It rained last night.
I know that doesn’t sound dramatic at all, but believe me, it nearly killed me.
For the past week or so, I have struggled to get up and down the snow-covered hill that stands between my house and my school. It wasn’t so bad at first, when the snow was all soft and deep, but with every day of traffic and footfall and freezing temperatures, it became more and more like a carefully polished slide of doom.
Then, last night, it rained. This did not wash away the snow and ice, oh no!! They are so tightly pressed down now that they are basically part of the road, like some sort of giant shiny fossil. The rain merely smoothed everything out nicely and then immediately froze into one big glossy, glassy, several-inches-thick sheet of pure solid ice.
Obviously I was in a state of utter delight about this as I stood at the bottom of the hill this morning and contemplated my almost certain death.
Tentatively I put a foot on to the ice, and then clutched hurriedly at a parked car as the ground rushed towards me. OK, I said firmly (whether to the ice or the car or myself, I am not sure). OK. Right.
I managed one more step before giving in to an awkward little shuffle dance thing that brought me back to where I’d started. Argh! I said to an old man who was smoking a cigarette at his garden gate and taking in my plight. He nodded thoughtfully, and we looked at the Hill of Doom together in silence. Finally, he motioned to me to come over to his side of the road, where a narrow strip of snow, sheltered by the wall, had escaped the freezing rain. He reached out his hands and dragged me across the final chunk of ice as I flailed around, shrieking. OK, I repeated less confidently. OK. Right.
My new friend ducked inside his gateway and reappeared with a shovelful of sand, which he proceeded to throw as far up the hill as he could reach, and I nervously began my climb. When I was halfway up and clinging to the wall for dear life, I saw the principal putting out cones to warn traffic not to go down the hill. He called my name. Hayley Teacher! (that is my full name) Slowly, slowly! He was watching me anxiously as if he suspected I might suddenly break into a confident and joyful gallop that would send me hurtling down the hill. His shouts attracted the attention of my director and a couple of teachers, who stuck their heads out of the back door to observe the proceedings. If there is anything harder than trying to climb an ice-covered hill without killing yourself, it is trying to climb an ice-covered hill without killing yourself while your boss and colleagues watch you. I swear, by the time I got to the top, I was a trembling, sweating mess. My heart was thumping more loudly than it was that time I jumped in front of a bus.
I have spent a large portion of the day contemplating how I’m going to get home, which is ridiculous as I live about a hundred metres away.
Honestly, I’m not ruling out some sort of homemade sled involving one of the big stainless steel trays they serve lunch on in school.