I am not Ray Mears

I was going to post this last night, but I plumped instead for going to bed at eight o’clock and sleeping like the dead.

It was the right choice.

I am feeling infinitely more sanguine about the event in question now than I was then, and I am awake enough to type.

Yesterday afternoon we were scheduled to have lots of snow, according to the weather men. It appears that they have gone back to their old, tricksy ways though, as we had none.

I was feeling rather chuffed about this as we drove over from school to pick Tilly up.  The roads were clear enough for me not to be driving like a total old lady and I could see everything.  It was almost like the old days.

I suspect my confidence was the pride before the fall.

Where I pick Tilly up there is a small side road. I usually come off of onto here, because the road she waits on is a very busy cut through, and the side road is easy for me to turn round in.

I have been avoiding it all week, because it is one of the roads that hasn’t been gritted and it has been super slithery.

Yesterday, as I got near to the junction, I couldn’t stop in the road because there was a huge delivery lorry right up my arse.  When I say right up my arse, I couldn’t even see his lights. All I could see was the front grille of the cab.  I had no choice but to turn into the side road, as if I carry on, I hit the junction with the main road and it is hell to get back round and I can’t stop on the main road either.

I turned.

The road was horrendous, and as Tilly got in, and I checked in my mirror to see if I could possibly reverse out, I saw that the lorry had also turned, and was still on my tail.

I had to go forward.

Where I usually execute a very ragged three point turn there were four cars parked, so I couldn’t get back to the road that way.

I had to go forward.

A left turn came up.

I took it in sheer desperation.  It led to a cul de sac where I envisaged myself turning smoothly in a circle and exiting as quickly as possible.

As it was, I got stuck.

The road was like glass. The snow had been polished down and polished down until it had turned to ice, and it was about an inch thick all over the road.

Worse still, the cul de sac had a pronounced camber, and as I came sweeping around I ended up getting stuck, and then sliding backwards into the curb.

The curb was very high, and I could not get enough purchase to reverse up and give myself the momentum to go forward.

The ice was very slippy, and I could not get the wheels to grip so that I could go forward.  They just kept spinning aimlessly, and polishing the ice even more.

After several attempts at moving away, including putting the car in a higher gear and keeping the revs low; praying; etc, I decided I should get out and look efficient.

I got out. I slithered round the car hoping that I might see something – a huge tree branch; a bucket of grit; Ray Mears; the face of Jesus.


I got back in the car and poked around for some kind of implements.  I came up with an ice scraper and a plastic spatula.

I took one, Tilly took the other, we feebly dug away at the ice under the front wheels of the car, to no avail.  Oscar and Tallulah put on the cd of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and wound all the windows down, in order to try and cheer us up.

It did not work.

We got back in the car when our hands had lost all feeling.  I tried all my tricks again.


I called Jason. He wasn’t answering (probably wisely). I called my mum.  She said my dad was out with the car, but if I was still stuck by the time he got back they would call me and find a way to help.

All this time the cul de sac was eerily quiet.

Some chap had come out of his bungalow with a child in tow, got in his car and driven off, not making eye contact, which I thought was a tad mean.

The lorry driver had stopped at the end of the road. I watched with a steely gaze as he got out, unloaded a huge fridge freezer onto some porters wheels, and then came down the cul de sac to deliver them. I felt suitable vengeance was mine when he came out with the old fridge freezer and had the devil’s own job pushing it back up the road to his lorry.

It felt like we had been stuck there for about a fortnight. My only consolation was that I had been to the supermarket earlier and there were chocolate biscuits in case we had to camp out.

Eventually an elderly man came out of one of the bungalows and offered to help me. I was rather worried, because he seemed frail, and I had visions of him breaking his hip on the ice, and it all being my fault, but he had a spade, and I needed help, so I did some more praying and he set to.

I did offer to wield the spade by the way, I am not that mean, but he refused to let me help and shooed me back into the car.

After three attempts, and the help of another elderly man from a different bungalow, who did a Dancing on Ice impression for the children which put the fear of God into me, we did actually manage to get me out of the cul de sac and on my way.

Next time Ocado offer me a collapsible spade on special offer before I pay for my grocery order I shall not scoff.

And when the ice melts I owe those two lovely gentlemen a cake at the very least.

14 responses to “I am not Ray Mears

  1. Thank goodness there are still some nice people left in the world. Cake would definitely be the way to go.

  2. Sorry if I seem mean, me dear, but I just love this post…, for it is a work of art in itself…face of Jesus and all…I’ve been there…done that, but could never have written so lyrically about it.

  3. I could so see the old boy doing the dancing on ice skit. I’m still giggling 🙂

  4. In my part of North America a big bag of grit and an ice cream container to dispense it is a de rigeur accessory for your car – a bag of kitty litter may be more easily sourced in Britain and does the same job – spread under the wheels it gives instant traction. I also keep a bag in my porch and trip gaily to the car spreading it on the ice before me like the bridesmaid at a Siberian wedding – roll on spring!

  5. That reminded me of the film ‘Duel’ about the man in the car being driven off the road by a huge intimidating lorry ! Glad it ended well thanks to the nice old men. Yes take them a thank you cake.

  6. Our road out was just the same on Friday, like wet glass on a hill. And I was a man who helped a damsel in distress because her little car was just spinning round feebly in an attempt to pull out. Glad it’s thawed out so quickly as I was getting a bit sick of it all.

  7. Following an unpleasant evening two years ago when I spent over an hour in a dark, deserted, cold station carpark, trying to extricate my car by wedging the boot-carpet under the rear wheels, I bunged a spade into the boot of the car when the snow started to come down.

    This did actually come in handy for chipping lumps out of the layer of ice on our road, so that I had some basic grip and could avoid sliding into every neighbour’s car as I passed. It took 15 minutes to go about 30 feet. I was beginning to fantasise that maybe the whole law about having a man with a red flag in front would have come in handy, as he could have chipped at the ice with his flag-pole.

  8. I am having cat litter and a spade for my next adventure. Nightmare.

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