Thursday, January 08, 2009

A chilly and snowy trip down memory lane

The cold weather we have been having recently started me thinking about previous cold spells. One memory that I am particularly fond of was from the cold snap of February 1991.

It was a Thursday and because it was a Thursday it was almost Friday and I had that demob happy feeling about me, the weekend was just around the corner,two days when I could breathe free from the shackles of work. Heading towards the car park one of the senior managers hailed me. “Well I hope you've stocked up well with tins and candles” My quizzical expression forced him to elaborate. “Don't you listen to the forecast. Its going to snow heavily tonight, I doubt you will make it into work tomorrow!” I hadn't listened to it and so heeding his advice stopped off at the supermarket and stocked up. A bottle of scotch a couple of bottles of wine, and some bread and cheese, I seem to recall.

It did snow. Very heavily and Buxton was duly cut off for a few hours, and I could not make it to work on the Friday,but the power remained on at all times and we even enjoyed a lovely walk in deep crisp snow on the Saturday morning. By Sunday afternoon it was thawing a little and a concerted effort from all the folks in the close cleared the drifts from the entrance so that we could all get to work on Monday.

So it was in a light hearted and happy mood that I set off for work, taking in the spectacular drifts on the A515 as I did so.

I had been at my desk for no more that fifteen minutes when the same senior manager who had kindly given me the weather warning on the Friday sought me out.

He looked tired and grey.

“Difficult weekend?” I said.

“Well what do you bloody think” he said “ No power for two days, nothing hot to eat and no tele. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that however bad it was down here then you up in Buxton would be suffering even more.”

“What do you mean suffer?” I said.

“The snow and the power cuts. You idiot”

“Oh. Well we had plenty of snow. In fact we had to dig the drive out, but we had power all the time.”

He went a greyer shade of grey. “You can't have done. We had no power in bloody Derby for Christ sake and we live in a civilized part of the country, up in the sticks you must have had cuts?”

“No. None, warm and snug all weekend”

He advanced towards me. “Its to do with the temperature you see," I explained "because it was slightly above freezing in Drby the snow would have stuck to the power lines and the weight brought them down, whereas up in the hills it was below freezing so it didn't stick....my voice trailed off.” He had gone trying to remove the door from its hinges as he swept out.

Happy memories.

5 comments:

Brother Tobias said...

Ah, the joys of schadenfreude! There's nothing like a powerless manager.

Kim Ayres said...

I miss a decent covering of snow. Although the subsequent slush is noever so much fun

Richard said...

I have a memory of that February winter as well - I was about half an hour late in for work one morning having seen Eric Clapton the evening before at the Albert Hall. It was freezing and I stopped off at the kiosk in Charing Cross to get a packet of fags. Had I not done so I would have been directly in front of the white van that launched the mortars from Whitehall Place into No 10's garden. I was about 50 yards away and saw the lot. I was standing next to the cameraman who took the news footage and where he'd come from, I really don't know.

Reg Pither said...

I didn't know Derby had electricity in the first place!

The Birdwatcher said...

Richard - Amazing what fate throws at us.

Reg - good to hear from you again. It is surprising isn't it. Possibly the ugliest city in the country.