Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snowdrift stops car. Farmers help MP!

Got stuck in drifts twice last night. It was not a pretty sight. I was stuck on a slippery hill, with the snow drifting, and contemplating a long walk of 3 miles, and an abandoned car, to where I was stopping on the Military Road. I got out to survey the scene - which featured a tasty blizzard from the east, and a single house in the distance.
After a while a 4 wheel landrover drove up.
This being Northumberland the driver of the landrover stopped and immediately jumped out to help, even though it later transpired he was in a bit of a hurry.
Then the farmer in the nearby house came out into the snow, surveyed the scene, and got out his tractor, and started to clear the road and try and put some salt on the hill. All of us by now were pretty wet, cold and these two wonderful men had dry warm houses to go to.
Then my host turned up, and from the nearby house two girls from Shafto Young Farmers came out and surveyed the scene. With no towbar on the front of my car [not my fault I hasten to add] only one option remained: a very big shove. So 3 men and 2 girls pushed a car, driven by allegedly the lightest man, up a long big slope, all of us slipping on the icy road. There was a lot of grunting ... and a serious realisation that we may not be as fit as we thought we were. But after several minutes sustained pushing the top was made, my saviours were able to go back to their dry homes. The whole process took at least 30 minutes in constant snow and a stiff wind. For my part, pretty soon I was tucked up in a warm farmhouse at Moss Kennels, being served a large medicinal whisky.

Reasons to be Cheerful:
- not a day goes past when I do not thank my lucky stars that the good people of Hexham and West Northumberland chose me as their MP. There is a generosity of spirit in this place that is both uplifting and humbling. People help each other.
- I was a bit mad to do a surgery call at 6 pm in an outlying area on a night featuring a drifting whiteout. The cynic would say I was getting the Good Lords comeuppance for venturing out on such a night in a normal vehicle without snowtyres, but I was keen to help.
- I accept that this story will be repeated back to me in many a local pub, many times!, for a long time to come....and that I owe 5 very kind people a large drink.

Lessons learnt: do not venture out unless you have the right vehicle. Its forecast for -4 overnight so watch out for ice in the morning.