Christmas 2000 saw me and my boyfriend at the time driving from Brighton to visit our friends and family in Cornwall. I don’t remember much about Christmas itself but I do remember the trip home.
We packed the two of us, two friends, all of our luggage and gifts into our Nissan Sunny. We were packed to the rafters but my mum insisted that I take home with me a small defenseless little houseplant. Naturally we named him Bob and tucked him up safely in a carrier bag and tried to find room for him in the car. It was not easy as we were so full but in the end we hung his handles from the lock sticking up on the passenger side.
We started off up the A30 from Hayle and we had literally pulled away from the kerb when it started to snow. We shrugged it off because in all of the time we had lived there (some twenty odd years) we had only seen real snow that settled a handful of times. By the time we were five minutes up the road it was coming down thick and fast. By the time we were 10 minutes up the road we were crawling along. By the time we were 15 minutes up the road we were at a standstill. We were stuck on the dual carriageway a mere 10 miles from where we set off with no means of going anywhere. A few telephone calls later between us and some other friends who were traveling and our parents ascertained that a lorry had jack-knifed on the roundabout ahead and nothing was going anywhere. The snow kept coming and we just had to sit there. My boyfriend had the flu, was not feeling well at all, and all three of us were still a bit hungover from the festive excess. This was not going to be a good journey.
We finally started moving two hours later and made the decision to keep going a bit further to see if it cleared before deciding whether to turn around. In the end we kept going as it wasn’t too bad but we had to stop so many times for food and drinks and toilet breaks and tissues. Each time we stopped we carefully unhooked Bob, and set him down safely as we got in and out of the car. I was shattered, my boyfriend managed to drive for about 30 minutes and I was left to do the rest of the journey. The roads were crap, it got dark. Ugh.
We arrived back in Brighton ten hours after we left. I drove around Brighton, dropping each person off where they belonged, each time removing Bob from his little hook and holding onto him while we ejected each passenger and their belongings. Finally we made it to our street. We unloaded the car and traipsed in and our with the mountains of stuff. I went to park the car and got out carefully carrying Bob. I got to the front door of our block of flats, tripped up the stairs and Bob went flying from my hands and landed face down in the slush at the side of the road.
Gutted. 9 years later that is still my worst ever trip between here and there.