Sheep! Move your bloody arses or I'll swat you with a BA blanket and flick cold coffee on your wool. Oh yes, I'm prepared for all eventualities.
Several worried texts, a couple of calls and an email had me leaving the office yesterday two hours early to pick up Rose from netball, as apparently it was going to snow. A man down the hall insisted on escorting me to my car through a couple of pathetic flakes and hanging about like a bad smell to make sure it started. My eyeballs couldn't have rolled back further in my head as he approved the blanket lightfingered Rose liberated from British Airways a few weeks ago, that was crumpled on the floor of my Jeep. I sniggered 'half a Starbucks left from this morning, might come in handy too.'
It took me an hour and a half to make the 25-minute journey to netball practice. The snow was coming down pretty fast and furious by this point and the traffic was averaging ten miles per hour. The netball coach was standing outside with a roll-up in his mouth, watching the girls belt about in shorts through what was by now very thick snowfall. I grabbed Rose and her chum Leona and popped them in the car to drop Leona at home.
Leona's mum Natasha is an artist who also makes tiny celebrity pixie shoes, and yes, it is as surreal as it sounds. She said, 'you'll never get home in this, stay here. The radio says it'll get worse. I'll light a fire and make hot chocolate. It'll be like in a film.' Pffft. How I snorted. Rose, disappointed at no emergency sleepover, slumped in the front seat. Off we set.
Two hours and a fruitless, frozen and frighteningly skiddy half a mile later, we were back. Natasha was black-faced and red-eyed. 'I've set the house on fire,' she said. And she had. In the slowly dispersing smoke, a man was pouring water on the rug and brandy into a glass. 'You'd better have one too,' he said and crept carefully off into the white night. 'It's like being in a film,' said the faerie cobbler several times as we ate dinner, watched the girls build a snowman, chatted to a random bloke from New York who was passing the gate, listened to the snow cracking her ancient iron drainpipes, sat on the Aga to warm our frozen arses, popped a bottle of Champagne and made Jerry Hall's miniature cowboy boots dance on our fingers across the floor of her studio.
We finally made it home this afternoon at 2pm. We gave two hitchhikers a ride. They had both abandoned their cars. I positively oozed Dunkirk spirit. Rose had the blanket on her knees and I considered splitting the cold latte with the strangers. The 12 mile journey was littered with abandoned cars and a Morrison's lorry had jacknifed across the big roundabout and sat empty. Tree branches had fallen, and we listened to the local radio station taking calls from pretty much the entire county who had also been taken in by strangers. There were a couple of hairy brake-lock moments, but we made it. There has never been snow like it in these parts. The Colonel was waiting with two bum-shaped rubber sledge things we bought in Denmark on the offchance, and he, the bots and I have spent the afternoon whizzing down a hill and filling each other's collars with handfuls of snow.
Really, it's been just like a film.