Half past four in the afternoon and it's still snowing. It has been snowing steadily all day and although I cleared the front steps yesterday - and two wheel tracks down the drive in the over-optimistic hope that I might soon get the car on the road - it is now impossible to see any difference between the cleared bits and the uncleared. About eight this morning I saw a guy from up the road drive his Range Rover up, stopping every so often to shovel grit from the back. But he needn't have bothered - it's completely buried by now. It was about lunchtime that buses started running fairly near to us and the 5B is apparently still going, albeit by a different route from usual. The service 26 has been withdrawn "due to deteriorating conditions on Ditchling Road".
And so we come to my challenge for tomorrow. I have an appointment with my dentist at five past noon. This is a follow-up to my pre-Christmas appointment when he attached a temporary crown to a tooth pending the manufacture of a permanent one. This would not normally take a month, but my dentist commutes between England and Malta (I must pay him too much) and he has been spending four weeks on the island. Tomorrow is his first day back at work - if he manages to get back to England. Many flights to and from England have been cancelled because of the weather. It's not just the snow, the visibility is very low as well.
My challenge is to get to the dentist's surgery, which is on the other side of the city. On normal conditions I would estimate the walking time between my house and the Blatchington Road surgery as about an hour and a half, maybe a bit more. I would usually drive, but that's not likely to be an option. Failing that, I can catch a bus about a quarter of a mile from the house and get off only a couple of hundred yards from the dentist's. I have no idea how long the journey would take but I would guess at about 40 or 45 minutes. If the buses are running.
In other circumstances I would be tempted to defer the appointment but things are such that I need to see a dentist. And soon. I think I have developed an abscess as I am unable to close my upper and lower sets to chew. Which makes eating difficult. Very difficult. I was most annoyed yesterday not to be able to eat the gammon steak for dinner, and the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding will not be gracing my plate this evening. I have subsisted on spaghetti in tomato sauce and biscuits which dissolve when sucked long enough with the occasional cube of chocolate to provide variety. Tonight, the Old Bat will boil my potatoes (so I can mash them) instead of roasting (which I much prefer) and she has offered to purée the vegetables. Dessert will be a mousse. As we are due to go to France on Thursday you will understand my anxiety to get this matter cleared up.
So I will get up a little earlier than usual - just in case. After walking the dog I will ring the surgery to see if there is a dentist available to see me. I will then check to see if the buses are running and, if they are, what route they are using. If there are no buses I will set off at about 10, quoting Captain Oates' famous words: "I may be some time".