8 January 2010 (Friday) - Sledging

Usually I would start off by saying “up with the lark”, but I think it’s safe to say that any larks have long since flown south. So I’ll start again. Today I was up with the penguins and arctic terns, and was doing the ironing before 6am. It’s one way of having some peace and quiet whilst I watch my Xmas DVDs.

Off to work in the car again. In the past I’ve never driven in the snow. I’ve made a point of walking to work every time there’s the slightest flurry of snow. And I have gone base over apex on the ice so many times. So, bearing in mind I’m not getting any younger, I’ve decided that I shall drive. And if I prang the car, it’s insured and easier fixed than my aging bones.

I had a minor worry when the brakes shuddered as I came to the end of Beaver Road. They were fine on the bypass, but again were shaking and vibrating in Tesco’s car park. I was about to phone the garage when a colleague told me that’s what anti-lock brakes do on the ice. They are supposed to do that. That came as a relief.

We spent the morning at work discussing the vital question. Should we go sledging before or after lunch? We eventually agreed on “after”, since that would be the option less likely to have anyone being sick. The hospital grounds don’t feature much in the way of slopes, but they do have the advantage of being near a hospital, should we need one for any reason. Three of us spent an enjoyable half an hour vooming down slopes on a range of vehicles. One chap had “borrowed” his children’s bum board. Another had some water resistant coated paper (which lasted for less than a minute). I tried some hard plastic sheeting I’d found in the store cupboard. On my first go my sheet dug into the ground and I fell off at high speed. So I tried standing on it with my weight to the back, and I fell off again and rolled down the hill. Eventually I found that if I sat at the back and hoiked up the front, it wasn’t too bad a sledge, even if it had bruised my inner thighs.

Any of my loyal readers who are paying attention will realise that this sedate form of exercise rather gives the lie to the previous paragraph of this blog entry (!)

After a few minutes we saw that if we moved ten yards along the bank there was a lip on the slope from which we could do sledge jumps. Our lightest colleague (half my body weight) sped down the slope, and passed gracefully over the snow on said lip, and went a good six inches into the air. It was quite impressive to watch, somewhat akin to Eddie the Eagle, albeit on a smaller scale.

Our heaviest colleague (a bit heavier than me) wanted a go. He too sped down the slope, but rather than passing gracefully over the snow on said lip, he ploughed into the snow on said lip exposing the tree stump underneath. I suppose it could have been nasty, but he got away with only ripping his coat, scraping his bum and filling his pants with snow. Oh, how I laughed. Pants filled with snow is really funny, all the time it is someone else’s pants.

There was a scary moment when I aimed to the right of a tree, but as it came closer, so I found myself veering more and more toward the tree. Eventually I passed it on the left, copping it a glancing blow as I went. I ended up flat on my back in hysterical laughter. However my assistants saw my not getting up as being a sign of injury. “Well bless my soul!! (sic)” exclaimed one of them at the top of his voice. “He’s dead”. For a moment they honestly thought I’d died in the impact. That set me off laughing even more.

You can see the photos here.

All too soon we had to get back to work. Whilst I was cold, I’d taken the precaution of wearing waterproofs. After all, I’ve played in the snow before. One of our number had pants full of snow, and the other had soaked his jeans. Me - I spent a pleasant afternoon periodically mentioning how warm and dry I was, and asking where all the puddles on the floor were coming from…

I came home to find ‘er indoors TM building a snowman…

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