Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

Stranded BBC News website readers on being snowed-in

Freezing temperatures around the UK have disrupted the lives of many people as they have found themselves stranded in their homes or even at work.

Here a selection of BBC News website readers explain how the heavy snow and icy winds have affected their lives.

Allan and Sandra Breen  (pic: Johanna Breen)
The Breens are trying to cope with the wintry conditions Pic: Johanna Breen

Homemaker Sandra Breen is fast running out of milk.

She has just one pint left and is guarding it fiercely, telling her husband Allan and daughter Johanna they're banned from eating cereal as the milk has to last them however long they remain snowed in their house in the tiny hamlet of Westridge Green in Berkshire.

She said: "We live near a primary route - the B4009 from Newbury to Goring but whereas you would normally see lots of cars passing by, all we've seen are a couple of 4x4s and two vans.

"The council say they have gritted the road but we've been outside and it's almost impassable.

"We live three miles away from our nearest shop and we've not been able to pick up any supplies since Tuesday. I've had to resort to making ingredients stretch so instead of having an omelette, quiche is on the menu as I can freeze it and we can eat it later.

The Breens
The Breens try to clear the pathway. Pic: Johanna Breen

"We've managed to stay in touch with the others in the hamlet via the phone and e-mail but everybody is in the same boat.

"We haven't had any post in a while because it is too difficult for the postman to get to us.

"Luckily the local farmer is heading to the community shop on Saturday and he's told us he will collect supplies for all of us. It is an extremely kind gesture.

"It is hard being cooped up in the house so we have tried to go on little walks. The snow is pretty to look at but the weather is making our lives a lot harder.

"For example my husband has had to go up near to the roof and take old clothes up there to provide extra insulation while the icy conditions have somehow set off my fire alarm so that it keeps going off every few hours. It is very annoying."

Jenny Wright and her son Kehyarn
Jenny Wright and her son Kehyarn are among those affected by the snow

Single mum Jenny Wright is not a big fan of the ice after almost slipping on it just metres away from her front door in Plaistow in London.

"I have stayed indoors since Wednesday as I'm just too scared to go out now.

"I was able to take my three-year-old son Kehyarn to nursery that day and walk in the snow but after dropping him off, I had my accident.

"I have arthritis in my right hip and lower back and I feel vulnerable. I don't want to hurt myself but I don't know to stop myself sliding. I'm just too scared to go out.

"The problem is that the other day my card was swallowed as I tried to take money out of an ATM. I'm supposed to go to the bank but I don't know how I'm going to make it.

"I can't even buy sensible shoes on the internet to go out in as I don't have the money to do it.

"I'm waiting for my friends to be free so that they can come round and help me but until the ice thaws and the snow goes, I'm going to stay inside."

Bob Upton
Bob Upton takes a stoic approach to the weather

Bob Upton lives in one of the coldest towns in Britain - Braemar.

But even this scientist working in the oil industry has been shocked by the freezing temperatures the three thermometers in his house have been displaying. At one point the temperature was at -21C (-5.8F)

His house is covered in icicles and he has been losing out on pay because it is too dangerous for him to travel the 60 miles (96.5km) to work in Aberdeen.

"However here we are used to the cold and we try to get on with things as much as we can.

"Although at the moment the conditions are rather bad so most of the local primary schools are closed.

"But we plan in advance. I have a wood store filled with a stockpile from the summer but that is going at an extremely fast rate. We're also burning oil and ensuring the tanks are never allowed to go dry.

"We have lots of stocks and supplies of food although getting fresh vegetables does prove to be a bit of a problem.

"But it's about being sensible. Everyone here is dressed as if they were going on a trip to Everest. Nearly every child here has a full ski gear set and we all look like Michelin men.

"But the weather does not stop us from living our lives. My 12-year-old daughter Niamh still plans to go to judo despite the cold."

Cars stuck on the A9. Pic: John Clotworthy
John Clotworthy had to get in his sleeping bag on the A9

Frances Oates and John Clotworthy are worried about the longer-term effects the harsh weather conditions will have on their businesses - the Loch Ewe Distillery and Drumchork Hotel in Aultbea in the north west Highlands.

Frances says the pair were in Ayrshire when they decided to return to check up on their businesses.

"We had real serious problems getting up here. At one point John got stuck on the A9 and had to use sleeping bags to bed down in his vehicle on the road. It took us hours to get here.

"We're now completely stuck.

We're really worried about the state of distillery as the cooling tubs are completely frozen up. Our beer line is frozen and our internet is intermittent.

"We've never seen anything like this and have no idea what its going to mean for our business when it eventually all thaws out. Alcohol is not meant to freeze like this.

"It is just the two of us and our dogs up here in our hotel. As we're on a hill nobody can get to us. Our takings are down and normally we would have lots of visitors right now but right now there is nobody around.

"We can't even send out our orders as there has been no post for ages.

"It may be pretty outside but I don't know how this is going to affect our business."

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