Before we moved to France, we considered shipping our beloved Subaru all-wheel-drive car from Toronto. In the end, we decided against it, and sold the Subaru to a friend. Maybe that wasn’t the best choice, in light of the snow now blanketing the Greater Daglan Area.
As reported in “From Siberia, with love,” we had a decent bit of snow on Sunday, but nothing dramatic by Canadian standards. However, we have had some drama that started yesterday (Monday), as we headed to nearby Cénac in my front-wheel drive Volkswagen for a bit of shopping. Whereas the Subaru cleverly delivers power only to the wheels with traction, and thus cuts through snow beautifully, the VW uncleverly spins and skids.
We managed the climb out of our little valley without much incident, though I could tell that our grip on the road was tenuous. Eventually, we reached the main road that heads into Cénac over a very, very long hill. Again, we managed the climb (and the long descent) without much incident, but without feeling very comfortable either.
So after our shopping was done, my wife Jan suggested that we take the “flat” way home — crossing the Dordogne River, driving through La Roque-Gageac, crossing back over the Dordogne, and driving through Castelnaud and then St. Cybranet. So we arrived home safely, although we had one heart-pumping incident as we entered Daglan a bit quickly, braked a bit too suddenly (to avoid another car, heading straight for us), and activated the car’s ABS system.
The problem really isn’t that we have a lot of snow — we don’t. The problem is that because there are no snow plows, and no salters, the snow gets packed down by cars and then gets icier and icier. Yesterday afternoon, for instance, I drove to the déchetterie to unload some garbage and recycling, and found it was almost impossible to leave again, simply because of a very gentle incline in the road. Finally I succeeded by backing up, getting up some speed on the flat road, and then spinning my wheels crazily as the car climbed up and over.
So the long and short of it is that we are more or less stuck. This morning, we cancelled our aquafitness program (the spa is about 18 kilometres away, with quite a few gentle hills along the way). I’m hoping that the brilliant sunshine will melt more of the ice on the roads, over the next day or two. Unfortunately, it remains quite cold, so I’m not sure how much actual melting will take place.
Meanwhile, it’s not all bleak. For instance, we’ve seen some beautiful landscapes, as in this photo of the Dordogne River that Jan took yesterday as we drove out of La Roque-Gageac:
And late yesterday afternoon, at the suggestion of her friend Julie, Jan tried out a bit of tobogganing on our street, which has a bit of a gentle slope on the way down to our house. Since we don’t actually have a toboggan, she used a metal tray, and did manage a couple of decent slides. Here she is in action:
On the plus side, we now have enough firewood in the garage — courtesy of our neighbour Vincent — to last us until we receive a major delivery of logs on Friday morning. At least, that’s when the wood is supposed to arrive.