Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snow, family history and a mystery..!


Friday 6 February 2015

Snow -2

The lightest, featheriest snow was breathlessly falling on the courtyard and buildings when we awoke and the dog was thrilled and went out and tossed it up into the air with his nose and bit chunks of it.  Lung contractingly cold.

Came back in and put on many layers.  I don't know how I ever survived where we lived in the UK, where it could easily snow a metre in a day, and fill up the narrow lanes around our house.  I went out and looked at the light frosting and thought, how hard can it be to get up the hill and into town.  Ignoring OH's mutterings that I would struggle, I headed out and pointed the car at the hill and applied the gas.

To go up an icy hill, you need momentum but our hill is bendy.  Fortunately no one was coming in the opposite direction, and apart from the car losing traction, twice, I shot out at the top of the hill with the car in the same shape as when it had left the house.  Told the car it was a very good car.  Drove carefully to friend's house where I showed her how to overcome her computer problems and enjoyed her central heating.

In the UK we lived at the top of a long hill which regularly received lots of rain and snow. The rain would freeze and turn to ice and then the snow would lie on top and compact. Driving the kids to school was a real test of nerve.  We slid forwards and backwards.  We slid sideways, with the kids shouting 'dont slide in the ditch, mummy!' in panicked tones. Sometimes it didn't snow first thing, and I would take the kids to school and then mid morning it would come down in metres and I would have to ring the snow plough to come out and grit.   On snowy mornings, after having defrosted the car door with boiling water and set the engine to turn over, we would edge onto the road and look down the hill.  Our neighbour, D, used to head out without worry but he was a maniac and had a very old car full of chickens or whippets, or both.  

I would pack the kids in the car with cushions and bags and slide down the exit from the courtyard onto the road.  Second gear.  Engine roaring like a tractor.  The Suzuki would slide even in 4 x 4 mode.  I would try and keep some of the grass which grew on the side of the road, under the wheels in case of a complete failure of traction.  The problem was that the grass was on the side of the ditch.  I think we all must have held our breath, which would be busy steaming up the windscreen, until we arrived at the bottom.  OH bought me a Landrover, eventually, which was wonderful in the snow but a complete pig to drive for the rest of the year.  It was always in the garage.  I don't know how people ever manage to get them to Africa.  I had trouble getting mine to Mablethorpe.

Back home to tackle ironing mountain.  Out later to see hotel restaurant in nearby town.  Not inspiring.  Home and watched recording of the Woman in Black with Kieran Hinds and Daniel Radcliffe.  Absolutely terrifying.

Started looking into family histories by registering on website which gives access to births, deaths and marriages register.  Found OH's family which obligingly had unusual names and had always been in the same town.  Mine were a nightmare.  Eventually found my grandmother and discovered that her maiden name was not what my mother had told me. Also had trouble finding any of my mothers family under her maiden name.  Only the eldest sister.   A mystery.  Lay awake in the dark, raking my memories to see what came up..