|Fresh snow outside the back door: yesterday morning's view|
|The back gate: heading under|
|Icicles not benefiting the guttering|
|Picturesque, though: you've got to give it that|
|Poor prospects for deliveries|
|Beneath this is a completely plain post|
|Sheds, snow: what more can I tell you?|
|Trees in my small paddock|
|Next door's henhouse: egg yields plummeting|
|A fine view of the hills|
|Increasingly hard to tell where hills end and clouds begin|
|The Boy enjoys his Great Aunt's birthday lunch|
Then we set off on the last stage of our journey and promptly ran into a serious blizzard in Lancashire. In what seemed like no time at all the motorway was reduced to a single lane, in which around 95% of the traffic was crawling along at a maximum of 20mph. What concerned me was the other 5%, chiefly comprising heavy good vehicles and BMWs, obviously, ploughing past in the snow-covered outer lanes at 60 or more, and waiting for one of them to lose control and slide into us. One or two drove perilously close to us, asserting their interpretation of where the lane markings ought to be, though I was pretty confident that my own take was correct given that I could regularly hear the distinctive rumble of the edge of the hard shoulder from my nearside wheels. Still, even the knowledge that I was in the right would have been of small consolation as we were waiting in a heap by the side of the road for the ambulance and the recovery truck.
The snow came to a merciful stop pretty much as suddenly as it had started, and I had not long taken us back up to what the railways would call “line speed” when all the interior lights came on and a rushing noise alerted us to the fact that one of the rear doors was open. I had never bothered to learn how to activate the child locks because The Boy was closely strapped into his state-of-the-art super-safe car seat and could not possibly reach the handles. Only now the junior Houdini has apparently discovered how to extricate himself from the straps and explore the possibilities. Luckily he was still in the car by the time I had made an emergency stop on the hard shoulder for the first and, I sincerely hope, the last time in my 39-year driving career.
After that we drove home with a keen sense of what might have been. It took us around six hours, compared with the three and a half forecast by the sat nav when we left Morpeth, but we got back to our Cheshire home feeling profoundly grateful that we had enjoyed a lucky escape in more senses than one.