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Date: 22/03/13

Piled Higher And Deeper

Second day of spring today, then? That means that it should be quite nice...oh...

Snow piled up against a door

It started shortly before ten last night (more or less when the forecast said it would) and - to the best of my knowledge - it has been coming down, and diagonally, and occasionally sideways ever since (I'm typing this at 1330 on Friday). "And Met men say there's more to come!" (© Journo-cliché Corporation).

No-one's going anywhere much, especially those along our road who have found that - thanks to the sort of foresight for which our dear Council is rightly famous - they would not only have to get the snow off their cars, but would also have to dig their way out through the one-foot high banks cast up by the snowploughs earlier this morning. Certainly I had no chance of getting to work, especially as Arriva went so far as to close their Wrexham depot around about 0830.

Whilst the weather of late has been utterly potty for what is supposed to be the point where the hounds of Spring start cocking their legs on Winter's traces (in which case, the snow should be yellow, but you can't have everything), such heavy snow this late in March does have its antecedents, as I can attest from a personal reminiscence.

March 30, 1979. Also a Friday, as it happens. I am sixteen years of age, going on forty-one, and am a student at what was then called Yale Sixth Form College. This inhabited a concrete building on Crispin Lane in Wrexham which even by the standards of early-seventies architecture was not so much brutalist as brutal.

It hadn't been snowing when classes had begun at 9am, but by noon it was coming down quite strongly. I have a clear recollection of sitting in Bryan Martin Davies' Welsh class in Room 6 on the first floor and - instead of having my attention focussed on whatever scene in Saunders Lewis' Siwan we were discussing - gazing out of the window up towards the hills, and home, wondering whether I'd be able to get back there.

Shortly before 3pm the tannoy coughed into life, and we heard the voice of the Senior Tutor, Trevor Foulkes, advising all students who had buses to catch to go and catch them now, while there still were buses. So, gathering all my things together I headed off up the lane to the stop outside Vincent Greenhous' garage on Mold Road, where a couple of minutes or so later a Crosville D15 bus (a Bristol RE if memory serves - possibly even this very one; the route number's right at least) turned up.

We lumbered slowly through Caego and New Broughton and up Garner's Hill into Southsea. By the time we reached Southsea Post Office, we could see that someone had got stuck under the railway bridge up ahead. "That's it!", said our driver. "Sorry, but I can't get any further.".

So off we trooped (there would have been about a dozen or so passengers by this point), and I started to walk. I don't have any clear memory of which way I went initially, but I suspect that I followed the main road past the old All Saints Church and the Rollers Arms, then under Ochnall's Bridge, because I have an image still clear in my mind of approaching Broughton Road from that direction.

Trudging (and that verb has seldom been so appropriate) past the site of the old Lodge Post Office, I was overtaken - by the same bus I'd got off a mile back. I muttered dark imprecations against the perfidy of public transport operators (see? I was doing it then, too) and arrived at the bottom of the long slope up New Road to see the bus coming back towards me...backwards, and without assistance from anything other than gravity and an extremely low-friction road surface.

I don't remember what time it was when I got home; I suspect it was getting on for five.

Fast forward thirty-four years and I'm sitting here at getting on for 1430, and the snow is still coming down/diagonally/sideways (delete as appropriate) hard and fast, with all available forecasts suggesting that this could carry on through to Sunday, with daytime temperatures scarcely rising above freezing right into Easter.

Something's gone screwy somewhere... an arrow to click on to take you to a follow-up item