Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Your stories of being stranded by the snow

As fresh snow caused more schools to be closed and led to more transport chaos, readers told the BBC News website how they were stranded in their homes, cars and college.

BRIAN JARVIS, DEVON

Brian Jarvis was one of hundreds of people stuck for hours in a blizzard on the A38 at Haldon Hill near Exeter during rush hour on Tuesday.

The self-employed courier spent more than five hours in a tailback at the bottom of the hill.

"I was doing the 14-mile journey home from Exeter to Torquay. I got to Haldon Hill about 4.45pm. I hit a block of traffic and had only moved about 100 yards by 6pm. But from 6pm to 11.25pm I was stuck in traffic waiting to go up the hill.

"It was snowing at the top of the hill and there was no way of getting the emergency services up the hill as all three lanes of the road were solid.

"I left the engine running and it didn't use much fuel. I listened to BBC Radio Devon as people were phoning in from the traffic jam. I stayed in the warm."

Dartmoor Mountain Rescue moved through the jam to check that everyone was okay but he said he was fine in his Mercedes van.

Many of the deliveries I made were to people who had not had them since Christmas because of the snow
Brian Jarvis, courier

Mr Jarvis, 36, said the emergency services did all they could to respond quickly.

However, he thinks more could have been done to improve the road after exactly the same thing happened there in the snow last February.

"They said then it was freak cold weather. But we knew the snow was coming this time.

"If they had put in a hard shoulder they could have got the snow ploughs up and the emergency services could have got through quicker."

Once the emergency services got through, the fire service had to pull cars over the top of the hill out of deep snow and quad bikes were brought in to help with the rescue.

Mr Jarvis said he was prepared, with a shovel in the back of his van, and he had a phone on him to call home but there was nothing he could do to get out of the traffic queue once he was there.

Fish and chips

"Some say people are foolish to drive in the snow when it was forecast but I had been out delivering parcels including medical goods.

"Many of the deliveries I made were to people who had not had them since Christmas because of the snow."

He had been looking forward to a fish and chip supper but had to make do with a kebab as the shop was shut by the time he got home after midnight.

LAURA HUMMERSONE, HAMPSHIRE

Single mother Laura Hummersone, 36, has been stuck in her home in Cove for the best part of eight days with her five-year-old son Harry, who has special needs.

She said: "Cabin fever kicked in by the end of the first day and now, a week later, I feel very low, exhausted and totally trapped and helpless.

"I can't get my car out and stations are too far away," she said.

Her 15-minute walk with her son to his school has taken one and a half hours, when it has been open.

She has been unable to get to work about 15 miles away in Bracknell as an assistant to a NHS Trust chief executive and is unable to work from home because she cannot log on to the system. So instead she has had to use up annual leave.

It's mind-numbingly boring. You feel like you are imprisoned
Laura Hummersone

She had to cancel the short break she had booked with some of her leave to Center Parcs because she could not get there.

"I've only been to the supermarket once and I don't know when I'll go again."

When she did get to the supermarket, which is several miles away, there was little to choose from.

"I haven't been able to get fruit and there is no hope of vegetables," she said.

She has instead been relying on her local newsagents for provisions but they ran out of milk for a few days.

She has faced power cuts on several days and worries about high heating bills and boredom.

"It's mind-numbingly boring. You feel like you are imprisoned."

She has tried to keep herself busy tidying her garage, rearranging her CDs and cleaning her windows but has now had enough.

"It's unusual to be desperate to get to work," she said.

She and her son did get some enjoyment from the snow, making an igloo together.

But she said: "By Wednesday the novelty had worn off."

JAMES MORTIMORE, HAMPSHIRE

Student James Mortimore, from Hook, managed to struggle into Alton College on a bus this morning after checking the college website to see if it was going to be open.

But when the 17-year-old arrived he found no teachers had made it in and his bus was the only one to have made it through the snow.

"My exams are two weeks away. I was annoyed. I did get an e-mail later from my teacher who was stuck in the snow with work to do."

Some other pupils who were due to sit exams today were able to take them.

James meanwhile spent most of his day in the college library revising as he was unable to get another bus home until the end of the day.

He is now hoping that his exams in a few weeks' time will not be cancelled.


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