I think it was the weekend prior to Christmas in which I noted that we had a little snow here - 'nuisance snow' if you like - and then there followed almost a week of problems with ice. A block of really cold air had been resisting the ingress of warmer air from the south west and we experienced a number of days during the week of treacherous black ice, far far worse than we would normally get. At various times rain showers would occur with the wetness immediately freezing on contact with the sub-zero road surfaces, a lot of the precipitation occurring during the hours of darkness. The Highways people did a valiant job in salting and gritting the main roads but of course their actions were hampered by the rain washing the salt away at times.
There are many plus points living in this village but it suffers greatly under the rare weather conditions that we have just been enduring. Yes the main A390 road that bisects the village was OK to drive on most of the time but, live off this road as I do, and you are faced with a gradient of about 1 in 6 (uphill in my case) to get out to the main road. Walking up to this main road takes about 5 minutes I guess so no great distance then but when the streets leading off it are iced up it might just as well be on the moon! Things really came to a head on Christmas morning when the roads were undrivable as evidenced by a near neighbour with a modern Land Rover being quite unable to make the ascent. The cold relented a little later in the day and now things are more or less normal but it sounds as if another icy blast will welcome in 2010.
One of our younger residents in the Row did go out and try and scrounge grit where he could prior to the Christmas Day problems and there is plenty of evidence of self help in our area but we definitely need a grit bin very close by for times such as these. I know one or two of the Parish Councillors and will get on to them to chase Highways to make better provision for grit bins. We can't expect every road to be gritted by them but there are plenty of individuals nearby who will do their bit in getting the roads clear.