I shouldn’t go on about Hollins of Marple, but where would we be without them? Well, probably exactly where I am now, tucked up inside Number 72 with a warm word-processor. Logs are crackling in the flame-effect fire, the boys are burning up the Broadband, and Mrs M is nowhere to be seen, so she and Bono have probably cracked open the Thornton’s that I hid after Christmas in case of Lent or dieting.
My point is that, without Hollins, "everything for home and garden", I would be getting very anxious about ever getting out of number 72. The snow is deep, and getting crisper by the minute. A Corolla has been practising figure skating on Town Street. They say that this spot of global warming (sorry: extreme weather event) could go on for weeks.
But Hollins’ plastic snow shovel has saved our bacon at 66! I bought it when we lived up in Moor End. I had reached an age when part of me wanted a Land Rover, but at £4.95 or thereabouts, and free road tax, the shovel won on points. It kept snow away from our door most years without coming out of the coal shed: Moor End wasn’t quite as wild and exciting as the Estate Agent claimed.
Still, I got the knack of the shovel. I can clear a metre strip of fresh snow in no time, which is a good thing because we have had 6 inches down in the Bridge today.
I have been trudging up and down the snowy steps of our leisure centre for days now, on my way to its great little gym where I am trying to shed the Christmas pudding.
Our leisure centre is a modern organisation. It takes access very seriously. It has an accessible ramp leading to an accessible powered sliding door. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have access to £4.95 for a shovel from Hollins, or to grit. Or perhaps it has them, but needs a little more gumption.
The consequence is, that after 3 or 4 days of white stuff and frost, the leisure centre steps and ramp were covered in packed ice. Someone had scratched at it with a stainless steel spade, which had been left across the opening of the accessible powered sliding door. Two orange traffic cones completed the display.
Today, the leisure centre is closed due to staff shortage and adverse weather. Get well soon! We need you.
Grit and Gumption Awards now to our Winter Warriors:
• to Jon, our milkman, for bringing pintas to the back door
• to Marple Bridge Pharmacy, for staying open for our essential prescriptions
• to Marple Bridge Post Office, for its lovely warm displays of mags to thaw out with
• to our newsboy and our postman, for regular deliveries. And to the van driver who left the “while you were out” message. Sorry I was on the phone.
• To Environmental Services, who picked up two weeks worth of blue sacks on Saturday. There’s no hurry for the recycling: the new bins are brilliant.
• To the Cooperative Superstore who have kept heroic opening hours all over Christmas and New Year, but unfortunately forgot to tell us.
And of course to Hollins. Talking of grit, I wonder if they have any in stock. No one else does.