Winter Is Coming

A couple of inches of snow fell across Northern Ireland yesterday evening. Despite having had in excess of 24 hours prior notice the country responded in time honoured fashion….by grinding to a standstill. The lightest sprinkling of the white stuff on our fair land and chaos reigns. In scenes reminiscent of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ the Black family battled home from school and work respectively.

The roads had not been gritted. Fionnuala ended up off the road on her way to pick me up from the train station. Thankfully a Good Samaritan stopped to help get her back on the road but when she phoned to let me know I told her to stay put due to the treacherous conditions. There then followed *cue stirring music* the heroic sight of yours truly battling through a blizzard to get to them.

I slipped and slid the mile to where they were stranded. I felt like Scott of the Antarctic although I more resembled Olaf from Frozen but I made it and was able to gingerly drive us back to the house. We then received a text from Adam that his school bus was stranded two miles from our village and not going anywhere. He had started walking home so I set off again to pick him up. As I headed out of the village I was greeted by the heartening sight of a car abandoned in a ditch. It had flattened a road sign in the process. Yikes!

I eventually located Adam trudging along the roadside along with around thirty other school kids. Meanwhile the road was gridlock with cars, vans and lorries. All we were missing was Godzilla in the background; or perhaps King Kong swatting at helicopters. I managed to collect Adan and a couple of his mates before somehow turning the car and crawling back home. It was with some relief that we closed the front door and settled down in our cosy living room to watch the snow continue to fall.

Any North Americans or Scandinavians reading this are probably shaking their heads in disbelief. Us Irish just cannot cope with snow. Every winter it happens and every winter we are caught out. We just don’t seem to have the organisation or infrastructure to handle any form of inclement weather. Planning and preparation? More like panic and prevarication? We go to pieces. Winter is coming. We know! We know!! But we continue to stick our heads in the sand (or snowdrift) and hope it will all go away and leave us alone.

We can’t cope when weather conditions slightly outside of the norm befall us. We cease to function. The wheels come off. We are left stranded high and dry because we are not prepared for such an eventuality. And the same applies to the storms of life we have to face. We cannot say when, where or what but we know they are inevitable at some juncture. They will hit and they will hit hard. Instead of being swept away or sucked up into the sky we can be a little more prepared. We can dig in and hang on for grim death. We might lose a few fingernails in the process but we will survive.

Look around. What are your coping mechanisms? Is it your family, your friends or your faith? Where are your snow shovels, the people who can dig you out of a hole when you most need it? We are not islands and we need support mechanisms. I know I need to practice what I preach as during 2017 I walked away from the church and a number of friendships which were harmful to me. I know I need to work on that and be in a better place for when the next life storm hits.

Today’s post is a call for action. A reminder to dig out your disaster or evacuation plan, dust it down and examine it in detail. Who are your ‘go to’ people? The people who will be there for you when the day from hell descends? The inner circle you can rely on when its ‘4th and inches’ and the game is on the line. Blizzards are confusing and disorientating phenomena. When they hit we need a safe place to retreat to, we need people who we can rely upon. They are our signposts, our landmarks and our way out of the crisis.

We need them. For winter is coming….

What is the worst snowstorm you have ever been in?

How do you cope when a life storm hits?

Who are your ‘4th and inches’ people?

62 thoughts on “Winter Is Coming

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    1. I am from Wisconsin. The worst snowstorm we ever drove through was 22 inches on the way down to the airport in Milwaukee. We ended up driving for 6 hours in white out conditions. Highways were closing. We drove around jack knifed trucks. There were multiple cars in the ditch. We got about 5 inches of snow the other day. After school activities were cancelled, but school was on. The wind chills need to be below 35 below to call off school. We had about 3 weeks of below zero temps a few weeks ago. We have become accustomed to living in this climate. It takes very extreme conditions to shut us down, but we are prepared for it. Now I would have no clue what to do in a hurricane or in temperatures over 90 degrees.

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  1. After life mostly in New York (downstate, Long Island: near the water = snow & ice), this move to central Virginia, where everything halts for a paltry INCH of the white stuff.

    I love your snowmageddon tale and adventures, better still that you are all safe (and seem to know how to navigate the weather; many do not and suffer for that lack of smarts.) We have between 1″-3″ here this morning…feeble. C’mon, Mother Nature! Bring it!!

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  2. Praying for you guys to be safe in the weather!
    Well, I don’t know if this instance was the worst winter weather I’ve been in, but once the roads were so slick that as we were coming to a railroad crossing, we hit the brakes but just kept sliding. Then, a train that hadn’t blown the whistle or let us know at all that it was coming, smashed into the front half of our car. It came so close it took the rearview mirror off, but thanks to the Lord none of us got hurt. That was some pretty bad weather πŸ˜‚

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    1. That’s insane and kind of puts our weather drama into perspective. It is thawing here now but there is more snow coming in. Northern Ireland has very unpredictable weather. We can have four seasons in one day. I hope your chickens haven’t frozen πŸ˜³πŸ”

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  3. Here in Virginia we react the same way! School was cancelled today though it’s not supposed to start snowing until this afternoon! They could have at least gone to school and gotten out early! The second we see a single flake fall we make a beeline to the store to stock up on bread and milk, LOL. “Milk sandwiches” anyone?

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  4. First of all, I’m glad you and your family are safe. As to being in a 4th and inches situation, I have no choice but to go for it. My therapist is the center, because she “snaps” great insights and advice, I’m the quarterback who “passes” both the situation and the advice, my psychiatrist is an offensive lineman who “blocks” me from symptoms by prescribing and overseeing my medication, and my husband is the receiver, who “catches,” thereby supporting, the situation I’ve thrown at him. Once I’m stable, we’ve made the touchdown!

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        1. I think you just need to write consistently and seek to deliver a quality content. Some of my material can be quite dark so I always try to add a dollop of humour. Be yourself and write about topics you are passionate about. Engage with other bloggers and find your target community.

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      1. Cold wet and grey πŸ˜‚ we rarely get snow and look forward to it when we do because it’s so few and far between! It was December we last had some and before that 4 years previously! Hopefully yours doesn’t last too long.

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  5. As others have reported here in the southern US reactions are much the same as in your village. We are getting snow today so schools already cancelled yesterday and they may be closed for days. I come from an area where we had snow so we were used to it. Worst snowstorm I ever experienced I guess was the blizzard of 1978. Around 27 inches of snow. No one allowed on roads except emergency personnel. No school for a week. Most folks couldn’t go to work. It actually was kind of fun. Lots of neighbors out and about helping each other and playing in the snow. A break from the real world. Glad you all got home safely!

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  6. The worst snowstorm I can remember was when I was really little. My mom was taking us to see my Dad who had just been in an accident while working building fences along the highway. You couldn’t see more than a hundred feet in front of the car but we just kept inching forward. I was really scared if it weren’t for God’s protection I don’t know how we would have made it! Great point to your story 😊

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  7. Glad the family are safe Stephen. It does defy believe how other countries cope with much worse conditions. Yet when it come to UK we seem to have to hit the panic button. Hope you have enough milk and bread ? I gather the shops must have been ripped apart πŸ˜‰

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story and getting me to think, and re think who my β€œgo to” people are in times of need πŸ™πŸ» I think the storms of life reveal who those folks are. During last years snow storm I discovered a dear soul who helped me when stuck in the snow, and we became friends. I pray also that I’ll be a good neighbor also to those in need. Blessings to you πŸ™πŸ»

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  9. Most memorable snowstorm when my 3 children were 2, 6 and 7. I had to walk about 1/4 mile through about 6-8 inches and get our sled. Walked back, put the 2 yr old and some groceries on the sled, the older ones walked in as I pulled the baby and groceries. We made it with some laughs.
    For life storms, I go to God. He carries me through every time. If I fall apart it’s after the storm, somewhere by myself where He picks me up and holds me close.

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