Today saw a break out from the valley. Actually the day started with a break out from the cottage.
Shep's attempts to open the back door this morning failed miserably, didn't matter how hard I yarked (pulled) on the door handle the door refused to budge, more force required was the logic I followed until it dawned on me that I may well break the door in half or worse, it's cold enough without a door as well!
It went through my mind to ring the farm and ask them to walk up and give the door a bit of boot from the outside when the better half emerged, a knife used as a chisel along the thresh (bottom) and side of the door soon had it open and the blast of cold air almost knocked you over, a quick look at the outdoor thermometer saw it was registering -14 - Brr......
Hopefully the problem has since been resolved with a good dowsing of household salt along the thresh to stop the door sticking to it - time will tell but at least our neighbours now know that if we are waving frantically to them in the morning they are to come and lay the boot in to our door - there's something to be said for having neighbours!!
Anyhow, the time Shep was haying the handful of sheep a few miles down the road the better half got onto the telephone and rang around seeing who needed provisions. A trip into town is not to be wasted when the roads are poor and there are those further out who are practically housebound.
We are both great believers in only travelling when necessary and as the chainsaw was repaired and ready to collect and the part for a neighbours tractor was in and ready to collect then there was a good reason to venture out of the valley. The weather forecast is threatening wind and that may well cause a lot of problems with roads blowing in so now was the time to get away in - bye and get back again.
When Shep returned we had two neighbours requiring a lift to town, one which arrived by quad and between the lot of us we had shopping lists for nine folks.
The women folks were dropped at the supermarket and the better half did the machinery collecting, along with dog food (which we have plenty of but when there you might as well get more) and a jerry can of petrol for the quad. Within two hours we were heading for home.
The supermarket saw us in our finery, not glad rags but working clothes, wellies included. There's no point in dressing up if you're going to have to get out and push, dig or walk home, oh no, we were practically dressed. There are plenty of folks go shopping in their work wear, you see them in their office suits - well, we're no different!
Shopping for someone else is quite a challenge when they need stuff you've never bought before, I actually had to stop someone and ask what one of the items on my list was as I had never come across it before, it was a breakfast cereal and easily found.
Now the better half likes puzzles, he possesses one of those minds that loves to work out any sort of conundrum, it was needed in the supermarket car park. A hatchback boot with a jerry can of petrol, sack of dog food, chainsaw and tractor parts then needed to receive shopping for seven households - oh and a microwave! Umm.....
Fortunately, it appeared the whole North Tyne had broken out today and we bumped into a near neighbour who also had a car full of people requiring provisions but a bigger boot and less shopping than us, he very kindly carried some of ours home.
It was surprising to find the roads to town weren't great but better than ours, the 4wd car is obviously a great help although it was light on the front end due to the weight in the back. We arrived home safely.
Groceries were delivered to the out lying neighbours and all is well in the countryside. I have to say we didn't actually need anything but took the opportunity to get some extra in for the freezer. Our pantry is always well stocked and the freezer full of meat, we grow our own veggies - turnip and parsnip are still in the ground even though many were given away at Christmas, bags of tatties (potatoes) are stored and should be fine if we can keep the frost off them, plenty of ingredients in the house for baking so all in all we ought to be well sorted for a spell without access to shops.
Many people are sitting in front of their fires tonight content with the thought that they once again have food in their cupboards, it's the great thing about living out in the sticks, everyone rallies and makes sure those that need can hopefully get.
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