Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Moving Day

I didn't get to blog yesterday because I ended up with a rather long driving day so will have to play catch up. That will have to wait until tomorrow as today got messed about as well.

I seem to be one of those people to whom things happen, nothing goes quite to plan. I have learned over the years to take things as they come and adapt as well as possible.

My son is moving house and has a lot of stuff he wanted to get back to their owners - a couple of sofas back to my daughter, a PA system back to my son-in-law among other things. Sounds straight forward. Not exactly ...... My son doesn't drive. He lives in Mid Wales, my daughter lives at the northernmost tip of Wales and my other daughter lives with her husband in North Staffordshire.

I got roped into driving a van from where I live in South East Staffordshire, to Mid Wales on to North Wales round to North Staffordshire and finally back home. It's just over 300 miles altogether with loading and unloading on top.

The day dawned. Four inches of snow and still snowing. Underneath that the melted and refrozen remains of the previous three days snow. To many places around the world, this does not sound like very much, but our infrastructure just isn't designed to deal with it - no snow tyres, snow chains, decent snowploughs etc. The temperature creeps above zero each day, the snow starts to melt but then refreezes overnight to give a skid-pan of ice beneath the new layers of snow.

The van hire place is about a mile away so I walk rather than chance taking the car and leaving it there. On arrival I filled in all the necessary forms and went out with the assistant to the van. This was where the problems started. On inspecting it there was a flat tyre. Oh, says the assistant," I'll just put some air in that, we had to let the tyres down to get it out of the snow". The tyre had other ideas and stubbornly refused to inflate.

Back to the office to fill in another set of forms for a second van. Meanwhile a couple of guys had to dig it out of the snowdrift! I eventually got going an hour after I had arrived. Fortunately, the van had a good amount of fuel in and I could set off for Wales without delay. The journey was a little bit hairy with some smaller cars struggling for grip and not stopping where they should. As I progressed towards Wales the snow eased and I arrived at my son's house by noon.

I had promised to call my partner when I arrived to let him know I was safe, so took my phone out only for it to squirt right out of my hand. It shot between the seats, bounced off the cabin back and shot under the seat. This sounds easy enough till you realise there is no access to under the seat from the front. There is very little access to under the seat from behind either. I wondered what else may be in the land of under the seat. An hour later and the phone was finally retrieved, fortunately nothing else seemed to have kept it company.

Now, however the van was loaded and we could head for Anglesey. I decided the mountain and coast road was possibly not the wisest choice so opted for heading to Chester and taking the route across the A55. A longer distance but less likely to have problems. It worked and half way along the route, the snow disappeared. It looked like this leg would go to plan.

In fact, apart from losing a little more time it all went smoothly and we set off on the last leg delivering the PA. We drove back towards England and back into the snow. Now of course, it was evening and dark. The roads were clearer, however, until we arrived at my daughter's house. The small cluster of houses had not benefited from any attempt at snow clearance. The arrangement of the houses is such that the roads double as parking with only just enough room to get a car through, no turning space here, and the house at the end of the cul de sac. I had to get close as carrying a PA any distance was not going to be practical. I decided to leave worrying about how to get out again till later.

The PA went in the garage and my son and I went inside for a cuppa. I set off for home leaving my son behind to make his way back to Wales next day on the train. Just the small matter of reversing a long wheel based van out of a space giving only about 6" of room each side.... in the snow....on ice. I must be crazy!
After some expert guidance from my daughter I made it safely to the main road and arrived home 13 hours after I left.

I picked up the message on my phone. Nooooo ........ my son had left his wallet and various bits in the van.
Hence today's plans had to be revised. But that's another day......

Do you go with the flow when your plans don't work out or is it really stressful?

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