Saturday, January 19, 2013

Snow Fever!

I met my OH in 1982, during the worst English winter in two decades. After that interlude, we rarely saw snow. Then we moved right out into the middle of the English countryside. It was a bit of a worry that the last mile from our house to the nearest decent road was like an Escher staircase, but as the media told us cold winters were a thing of the past, we took the risk.

Until a couple of years ago, our gamble paid off. Then in 2010 we were snowed in several times, if only for a couple of days. Last winter, it began snowing just before Christmas, and we were cut off from the main road for nearly two weeks.

The guy delivering our turkey couldn't get within a mile of us, so the bird had to be towed the rest of the way to our house by sledge.  Being snowed in was such a novelty, we didn't succumb to cabin fever. Clearing paths, digging out to the road and feeding the birds filled a lot of our time. Luckily, we only lost the electricity supply for the first twelve hours, so the freezer contents weren't damaged. After the power was restored we had TV and internet access to keep us amused.
Photo by Andrew Smith

The unpredictability of English weather means it isn't cost-effective for the-powers-that-be to invest in snow-clearing equipment which might only be used once in ten years, so everything grinds to a halt here at the first hint of the white stuff. People living in the country keep  holiday in hand in case they can't get to work, or arrange to work from home (like my OH). In this area we all keep emergency supplies. Some, like us, can get snowed in, while those at the bottom end of the village suffer from flooding. With so much rain, the river has been running ten feet higher than normal - see the submerged trees in the top photo!  Torch and radio batteries, tinned food (pet and human), powdered milk and toiletries need to be on hand here in winter. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best is the motto. 

I always make sure there are a few treats squirrelled away in our emergency box, along with the bare necessities. Bars of chocolate and a new book or two fill any spare time nicely.
What little treats would you hide away with your emergency supplies? There's a signed book from my backlist for a comment picked at random.

Christina Hollis has written both Historical fiction and Modern Romance/Presents for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, as well non-fiction for national magazines and prize-winning short stories. Her current release, Lady Rascal is available for download from  AmazoniTunes  and many other retailers, while her next book,  Changing Fortunes, will be published in the summer. She loves to hear from readers - you can contact her through her website or her blog.


host said...

Books and chocholates are at the top of my list :)

Eli Yanti said...

Books n blanket :)

Stefanie said...

I would prefer to be snowed in and to suffer flooding.
I would have to have some books in my emergency supply and some chocolate, or chips or other unhealthy food. :p

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks for commenting, Host. It seems like we're all agreed. Home comforts have to include books and chocolate!

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks for commenting, Eli - I definitely agree with the addition of a blanket, as the snow is now six inches deep here and we won't be going anywhere until we've cleared our lane. There's no point until the snow stops, so at the moment we're sitting tight with chocolate, books, blankets and the fruit cake I've just made!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi, Stefanie, thanks for commenting. I agree - at least snow stays outside, unlike floodwater. After the recent flooding here one of the little local businesses is unlikely to open again until well into the summer, if at all. The shop was entirely wrecked, and their insurance company is being very slow in settling the claim. It's very sad.

Kaelee said...

I live in a city that gets lots of snow so it's a very rare day that I can't get out and about. I think it's always good to have books, chocolate, blankets and flashlights on hand. I think bottled water is great to have around also.

Give me too much snow over floods, fires, earthquakes, or hurricane type winds.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

We're always stocked for an emergency... the worst are the power outages.. We were smart enough to have gas water heaters & stove. I always have the basics.. but the one thing for us a a couple bottles of a nice wine..

Barbara E. said...

I would definitely have plenty of batteries so I'd be able to power light to read by and some type of chocolate or other goodies would be welcome treats.

Jeanne M said...

Hi Christina -

We live in Rhode Island which may be the smallest state in the USA and if you drive more than 40 miles you've left the state but since it's in New England we get lots of snow!

One of the problems is that since in live in a small community we always are the last to not only get our snow plowed but also the last to get our power restored.

We learned the first winter we lived here to always be prepared but fortunately not only my husband but also our two sons were Boy Scouts so we have a propane camping stove and plenty of supplies on hand including water at hand. One of the most important things I learned was to put huge amounts of water into large containers and freeze in our freezer for washing dishes as well as drinking and being able to flush toilets!

Our favorite treats to have on hand are Rice Krispie treats! Not only are they sweet treat but when my sons were younger and still at home we would "toast" them in the fireplace instead of roasting marshmellows while my husband and I drank a hot cup of coffee and the boys would have hot chocolate we would all sit back and enjoy while reading a great book!

erin said...

thanks for the fun post! I also live in an area that normally gets quite a bit of snow. So, no snow days for us unless it's over 6 inches :) But... I always make sure to restock the pantry and toiletries and that the batteries are all new. And if we do get to enjoy a snow day, it's a prime reading time!

Leni said...

The storms have knocked power out a few times and I make sure there are batteries and different types of flashlights. Along with food that doesn't have to be cooked. I make sure all of the basics are available.

Pat Cochran said...

Books and chocolates always top the list
for emergency rations! Chocolates would
not have been a super choice in our last
major emergency when we were thirteen
13!) days without power. It was during
Hurricane Ike's summer visit to Houston
several years ago, so since then I add
some peppermints to the list. They don't
melt, just get a little sticky! LOL!

Jo's Daughter said...

Thankfully I have never had the need for an emergency box. But I do keep emergency food in my pantry for when the roads are icy and it's tricky to get to the store unharmed. I keep extra flour to bake bread and also dried cereal if I do not feel like baking bread. A lot of canned vegetables, less delightful than fresh ones but... Some homemade jams and indeed chocolate.

Mary Preston said...

Books & chocolate are a given, along with all the other essentials. Tea & coffee need to be included. Water & matches to make the aforementioned drinks of course.

Christina Hollis said...

Wow, thank you for all your wonderful posts! I'm sorry I haven't managed to answer them all individually as they came in. As luck would have it, the snow arrived with a vengeance and we've been marooned - broadband is always the first thing to go and the last thing to be restored. The snow ploughs and gritters managed to get within 800 yards of us this year. We live at the end of the lane, with only two properties beyond us, and both contain elderly singletons. I've just got back in from helping to clear the rest of the way. A cheer when up when those digging out from the hamlet met with those digging in from the main road!
The minute I've warmed up and made lunch, I'll draw the winner of my spot prize. Thanks again to everyone who's commented: it's been lovely to hear from you!

Michelle said...

For us its jars of olives and other pickled things, packages of salami and some old crusty french bread stuck in the freezer with a hunk of sharp cheddar. Since the bread can be toasted over fire, this lets us have a proper picnic in the living room. Also goes well with a bottle of wine you stick in the snow to chill...:)

Renee said...

It is the same here in Georgia (US). At the first mention of the s word, the entire population makes runs on the stores for milk and bread. I had not thought of chocolate, but that is a good idea. I think I will start my emergency kit with one of your books and some chocolate and some tea. What better way to spend a few days alone!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for commenting. Toast in front of the fire - that's a really wintry treat. Makes me want to rustle up some crumpets (or pikelets, or muffins or other butter-drenched treats!)

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks for commenting, Renee. At times in the past we've had mad panic buying of sugar and toilet rolls here in the UK - as you say, one word and the world goes panic-buying. The trouble is it's so hard to resist. I think it must be a primitive urge to help us survive!

Christina Hollis said...

Hello again everyone, I've just this minute picked my spot prize winner, and it's Michelle. Congratulations, Michelle - if you'd like to contact me at with your snail mail address, I'll get your prize into the post asap.

Thank you so much to everyone who has commented - it's really warmed me up at this time of power-cuts and snowdrifts!