Monday, 7 March 2011

Let's Go Off Road!!!!!

Yesterday we had Peter and Claire over to visit. This also enabled Claire to catch up on laundry, as they have been having various plumbing problems over at their house since moving in. Nothing unusual there, as it seems like everyone that we have met since we moved here have had similar problems to a greater or lesser extent. I am now going to get inundated with messages saying that all plumbing has been fine. It was good catching up with them and finding out the latest news from Chateau Kidd. The weather forecast was a bit unfavourable but we made tentative plans to go over today and give them a hand planning their new kitchen, well Net is the design brain and I just do as I'm told. When Claire and Pete got home they phoned us to let us know the road conditions. Then half an hour we got another phone call to inform us that it had started snowing again. The plans for today were left quite flexible, we would get out if we could.
First thing this morning we noticed that the garden had a lot less snow than when we went to bed, the paths were damp and there was a constant stream  from the downpipes round the house. The wind was definitely blowing the trees and it was almost as if the paths were drying before our eyes. There were the occasional snow flurries, but the wind was too strong and the snow was being given no chance to settle. Claire phoned us up with a weather report from their end, and it was much the same as what we were experiencing. We decided that we would chance the drive out, but if the road was too bad from Slavyanovo then we would turn round and head home. Now we had been on that road a couple of days ago and where it goes through the trees it was like compacted ice, but when Pete and Claire drove it yesterday there were ruts so it was a bit like being in a Scalectrix car.
Most of the journey wasn't too bad, with the main problem being caused by road spray from lorries heading in the opposite direction. Talking of lorries, has anyone else noticed the amount of shredded lorry tyres littering the road side verges? What happens to them, are they just left there or does some enterprising gypsy type person recycle them into flip flops? I suppose it just goes to show that lorry tyres are not quality controlled, maybe worth remembering when you see a lorry looming up in your rear view mirror. Apparently there is new legislation that came into effect over the weekend, stating that seat belts must now be worn in both front and rear seats, and that children should be in booster seats. I can remember the fiasco that booster seats caused when that introduced into the UK.
Anyway, I digress, which to those that know me will not be too surprised about. We arrived on the outskirts of Popovo unscathed, and headed off towards Medovina. The amount of grit and sand on the roads it was almost as if the local council had decided that this would be the last of the snow so they had best use their stocks up. Medovina behind us, and we were on the way to Slavyanovo and still the roads were looking ok, and still liberally gritted.
We turned off of the main road and headed towards the forested area on the way to Peter and Claire's village. Sure enough there were tyre ruts to follow and even bits of tarmac peeping through, we were in 4 wheel drive so I didn't think that we would have too many problems. Wrong, we hadn't even gone 100 yards, when round the bend came a Bulgarian Scalectrix car. Normally I would move to the right and the oncoming vehicle would move to his right and we could both pass, but not this pillock. He was in the ruts and he was staying there, so I had to move right the way across to my right and into the snow. Unfortunately the snow hid the edge of the road, and by the time we coasted to a halt we were left side on the road and right side axle deep in the snow in scrub land. I put the car into low ratio four wheel drive and tried to slowly drive forward, but with the combination of the snow and the roadside we were unable to get back onto the road and the back end started drifting where we didn't want it to go. I tried slowly reversing but this time the nose started to drift, and what had started with a ditch five feet away became four feet away. I got out and scraped as much snow away from the wheels that I could but we were also sat on ice, which was not good. Net said to phone Peter and ask him to come and rescue us, but as I only had the new mobile with me I didn't have their home number only their UK mobile numbers. Still nothing ventured and all that, on the second attempt I got through. Bless them they were out to their car armed with shovels as soon as they put the phone down, and even phoned back to say that they were on their way. In the meantime two vehicles had passed, both had slowed down to have a good gawp but neither had offered any help.
I had had time to further assess the situation, and the main problem seemed to be the ice. So how to get round that, if only I could melt it somehow and get traction on the road surface. I then became Bulgarian, with no vehicles in sight I had a wee on the rear wheels, which didn't help Net as she was bursting by then. I got in behind the steering wheel, and Net got out the other side as she didn't fancy being in the car if it went into the ditch. As luck would have it the rear wheels gained enough traction to get me out onto the road. Slowly we drove forward and into the ruts while Net phoned the Cavalry to let them know that we had managed to extricate ourselves. The rest of the trip was quite uneventful and more and more tarmac was showing through the snow and ice the closer we got to their village. Just our luck that we had to meet a selfish numpty on the worst bit.
The good news was that Net managed to make Claire's loo in time, and their lounge was nice and warm. Net even managed to put it all behind her and helped to design their kitchen while I entertained dogs and cats. The strange thing being that three hours later so much of the snow had melted, and it was a piece of cake getting back to the main road.
Let's go off road? Net and I have a better idea, let's not!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Can tell you're ex mil ... ha ha... that's made me smile this morning...;-)