Doing readings, mixing with the public, visiting libraries, these are all part of a writer’s life. I love meeting people at these events; talking about books is always good and if they buy one of mine then that’s a bonus.
So, I was very much looking forward to a morning with Jan Edwards at Leek Library in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
The only problem at time of booking was the date, January 21st could mean snow. Falls of snow in the Moorlands bring with them blocked roads and treacherous driving conditions.
The night before the event, the forecast was not promising. Undaunted we agreed to check on driving conditions first thing. Waking up in Stoke much of the snow was already melting. In Cheadle the main road appeared to be fine. After a quick breakfast I loaded the car and set off.
At first the only problems were the usual rush hour traffic, compounded by road works. Nevertheless I was more or less on schedule when I hit Forsbrook. Thick lumps of ice made the T junction rather tricky and from then on it was all bad news. As I reached the hill leading into Cheadle the traffic stopped. There was a lorry slewed across the road. After about ten minutes, a police car followed by a gritting lorry arrived. This was 9. 30 on a main road on a weekday.
By now I was running a little late, but I skirted the lorry and was at the Dilhorne crossroads when the car encountered thick, impassable ice. Wheels whirled and threatened to skid, snow came down heavily from a grey sky, behind me the traffic was building up. The young lads in the car behind offered a push, but I’d had enough. The library had already e mailed to say half their staff hadn’t come in and Jan and I made the decision to call it quits.
Tea, toast and good company were all on offer the other side of the hill. If I could make it. Reluctantly I decided to turn round and go home.
Two hours of driving and I was back where I started. Surely today in the 21st Century this journey should not have been impossible?