The Kindness Of A Stranger

Last night, I went to collect a Thai meal from the local restaurant in Beetley. A very short drive, and only a twelve minute walk in better weather.

But at 6:30 pm, it was raining hard, and still very icy on the pavements. So the short drive was preferred.

The food was being prepared fresh, so I had to wait for almost twenty minutes past the order time until it was ready. When I got back to the car, someone had parked very close to me. Reversing out was going to be tricky, but in the large empty car park, it seemed easy enough to just swing the wheel to the right, and execute a large ‘loop’ so I was facing the exit.

However, the snow on that part of the car park was deeper than it looked, and my car came to a sudden halt, the front drive wheels spinning. I remembered the drill in those situations, reverse a little way, and get a bit of a run against the snow in front. As I reversed, the rear wheels stuck fast. The person who had parked so close as to make this happen appeared with his meal in its bag. He jumped in his car, and drove off easily from the harder paved area where I had been originally.

I was now alone, stranded in the rear of large empty car park, with my car refusing to move either forward or back. I had some decisions to make.

Return to the restaurant, and try to get help from the staff. I already knew they were flat-out busy, and only one of them was a man stong enough to help. And he is the head chef.

Abandon the car, walk home in the rain, and return for it tomorrow, using something under the wheels to get a grip on the snow. The food would be stone cold by the time I walked home. Warmed up Thai food is not exactly appetising.

As I pondered my options, it started to rain harder. Freezing rain mixed with sleet, pinging against the car windows

Then a car drove in, and I made my play. Running across to the car as it parked on the hard surface area, I spoke to the driver, a burly man in his late thirties. I asked if he could help by pushing my car as I tried to drive it out of the snow. Or failing that, he could drive it, and I would push. (Though I doubted my strength to be able to do that, in all honesty) He said “Hang on”. I returned to my car to wait.

He took some time, and I wondered if he had changed his mind. But then I saw that he was putting on a heavy coat, to combat the sleet and cold. He came over, took a place at the back of the car, and I tried again. It still stuck, so he suggested going in reverse again. That didn’t work, and he shrugged. “Third try, then I will have to go and get my meal, okay?” I thanked him profusely, and gave the accelerator a push.

Out it came, onto the harder area. Reluctantly it seemed, but unable to resist his final determined push. I jumped out of the car, and unable to shake his hand, due to Covid social distancing restrictions, had to settle for a geniune and heartfelt thank you, that I am sure he knew was very real.

Thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger, we were able to eat dinner before it had time to get cold.

Ollie Treads Carefully

The snow we had earlier this week has not melted. It is still here, despite strong sunshine in the mornings, and the weatherman’s promise of a thaw.

Now the constant sub-zero temperatures have done their job, and it is frozen. This is a serious issue on pavements, and the well-trodden paths on the dog-walking route. There is solid ice on those, two to three inches deep, and difficult to walk on. Bad enough for me in my rubber-soled walking boots, but for Ollie it is incredibly hard for him to keep his footing on his small pads.

His legs splay apart, like Bambi in the Disney film, and he hesitates as he tries to find dry spots to place his feet into. Where it is really bad, he stands still and looks at me, only continuing when I walk away from him.

Over on Hoe Rough earlier, the snow had combined with the mud, freezing into what looks like a miniature mountain range. Walking on that presents new problems, as there is the danger of sinking deep into the areas that have not completely frozen. And the small solid ‘peaks’ are slippery enough to sprain an ankle, if you are not careful.

Ollie chose to avoid the paths completely, and walk in the deep snow instead. I was reluctant to follow him through that. It makes walking harder as I sink into the softer snow with every step, and it also conceals the deep pools that are full of water that could easily go over the top of my boots and soak the inside of them.

This all meant that our ninety-minute walk felt more like it had taken over three hours, especially in the bitingly cold wind that was blowing at me, seemingly from every angle.

We were both glad to get back home into the warm today.

The Wind, and Snow

I went outside to feed the birds this morning, and the bitingly cold wind made me catch my breath.

Back inside the house, I suddenly remembered this old nursery rhyme from my childhood. Or poem, if you prefer.

I wonder if any parents still sing this to their children in 2021?

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then, Poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the swallow do then, Poor thing?
Oh, do you not know
That he’s off long ago,
To a country where he will find spring, Poor thing!

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the dormouse do then, Poor thing?
Roll’d up like a ball
In his nest snug and small
He’ll sleep till warm weather comes in, Poor thing!

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the honey-bee do then, Poor thing?
In his hive he will stay
Till the cold is away
And then he’ll come out in the spring, Poor thing!

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the children do then, Poor things?
When lessons are done
They will skip, jump and run,
Until they have made themselves warm, Poor things!

The North Wind
by Anonymous

The wind here is not coming from the North though. It is coming from the East. Norfolk is flat, and has no natural or man-made obstacles to interrupt the force of the wind all the way from Russia. Maybe I ought to write a new version of that poem, changing North to East?

Video: More Heavy Snow, and Hoe Rough

Overnight last night, we had another very heavy fall of snow. This despite the BBC weatherman saying that “The East has seen the last of the snow for now”. It was bad enough for us to cancel the dog groomer appointment and reschedule for next week. No point risking a five-mile drive involving untreated roads, just to get a dog shampooed.

The morning was very sunny and bright, so I took the phone on Ollie’s walk, and headed over to Hoe Rough. Unfortunately, it was still so bright at the start of the walk, that I couldn’t see a thing on the screen, other than my own face reflected in it. So the results are rather hit and miss, but I will post them all anyway.

Ollie in some quite deep snow. Not many people had been over there, and in parts it was as deep as my boots.

A shorter clip of Ollie. He had heard something, so stopped to listen carefully.

At the time, I couldn’t see what was in the frame here, but I managed to get Ollie’s head in at the end. 🙂

Ollie ‘marking’ some snow. The pool of water is left over from the recent floods, and I walked in to show how deep it is.

Where Hoe Rough opens out, you can see the extent of the virgin snow to the south.
At this point the sun went in, and didn’t appear again.

The river bend from the Hoe side, looking across to Beetley Meadows.
Walking there was heavy going, as nobody had been down there before us, and the path was covered over.

Next to the gate of the path that leads up to Holt Road. I am calling Ollie a ‘good boy’ to make him wag his tail for you. 🙂
The pools of water you can see are left over from the recent flooding.

This is ‘The Dell’, where I like to sit and rest on very hot days.
What looks like a pond is in fact a deep pool of rainwater that has been there for months.

Looking north from the southern end of Hoe Rough.
Behind the wire fence is a large private woodland, part of the huge garden of a relatively small house in Hoe.

I hope you have all enjoyed my two days of snow videos. Hopefully, that will be the last of the snow this year!

Video Clips: A Very Snowy Dog Walk

When I took Ollie out today, I also took my phone, attached to the grip/holder I bought to try to keep it steady.

Ollie in the snow, avoiding the camera. And the deserted playground on Beetley Meadows.

Boots in the snow, and more views of the Meadows.

Riverside area, and boots in slush.

The River Whitewater, back to normal levels.

No picnics on these benches today, and Ollie refusing to move in shot.

My next door neighbour, and her lively dog, Henry.
Ollie was refusing to play, as usual.
(You can hear me asking him to)

In the woodland area, Ollie liked the smells.
It did look quite pretty in there, with no wind to disturb the snow.
Just after putting my phone away, I had a heavy fall, tripping on a tree root covered by the snow. I managed to bend back two fingers on my right hand, and they still hurt!

If I get the chance tomorrow, and the snow is still around, I will show you what it looks like over on Hoe Rough.

Waking Up To Snow

Late last night, it was still feeling very cold despite leaving the heating on until almost bedtime. I thought about the old and rather silly saying popular in England. “Too cold for snow”.

Sure enough, I woke up to see around three inches of snow settled on the back lawn, and needed no further prompting to go straight back to bed until 9:30.

The falling flakes have now turned to hard sleet. Driven by gusty winds, it is cracking against the windows, and beginning to melt the snow.

Other than taking Ollie for a walk later, I won’t be going anywhere today.

I wasn’t expecting that!

Thirty minutes ago, I went out into the kitchen to make a coffee, and was startled to discover that is is snowing heavily in Beetley.

Then Julie came back from a hospital appointment and told me that much of the neighbouring county of Suffolk has had heavy snowfalls, necessitating school closures in some areas.

Fortunately, the snow here is not settling on ground that is still too wet from yesterday’s rain. And that snow is set to depart the east of England by the time it is dark later.

But it gave me a shock. As most of you know, I don’t like snow!

A Favourite Photo

Obviously, this is not a dedicated photography blog. I follow many of those, and love to see the outstanding images that people create with their cameras, and sometimes enhance and improve using Photoshop, or Lightroom. I do like taking photos though, as regular readers will know, having seen the many photo posts I have published before. I spent some time last night looking back at every image I have posted here, those stored in my WordPress Media Library.

Many are of Ollie, some of historical sites, seaside locations, or records of trips to places around the UK. I thought long and hard about those I liked best, and surprised myself when I settled on this one. Only a ten-minute walk from the house, on Hoe Rough, a place I go almost every day of the year. The weather is perhaps my least favourite, snow, and the subject of sheep is far from interesting or original.

But I really like it.
(Please click on the photo to see it full-size)