Thursday 24 December 2009

Z is sad, grateful and ready

My thoughts are with DG this Christmas. I met a friend in town this morning and she said that, her father having died earlier this year, it's bringing home to her all the more how much she misses her mother too. I've been feeling the same, with the 40th anniversary of my father's death coming up, I've been missing both my parents very much. I said as much to her, though I haven't mentioned it to my family - only my sister would understand. And a lot of you do too. It doesn't matter how long ago it was, you never forget and you still feel the loss. *Cough* - group hug?

Right. Moving on.

Just while I'm here, I'd like to thank people who have been working their socks off this last week in the freezing weather and very difficult conditions, many of whom have received a lot of criticism when actually they could not have done more.
Specifically -
The people - nearly all men, I'm sure - who've been out restoring power. They're done their best. Miserable to be cold and have no electricity, but they were colder.
Those who drive gritting lorries and clear roads who've kept our main roads as passable as they could - they're not going to get down the side roads. They never did, in fact, I've never lived in a road that has been gritted. Can't be afforded and most years it isn't necessary. If we regularly had temperatures well below zero for several days and night after night of snow, it would be worth the investment. We don't so it isn't. As a result, we'll come to a halt sometimes. If it might snow, keep a shovel, a few sacks, a rug, some water and some chocolate, and some stout boots and a stick in case you end up walking, in your car. The main roads should be gritted, but don't blame the people in the lorries, blame the ones in the comfortable offices who didn't get their act together. And sometimes, during a snowstorm, gritting doesn't help or the amount of stuck traffic on the roads stops the lorries getting through.
Delivery people - yesterday, Al was in a pickle because his big order didn't arrive until after 9 o'clock, when the shop was full, he had still got orders to complete (he does them on the day ordered) and he had to stack everything outside and spend the day sorting things out. However, he didn't complain. The order arrived in full and as soon as the van could get there. By the way, if the supermarket or farm shop sells brussels sprouts stalks at well over £2 each, as I've seen them, they are robbing their customers. Al has put the price up to £1 this year (90p last) and he makes a satisfactory profit at that.
Everyone I've ordered anything from over the internet - all despatched promptly, thank you.
The Royal Mail - realising I couldn't get out to do any shopping as the pavements were more treacherous than the roads, I did a final last-minute order from Amazon on Monday afternoon. Two out of three packages have arrived, although they said they couldn't guarantee it. I think that's damn good - the only things I haven't got are some books for Zerlina and she'll be pleased with more parcels to arrive next week so it doesn't matter.

And an apology to anyone who thought they might get a Christmas card from us this year. Er, yes. Sorry about that. I think my Christmas card writing days are over.

It's thawing now, but that means that the ridges in iced-over roads and paths have smoothed to a glassy surface and actually it's more difficult to walk anywhere that isn't completely clear. I went out to the Co-op this morning and had to carefully pick my way around the drive to avoid the worse bits. A stick didn't help as it slipped and didn't hold. It isn't very busy in town - Al says he expects to be (and was) far busier the day before Christmas Eve, and this year, CE is also market day so he didn't get more in than he needed for his orders and for a usual weekend. So he's pretty relaxed. He's got Eileen and Reese in, and they are managing fine, so he's taking the view that what he doesn't get in takings aren't paying out another person's wages, so it'll balance.

Time to start wrapping presents before long, I think. Always more fun at the last minute.


Anonymous said...

All the best to you and yours, Z, for this season and beyond. Up here in NoYo, we've had a power cut (the substation exploded and set on fire)for 5 hours, the fireservice and NEDL workmen did well in fettling and restoring power in that time and now there's another 3 inches of snow which fell last night and this morning.

I can empathise with you from a what could have been and what was perspective. Group hug for sure.

I, Like The View said...

oh, group hug please

(hugs work both ways)

I never forget the last Christmas my mother spent - with me, my father, my two brothers, in my newly purchased flat. . . she was too poorly almost to even come, but found the strength at the last minute

she wandered into the kitchen at one stage and chided me on my potato cooking, and finally divulged her secrets for the perfect roasties

if I'd have only realised (or been told) how ill she was, I'd have taken some photos - as it is I have no tangible record

but sometimes memories are better

Dave said...

My estate is just a sheet of ice. Took me 45 min to walk into town this morning (less time on the way back, because I realised it was safer to walk in the road).

That's it. I'm not moving from here until Sunday morning.

Zig said...



Z said...

We had a substation explode last year, Ad - very dramatic, the top of it landed in the marshes quite some way away. As ever, we were off for some time, about 30 hours I think, but it was still amazing, what was done in a short time to get things going again.

It was my mother's last Christmas 7 years ago, ILTV, and we knew it - so it was made a damn good one.

I'd have taken a stroll round my estate this morning, Dave, but there was still quite a lot of snow on the fields.

To and fro, back and forth, round and round, Ziggi!

Rog said...

Up the Workers! I was listening to You and Yours on Radio 4 yesteday with a lot of irate pillocks wingeing about not getting their Orcado or Sainsburies deliveries, expecting a Van driver to reach them when they couldn't even get out their own drives with a car. Let them eat Cake, I say.

Oh, and Happy Christmas ... and when it comes to stuffing don't forget the sage!

Z said...

Oh, I read that as "let them snort Coke" for a moment there, Rog. Anyway, hear hear (or, as it seems to be spelled in Blogland, here here).

You want me to tell the Sage to get stuffed?

Christopher said...

What Ziggi said - and so many thanks for all these really enjoyable insights unto life in the Zeddery!

martina said...

I'm grateful for the Christmas check my employers gave me.
Z-you need to get some YakTrax. They are studded shoe sole covers that slip easily over boots/shoes. I can send you a website if you wish. Either that or I'll have to invent a studded snow stick for you.
Merry Christmas every one and be careful out in that inclement weather.

weeza said...

Sad, grateful & ready. Dear-o me, never has I see a worse blog title. Nightie night & happy christmas my lovely mum, I love you xxx

Ps I was farna fimmas tonight & am elated! We create new memories too eh x

Marion said...

Merry Christmas Z.

Z said...

For Your Information, daughter, Ro has been reading the blog this week and he thought it was okay.

Favourite child status can go down as well as up, you know.

(love you too though, actually)

Merry Christmas, Marion. You'll receive a card sometime in the new year, sorry it won't be there for Christmas. Nor will anyone else's, if it's any comfort.

Z said...

Ooh, so *moved* was I by Weeza that I didn't notice other comments.

Thank you Christopher - it's been such a pleasure to meet you.

And thanks for the advice, Martina - I'll google them, and if I need help I'll let you know. I've just been talking (really talking on the phone, that is) to friends in Canada who have a walking stick with a pointy end that can be added for use in icy conditions. Ro was saying tonight that, walking home from work, he stopped walking and his feet just kept sliding along....

Anonymous said...

LAst minute is not bad.
Merry Christmas Z, for you and all yours.