White out…

10 Nov

It won’t be long before the entire country grinds to a halt, due to there being a completely unexpected and unforeseeable drop in temperature round about wintertime, and varying quantities of precipitant crystalline water begin their miraculous, and above all, unpredicted descent from who knows where.
This will, of course, take everybody by surprise, and result in the sort of apocalyptic news reports usually reserved for natural disasters and alien invasions.

(The fabulous Charlie Brooker also has something to say about this sort of thing)

The fact is, we’re bloody useless at dealing with the one thing that we’re world famous for being obsessed with, namely the weather.


But, we’re also famous for the stiff-upper-lipped attitude that enables us to get entertainment out of almost any situation.
I mean, how many reports of flooding do you see, when there’s some cheery soul canoeing down the high street, or wakeboarding behind a 4×4.

And snow just adds a new DIY dimension to that improvisation ethic. From tea trays, rubbish sacks, and plastic tarps, to car bonnets and scaffold planks, I’ve seen people use all sorts of Heath Robinson contraptions to assist in narrowly avoiding killing themselves whilst hurtling downhill at ill-advised speeds.

When I lived in Sussex, the sledging Mecca was the local golf course, and whenever the snowfall reached adequate proportions, dozens of people would descend on the steepest of the fairways to display their prowess at cheating death.

Imagine if you will, standing on a golf tee at the top of a steep path leading downhill to a fairly deep gully with a stream at the bottom. Over the gully is a footbridge, and the fairway on the other side climbs steeply for maybe a couple of hundred yards to the top.
The hill flattens briefly two-thirds of the way up, as a private road bisects the grass slope, before it continues up to the green.

Got that?

Right, go down to the bridge and climb the hill to the point at which the road crosses the slope.
Now turn and look back down the hill. Good sledging, huh?

This was the place that drew the crowds, and one particular day sticks in my mind.
We were all merrily trying to out-sledge each other, when a Land Rover, towing a trailer, appeared on the road.
The trailer had a mysterious, tarp-covered lump onboard, the mystery of which was solved when half a dozen large, sporty looking blokes unveiled…….something.

Upon closer inspection, the vehicle being unloaded from the trailer seemed to be the bastard child of The Goodies’ tandem frame and a jetski.
The front wheel had been replaced with twin, short metal skis on the end of the welded forks. And on the rear, where stabilizers or training wheels would go, there were two other pairs of skis.

By this time, the newcomers had attracted some serious attention, and were obviously loving every minute.
Three of them mounted the fabulous machine and went through some final checks and (I thought, unnecessary) posturing, before receiving an almighty shove from their comrades, and beginning their descent.

To start with, it went without a hitch, (bear in mind, this all happened very quickly, so put your mind’s eye on slo-mo) they got a good straight course down the hill, no wobbling, picking up speed quite rapidly, people even started shouting encouragement (well, mainly encouragement).

Then, something strange happened.

My theory is that everyone watching them, got exactly the same thought, at exactly the same time.
And by the looks on the faces of the riders, they did too.

The thought, or some variation of it probably went something along the lines of;
They’re going very fast.

You could almost hear people holding their breath.

Reaching the bottom of the slope, at the point at which it dropped away into the gully, the homemade snowmobile, along with it’s passengers, rocketed over the edge, crashing into a tree that grew up from the bottom.
The riders were catapulted into the freezing stream below, earning them further rousing cheers from the spectators.

If we’d had score cards, they’d have got solid sixes all down the line.


Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Personal anecdote


Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “White out…

  1. Big D

    January 10, 2013 at 20:36

    Now that was marvellous. Somebody somewhere must have pictures of this happening.

    • dalecooper57

      January 10, 2013 at 20:45

      Sadly not. Well, not me anyway. It was hilarious. I’m glad you liked this post, it’s the only one I have been unsure about (mainly due to the lack of photos, funnily enough)
      Tried following your blog, but can’t find a follow button. Am I being dense?
      I did manage to leave a comment however…

      ….never mind, found the subscribe button. Duh.


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