We have just returned from spending a lovely Christmas with Anna. It takes a lot of planning when you’re are working long days as I remember but she had thought of everything. We were able to relax, eat well and enjoy the warmth inside whilst looking at the snow outside.
With all the snow and traffic chaos in the week before Christmas we had to plan carefully including survival rations, shovel and blankets if the weather turned really bad after we had started our journey. We never contemplated not starting! Having the Jeep does give you more confidence but it is possible to get stuck in lines of traffic or find the way blocked by a jack-knifed lorry so we were relieved that on the Thursday when we set out, there had been no further snow storms. Raymond had several attempts at packing the Jeep as we had several items for Anna to bring, plus presents and our bags.
On the South Coast the snow had completely disappeared but by the time we were near Winchester, just 12 miles away, the fields were completely covered in snow. We have protection from the Isle of Wight and the geographical advantages of being in the lower part of the Hampshire Basin and close to the sea. When we reached the Ridgeway, we found the trees also still with white branches, not dredged in snow as when it first falls, but enough to give the trees a black and white architectural quality. As we drove further north and into Wales the snow which remained was quite deep.
On Boxing Day Dave arrived and Ray and I made the relatively short journey to Llangollen. It really was a lovely drive and on arrival in the town, we went to the Royal Hotel overlooking the River Dee and had coffee and toast. The views were absolutely incredible and the town is full of character. Later in the day we all played on the Wii which was good fun.
We set out on our return journey with plenty of food packed by Anna. We had brought her rabbit, Starsky, with us and he was placed carefully in the back with his food and water. He proved to be a good traveller. Rather than driving down the A5 which was the way we had come, we decided to go via Nantwich and take the M6. The drive through part of Cheshire was very pretty but the M42 and M40 were very congested and this really added to our journey time. The weather was varied with driving snow in North Wales, then sleet and rain. Once we were south of Oxford, the traffic eased and the drive through Hampshire was relatively easy.I had packed the pills I normally take on a daily basis, plus all the others I might need if I became ill. Taking all these precautions may sound very cautious but it is like an insurance policy, the just in case factor. I couldn’t help a little melancholy creeping into my mind on our journey home and although I try to banish it, I think it is inevitable.