After a wet weekend we were all fooled into thinking the thaw had come and climbed optimistically into our cars on Monday morning. Then the snow came back.
I had only a short journey to make from my home to my office, but arrived in tears. The sudden drop in temperature combined with the furious snowstorm to make the roads an ice rink with a lovely slippery coating of fresh snow on top. After a seriously near miss with a car full of kids, I pulled over to call my husband for advice. Should I go back, carry on or park and walk? That’s when I realised my options, as a 6 months-pregnant woman, were limited. Walking any distance in the cold, with a very high risk of falling, was clearly stupid. But so was dodgem-driving. People seemed to have lost all common sense. One guy in a wildly wheelspinning Mini insisting on inching up past a broken-down lorry to get to the roundabout, with the result that he got stuck in the only passable lane. Then, when the lorry driver pushed him out of the way, the rest of us struggled because we’d lost any momentum to get us up the hill.
Eventually, many skids and slides later, I arrived at my office. Despite my ordeal it pained me to email and reschedule all my meetings. It made me feel like a quitter. I didn’t want to say “I’m pregnant and I don’t want to risk falling” – it sounded pathetic somehow. I didn’t like knowing that I wouldn’t be able to help push a stuck car, or go out and rescue relatives who were stranded around the city. I wanted to go outside with my camera and my Flip to get footage for my video blog, but I knew it was too dangerous. I knew this because the M8 – the busiest motorway in Scotland – was a carpark. The whole of central Scotland was gridlocked because of the snow. It had taken everyone by surprise at rush hour, which meant ploughs and gritters couldn’t get through. I was glued to the news channels, incredulous at the stories of people stuck in their cars for seven and eight and nine hours. My husband phoned to say one of his staff had broken down on the motorway, waited 5 hours for rescue and ended up in hospital with mild hypothermia. I worried that people would be stuck on these impassable roads overnight – and sure enough, the next morning, the news was full of stories of snow ploughs’ blades snapping in the minus 13 degree conditions, and tales of motorists spending the night in their cars.
So while I may be feeling sorry for myself for feeling weak and helpless – I am a very lucky girl indeed. I’ll certainly not be taking any risks that might lead to my need for rescue!