Yes, I know it’s only just turned September. And yes, I know most people don’t want to think about the forthcoming bad weather. But I promise what I’m saying makes sense, if you hear me out…..
Imagine, if you will, a winter storm arriving and being kind enough to dump several tonnes of cold white stuff all around your house and you wake up to find that it’s too deep to get your car out of its parking spot.
For city dwellers this may result in a snow day or two, making several phone calls either into or from work or school, getting into the garden to make snowmen, contacting the bus company to see if they are running to schedule and so on. You decide you’re going to walk to the nearest supermarket with a rucksack on your back – a trek of about half a mile at most. And at most it brings a day or two of major disruption before the whole lot turns into a sludgy grey mess and begins to melt.
But for rural, village dwellers, the consequences of a heavy snow fall are likely to be all together more serious. For one, the roads into and out of your village are likely to be closed, or at best passable only with a dirty great tractor, a kind local farmer and lots of patience. Your electricity is also likely to be cut off, and with the electric out, your heating fails too (mains gas is only available in towns, remember, and oil fired heating is hugely expensive).
And the crux of the matter – in rural areas, especially in rural Scotland, this can happen with alarming regularity most winters, and can happen as early as October or as late as Easter.
Last winter, I have to admit, was a rarity. We had hardly any frost or snow, but the months and months of rain did the same thing in some parts, closing roads for weeks at a time as flooding overtook them and made them incredibly dangerous to drive down. And the strong winds brought down power and phone lines all over the place.
Either way, in winter in Scotland, unless you have a good back up plan, you can find yourself rather screwed. And today was the day we purchased our back up plan.
Two big bags of charcoal, so we can put the barbeque just outside the back door to cook on – in the OPEN air, of course – I’m not stupid enough to bring it inside! Three crates of canned food. Spare packets of dried foodstuffs. Confirmation that the portable stoves and camping gas canisters were still usable and safe. Dried milk. And plans to ensure that in good weather at least we never run down our stocks this side of next March.
So, with us all prepared, we can probably expect to get an Indian Summer lasting as far as Halloween. Sods law and all that……..