The Frozen North

As I am writing my blog, I keep noticing little snow flurries through the window. It is absolutely freezing and I can hardly move with the many layers of clothing I am wearing,

I don’t like snow, it is very pretty to look at when it first arrives, but the chaos it brings with it is no fun.

I have been fortunate enough until recently, (although I have the best of both worlds where I am now) to live in the countryside.

When I was at primary school I can remember most winters when we weren’t able to go to school because the teachers couldn’t get there.

Secondary school turned the tables, and it was me who couldn’t get the five miles into our nearest town for school. It was rather tricky sometimes as Chesterfield is in a fairly sheltered valley, whereas I lived almost a thousand feet above sea level and I wasn’t always believed!

You would think I would look forward to a snow day, but we had animals, albeit horses and chickens mainly, and my father and mother had a fruit and vegetable business on Chesterfield Market. If they didn’t stand the market there was no money coming into the house, it was as simple as that, so it was all hands on deck digging pathways down the road for my Parents to be able to drive to the wholesale market and then on to the stall.

Glutton for punishment or what? My second marriage 24 years ago saw me living at an even higher altitude, up a long lane, with winds blowing off open moorland.

My husband had a snowplough for his tractor, as the milk tanker had to get up the lane to collect the days offerings. Although he made sure the road was clear for the tanker, the rest of the yard and lane was not bothered with.

Seven years ago, in a particularly bad blizzard I slipped and broke my leg.

The main road wasn’t open so a trip to the hospital was out of the question. A few days later and having gone through all the painkillers, we managed to get to the local cottage hospital.

A shortage of staff meant that they weren’t able to give me an x-ray and they were fairly certain that it was just bruised, so they gave me some painkillers and a pair of crutches. These were duly christened ‘Old Granny Sticks’ by my four year old Granddaughter and I was told to return them the following week.

Whilst still in pain I coerced my husband into taking me back to the hospital the following week. This time a very efficient nurse insisted on an X-ray.

Oh my goodness, there was such a panic. I was told to lay down, not put any weight on my leg, and duly got taken to another room, where they built a strong plaster cast round my left leg. Funnily enough I was allowed to keep the crutches for a little while longer.

Have you ever tried to get into a Land rover with one very stiff leg? Well let me tell you it is nigh on impossible. I had to lie across the back seat and had no chance of putting a seat belt on.

With all hands on deck outside on the farm, having to feed and water animals, bearing in mind all the water pipes were frozen, and only a four year old to keep me company I soon got fed up of having a cumbersome cast on my leg.

“I know you aren’t supposed to touch it” I said to Harriett “but please could you fetch grandma her sewing box”.

I found my dress making scissors, cried a little about blunting them and cut off the offending cast. I had managed for almost a fortnight without one, I could manage now.

Three weeks later I sheepishly walked into the orthopedic surgeons consulting room with said cast under one arm.

He shook his head, laughing and said ‘You farmers are made of different stuff to the rest of us, if everyone was like you I would be out of business.’

However, these days I am fearful of snow and Ice, because I really would not want to repeat the experience.

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