Pausing briefly halfway up the ascent of the staircase I called out to my wife – ‘it’s getting lighter’. It was approximately 6:30am on Wednesday 8th March. Snow had been forecast, along with the concerned weather warnings that half an inch inevitably produces. I continued my journey on, and on to the summit, which was carpeted only in Brinton. Skilfully, I negotiated the landing pass – tricky with a two hands agrip of the breakfast tray, and reached the safety of the bedroom.
Snow, I recalled, didn’t seem to put a stop to much when I was a boy in the 1960’s. As a four year old trotting to school along Liverpool Road in Cadishead, and unencumbered by a parental hand, I noted that most of my friends and I had been dressed in warm coats and wellies by our mothers.
I finished my breakfast coffee. A kiss goodbye and – ‘see you tonight’ and ‘be careful on the roads’.
Coffee and Crumpets
A little while later I arrived at Stevie’s house. Coffee and two crumpets – crisply toasted – were presented and quickly consumed. The morning briefing involved talk of motorway routes to our call, a Brother PR680W delivery to Tidworth, in deepest Wiltshire.
Strangely, the car park at the M6 toll services was busier than usual, and so I had to squeeze the VW into a space where I normally rank up with space to spare. People legged about the place in long coats and the odd scarf. Some heading inside the services hall had that familiar knees together brisk walk. Some, coming out of the services hall, wore the look of contented relief.
I picked up a paper and the latest issue of Classic and Sports Car magazine, for Stevie. He enjoys reading articles about refurbished Aston Martins. No doubt he daydreams of twisting Alpine roads and encounters with irate redheads. Discipline 007…
Suddenly the snow began to rise and swirl. By the time we’d turned off and followed the signs for Hungerford it had begun to thicken. Google Maps decided we should take the scenic route. Country lane verges, rising and falling over wide white spreads of rural landscapes, were deep in snow deep snow. The reach of it began to creep toward the middle. It was pure luck that we avoided an oncoming motor. Otherwise we’d have found ourselves tyre deep in the drift – slip sliding away.
Hungerford is a pretty market town. The falling snow adding an extra blur to the lens to make the pretty more pretty. We climbed slow up the hill to a small roadworks halfway up, and stopped at the red light. The workmen had stayed in bed leaving their warm coats and wellies hung and empty. The red changed to green and Steve and I ploughed on.
On reaching our destination, we were met by Stan. A delightful chap with a very smart operation. A warm smile and a quick offer of tea or coffee cemented his rank in our hearts. We don’t ask for much – Stevie and I. Just a little thoughtfulness – spot of kindness. Ain’t too much to ask, I ask you.
Two coffees appeared in double quick time. No need to deliver a lesson on the new PR680W to Stan. An old hand. We chatted and laughed and drank Stans two coffees. Then we said our goodbyes and turned the ship for home. We liked Stan.