Panic in a time of Snow. by Lil

Snow on the fells, 2014Isn’t snow beautiful?   I had no idea it had arrived till I flung back the curtains, except there was no flinging, just a sleepy twitch of the curtain, and there it was. What I like best is the narrow white line down tree trunks where the prevailing wind has blown.

But suddenly the world is different. Do  I have to reconsider my existence, just because of snow?  For instance,  it’s the over 50’s gym and there’s a winding hill down to the main road.   I’ve often driven on snow, I know the ropes, slow and sure and keep the revs going  Slow down hill, and faster up and don’t touch the brakes.  All the same, the hill is very hillish, north facing like the Eiger.   And I am trying to age gracefully. So perhaps slithering down the Eiger for the gym class is off.   But what is really bothering me is tomorrow, in this new world that snow creates.   I’m meant to leave at 6.30 in the morning to visit my partner, the picnic is ready, the partridge is cooked.   I always take a picnic of something he’ll never get in the residential home, this time it’s partridge, new potatoes and asparagus in a cider vinegar dressing, with half a bottle of red wine and raspberries and cream.   It irritates me that there are no facilities to reheat.   Not going to the over 50’s is one thing, but letting my partner down is quite another kettle of fish.   He rings twice a day, has looked forward to my visit for a month and has started salivating already.  However the train journey is long and involves changes and ends in a 15 mile drive, not many hills but very wriggly.   If the whole thing is to be done in snow……..This is where old age and the difference between panic and what is a sensible precaution becomes blurred.

My daughter has rung.   She slipped, slithered and taken nearly two hours do go seven miles last night. Other drivers were the problem, not the snow. Crumbs, if she can’t manage, then can I?  We agree, to hell with the over 50’s.  It’s an easy decision, but tomorrow is another matter and I haven’t bought the asparagus  or raspberries yet. Having a daughter is useful, she volunteers to drive me to Aldi.  I daren’t ask about raspberries and asparagus, somehow they don’t sound very Aldi’ish.   She has even offered to drive me to the train tomorrow morning so that I don’t have to do the North Face of the Eiger on my own.  I can’t ask my daughter to get up on a slithery, slippery, cold morning and drive her mother to visit her ‘retired’ lover in his care home. Well, can I?   The forecast is a hurricane winds but a tad warmer, the sky is innocent baby blue and not a cloud in sight. Oh what should I do. What is over reacting and what is sensible?  I can no longer tell. Is this normal is old age?

When in doubt I go to bed.   That’s my new maxim.   The sitting room demands a fire, if I go shopping the fire will go out, which will be a waste of a fire. Anyway I’ll have to go out and fill the log basket, brrr.  Going to bed is something I’ve got down to a fine art.   I make sure I’m fully clothed just in case someone comes to the door.  I usually keep my shoes on for the same reason.  I take the phone, my kindle, glasses and an apple and snuggle down for the day (out of apples, I hope this new shop of my daughters does Pink Lady apples).   My daughter will arrive about 12.30 and that gives me a good two hours to stop dithering, put my head under my pillow and Que sera sera as someone from my youth used to croon.  I hate this dithering of old age.

They did have Pink Lady and asparagus.   I was pleasantly surprised by Aldi.  Already muffled to the eye brows I was scooped up for a bowl of hot, don’t-ask-what-is-in-it, soup.   We slipped over mushy roads and I felt a fool at my earlier worries, tomorrow morning will be a doddle, I’m sure.   All the same, to use the Gordon Brown word, I must be prudent.

The snow is disappearing, the forecast is rain and high winds, I’ve got the food and wine.   Has it all been a storm in a tea cup?   Am I becoming a feeble old lady, frightened of my own shadow?   No, I hope not.  A degree of caution isn’t such a sin.   But would I have made a fuss a year or two back?   I don’t think so.   I was invincible, if somewhat muddled headed in my youth.   It’s not so much a question of slowing down as the realisation that I’m vulnerable in a way.   Well, bugger vulnerability, I’ll hit the road at 6.30 tomorrow morning and my toes can look forward to another slap and tickle (See earlier blog below

Care homes versus homes that care. Visiting her partner, Lil reflects on how much better it could be.

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