It was snowing when I went to bed on Monday.
It snowed while I was asleep.
In the morning – a very dark, but also very white morning – Tuesday appeared.
I was going to pick up a dog, on my own, in the aftermath of the heaviest snow of the year.
Berlin is not known for its snow. It does snow, but not much and not often. As a result, people who drive in Berlin are generally not accustomed to driving in snow and tend to do strange things. I learned to drive in Berlin, and since then we’ve only had very mild winters so I have next to no experience of driving in snow at all.
DB phoned his parents and asked if he (=I) could borrow the van. It’s a 4 wheel drive and apparently better on snow than my car.
That has to be a good thing, right?
Right. The less sliding about the better.
On the other hand, I’ve hardly ever driven it. The first time I did, in a mission to help DB juggle several cars between various workplaces, workshops and houses, it was evening, and getting dark fast.
Halfway home the dashboard lights died, so I drove in unknowing darkness – unable to see how fast I was going, whether I was about to run out of fuel or even what time it was. Once I was out of a streetlit area, I realised I was out of headlights too. DB was way ahead of me, and my phone had helpfully run out of battery so I couldn’t pull over and phone anyone to say where I was. Not that I really knew where I was anyway. As a passenger I look out of the windows. I look at art on posters and electricity boxes, I look at peoples’ gardens and the animals in fields. I don’t look at signposts or road junctions, and certainly don’t memorise them. I decided I didn’t really fancy parking on a fairly well travelled road in the dark with no lights and no hard shoulder or layby, so I carried on going (I’m still not sure what’s more frightening – stopping with no lights or driving with no lights ;)).
I made it home, slowly.
The second time I drove the van, it was also dark. The difference was that this time I had lights. I also had 3 drunken males and a piles of bicycles to distribute across Berlin.
I made it home that night too, but not before I’d reversed into a signpost*.
DB’s dad brought the van round and DB went to work.
I finished putting away the last few things (amazing what you can oversee) and hung up a picture I’d rediscovered in the dog-proofing sort out.
Then, fully appreciating the pointlessness, I washed the floor. I wanted the inevitable first-day pictures (and hordes of dog lover visits) to take place without being embarrassed by the state of the house/floor. Also, it’s easier to
prove find out how grubby a dog is when you start from clean.
(This is a good place to issue a slight disclaimer for the last post… quite a lot of the things I sorted were things I’ve been meaning to do for a while – sometimes I need a more pressing reason than just because…)
When everything was ready, I looked up the dog’s home’s address and had a more-or-less** leisurely breakfast.
There I was, breakfasted and with a van and a clean house and a newly programmed SatNag.
Off I set.
* please note – when delivering drunken people to their homes, DO NOT believe them when they tell you there is room to turn a van round in front of their house. Such foolish belief could lead to reversing down a steep sloping drive and back onto the road…..or into a signpost…
** less (because of already being later )