A whole week has gone by since I last wrote. Christmas is always a busy time of year and this year it seems worse than ever, although that is probably my imagination. To add to the chaos the weather has suddenly turned from wet and very mild to bone dry, snowy and ice cold, making the everyday tasks of shopping, getting to work and organising the Christmas round of relative visiting much more difficult!
We had the first snow of the year on Friday. There wasn't a great deal down here and by mid-day the roads were clear. However, the snow over the North Downs and Ashdown forest was much thicker and they lay between Ian's house and mine. Friday night for the first time in years I didn't go to Ian's and it felt very strange to be sitting in our separate houses at the start of the weekend. I packed up and left the following morning, not sure of what to expect. Ten miles out of Eastbourne the snow at the sides of the roads was thicker and although the main roads were clear the side roads were thick with ice. As I got further and further into the Ashdown Forest the snow and ice encroached onto the road more and more and by Crowborough my tyres were gliding over the icy tracks left from the previous nights attempt and clearing the road. This continued to Tunbridge Wells and that, and the number of people going Christmas shopping made it a slow and tortuous journey. I also had to stop twice to pee, which meant leaving the beaten track and driving over the ice covered service station forecourts! Driving required a lot of concentration, which was a shame as the snow and the Christmas lights made everywhere look like a fairy tale Christmas except that I couldn't really stop to look. Driving was also made more hazardous by the abandoned cars at the side of the road and drivers generally not used to driving in snow!
Coming back today the snow and ice was still bad across the North Downs but by the time I got back here a fine rain had washed away most of the snow and ice (although it is looking like it might return tonight).
Looks like the iced theme of this years Christmas cake is very appropriate!