walked into my house at just after 1am – 9 ½ hours after leaving work and travelling a total of 14 miles.
Aside from dreading driving down that hill again (to the point where its keeping me up at night) we have all recovered. Chris got the car back the next day after the road had been gritted and our son acted like nothing had happened (as long as someone's feeding and dressing him, it seems he's happy) and I thank God that my son was snowed in as at least he was safe and warm. Plus I at least made it home whereas many people didn't.
Well done if you managed to read all of that! I HATE snow. Normal service will shortly be resumed. Here's a satellite picture of the UK I found amusing.
Posted by Jess