Yep, just in case you thought Cumbria was getting record levels of sunshine, we caught a collection of cloud and low pressure resulting in humidity, wind, and torrential showers.
Look to the top of the page and you will see an image of the beautiful Lune Valley, the M6 motorway peeling away from the side of Grayrigg Hause, and on the left side of the picture, some of the Howgills, fells that Albert Wainwright called the Elephant Hills (they look like elephants lying down).
You can see snow on the rear fells, but the farmland in the foreground is quite green, so I suspect that I took the image in springtime last year. Might have been the year before. Maybe as late as May. High up in the hills we had snow until June both last year and the one before. You can also make out the railway, the main line from London to Scotland, wending its way alongside the road. The railway was there first.
It’s a sunny day, quite bright … the afternoon, not the morning. (I drive into the picture almost every morning, along the motorway on the lefthand carriageway, and I assure you, on bright mornings the sun shines dangerously into my eyes). You can see the shadow of Grayrigg Hause falling over the motor and rail ways, which means we are looking vaguely East (probably more sou’easterly).
Now imagine it under cloud. Or rain lashing the ground, the motorway filling up with patchy but expanisve puddles and a relentless, gusty wind. (Still sky-to-ground cloud). Yesterday it was the latter. The motorway in the picture is the windiest stretch so instead of risking being blown into the path of a wagon, I climbed the road up Grayrigg Hause, high above the motorway (actually the picture is taken from the layby on the side of that road) and took another route that goes underneath it and eventually alongside the railway.
Unfortunately the hazard was water, instead of wind. You can imagine what happened.
So here are the things I have learned from bypassing the main route to work yesterday morning:
- Angry brings on IBS and it doesn’t make the car work.
- Water that is deeper than the radius of the wheels is bad.
- Squeaky car has had a part replaced; it doesn’t make her invincible.
- White knights might come wearing waterproof chaps, wellies and a dripping wet trilby, but they’re no less white knights.
Hell froze over today. That was the impression the weather gave. When I entered the world this morning, I’d already received 4 phonecalls from worried people telling me how bad the roads were.
The closest anyone got to describing it was Janey, who said she couldn’t describe it.
A thin layer of ice covered the ground outside; the car had drowned under it, locked in a transparent, solid film. Even the leaves of the plants were iced over perfectly. You could break off the ice leaf and hold it in your hand. Cold rain hitting freezing ground. Ice sheet.
So today featured driving down the M6 at 5-20mph for 20 miles, marvelling at the marks on the road where other cars had already slithered, skating the car into a parking space in someone else’s car park, eating cake, and Fish Pie for dinner. Oh yeah, I did some work too.