Sunday, 20 February 2011

Snow, ice and yaktrax

This is what I woke to yesterday. This is the view from my window. It had started snowing again late on Friday afternoon and continued to lunchtime. I decided I would walk to the bus through the winter landscape and enjoy the snow whilst it was soft and pristine. All very poetic.

But my relationship with Czech snow and ice is a somewhat fraught one. You will have seen in previous posts how much I love the snow here; it is in my opinion in a different class to the British version – dryer, finer, crisper. Ice and compacted snow however is a different matter.

Whichever way I approach my home I am required to go up hill. Two roads enter the village and neither of them are ever gritted. The passage of cars and the snowplough turn my lovely crunchy snow to ice in a matter of a few days. I probably should buy myself a sledge and slide down to the station, but I would still have to haul it back up the slippery slope.

Whilst in England on the recommendation of my osteopath I bought myself some Yaktrax. This incredible invention is probably best described as snow chains for shoes and the difference it makes is remarkable. They have one, rather major, drawback – they should not be worn on gravel or tarmac. When the snow thaws on my roads, which this year it has been doing off and on a lot, I am faced with expanses of bare road and patches of ice. I tried leaving the Yaktrax on and had the alarming experience of the metal springs actually sparking on the granite grave. And so I leave them off and try to avoid ice patches.

A week or so ago I walked down to the station on just such a day of thaw, I had done well. And I turned off the road on to the concrete path to the station. It was covered with black puddles and I walked confidently on looking at my goal. Suddenly my legs just slid out from under me and I landed on my side in an inch of icy water. Unsteadily and somewhat painfully I made my way across what I now realised was black ice to the station, only to discover that I had misread the timetable and I had a further forty minutes to wait on the cold platform in my wet clothes.

I am beginning to think, that like all the other villagers, I should get a car.These romantic walks in the snow are all very well, but I'm a fifty-year old woman with a back to think about

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