We made the trip down to Sussex to catch up with my parents this weekend. We had nothing like the travel chaos that some people have been experiencing, but it was adventure enough for us.
We left early on Saturday in an effort to beat the heavy snow which was forecast, but it had already started around Gatwick and we drove through progressively worsening weather. In one scary moment, we felt the car skid as we slowed down passing the slip road onto the motorway and, for a moment, there was the awful possibility of collision. We decided enough was enough and to turn back at the next junction, but the snow lightened and we soon found ourselves in a much better situation and made it to grandma's just fine.
It snowed heavily while we were there but, despite much indecision, we headed out to grandpa's house mid-afternoon. However, the journey through the town was bad, with another very scary moment of the wheels spinning and the car moving only sideways at the top of a hill, and we realised that we were not going to get across any country roads to my dad's and continuing home seemed an equally bad idea as darkness was imminent and we had no idea of road conditions. We had no option but to abandon our journey. We wrapped up, transferred what we needed to a rucksack, bought the children some warming chips, and trudged back to grandma's for hot chocolate and a bed for the night.
We had to repeat the walk in the morning, this time with the Christmas presents loaded on our backs, including my little girl's new (fortunately small) sewing machine! The children were troopers and complained not one bit. My daughter was determined we should be entertained and led us in a game of naming things in alphabetical order (Jobs, including iguana feeder at the zoo; Objects, including a dinosaur; Animals, including a pink poodle. We decided that Numbers would have been a bit boring!)
Safely to the car, we motored for a long while on well gritted roads and were confident of a quick journey, until the travel news informed us of an overturned petrol tanker and a closed motorway. We took the pretty diversion through country villages, the one-lane roads struggling with four lanes' worth of traffic, grateful for a fresh story CD. On the interchange near our home we passed two abandoned cars in ditches. We got home, tired and tense, but safe and well, and aware how much worse some people's journeys had been.
I was proud of my children and how they put up with both a long walk and a boring journey. And I was reminded of how a trip I have made many times in these last few months is not necessarily straight-forward. And I was grateful to get home.
Weather allowing, we are heading north tomorrow, firstly to my husband's parents and then to the Yorkshire Dales for ten days of peace, rest and recuperation. I will be back in the New Year.
Have a Happy Christmas!