January 1987 – I probably only remember it as well as I do because of the photographs I took at the time.
We rarely get snow these days – I think the last really ‘big freeze’ was 2009. In January 1987, I was one of a dozen Executive Secretaries working for the Board of Directors at Guardian Royal Exchange in London, and commuting daily. Once the blanket of snow was down – everything stopped for a few days – no trains – and at first, no London coaches. My boss told me to stay put, and not to chance it on the roads, which were like glass.
My main concern was getting hot meals to my relatives. The Co-op at Tarpots had run out of milk, bread and many other things. At that time I had three sets of elderly relatives. My retired parents (Kay and Richard Bird) lived in the 1950s bungalows in the High Road halfway down to Cemetery Corner, and an elderly Aunt & Uncle (Lillie and Bill Thompson) lived in Limetree Avenue. My husband’s parents (Irene and George Gaines) lived in Malwood Road. Allan and I took our VW camper van up to Sadler’s Farm and stocked up with what fresh vegetables they had. We always had a chest freezer with the necessities as, because we both worked in London, we shopped monthly. I had plenty of chicken and bread. I remember doing enormous pots of chicken casserole, and running them to my relatives to tide them over until the local shops were re-stocked and the pavements less slippery.
I remember our local milkman wouldn’t chance it down Manor Road. He parked in the layby in front of the Church Road shops, and people had to go to him. The WRVS meals-on-wheels must have been having trouble getting round to people, because one of my photos shows a yellow van from the Council helping out.
I don’t think this cold snap lasted more than a week, but it was ferocious while it was here. I wonder if anybody else has memories of this time?