Dunblane: Big Freeze 2010

Woke up this morning and its dark. Looking out I can see the streetlights across the glen: Holmehill Court stands out, the Hydro above that and further up the lights at Dykedale Farm. Twenty minutes later I’m up the park with the Shitzu. Theres a hint of dawn over Dumyat, a faint glow (tho thats maybe flaring at Ineos).

The sun will eventually rise around 9am through the smoke over Grangemouth , climb pathetically in the sky for a while then sink behind the Campsies less than seven hours later. Seven hours! But today is a dreich drab day in Dunblane and its dark by 3pm.

I remember my dad talking of the long summer nights we have in Scotland. My uncle, who had travelled far and wide, agreed but added that everywhere in the world has the same hours of daylight each year. Very profound that. If you lived on the equator in say Colombia or Kenya, then you have daylight 7am til 7pm every day of the year. However in Dunblane, we have long summer nights but the winters days are very short. Very short.

So now, in mid December the sun barely reaches our street. In cold spells, cars in Braemar Avenue can sit frozen for days or even weeks. In fact, in December 2010, my car sat for 2 weeks under a foot of snow. An igloo. The snowplough came along but this just created snowbanks next to my car. Our neighbours tenaciously dug out their cars whilst I sat looking oot the windae, drinking hot chocolate/McEwans Export. As a result my car got hemmed in by piles of snow. It was great.

Ah the winter of 2010, the Big Freeze ! We walked out to the island on the Lake that December. But what I mind most of that winter was the community spirit. We dug each others drives, we put grit and salt down, we got the messages for each other….we even helped a numpty in a BMW who got stuck in our street. The Old Doune Road was busy as folk wandered down to the shops, blethering to old friends they’d not spoke to in years. Bairns in sledges too, sledges which were then used to carry the shopping home wi a greetin faced wean in tow.

“Haw Maw, why kin ah no’ go in the sledge?”

“Coz theres 24 cans Export an’ 4 bottles ae wine in there. Now keep walking.”

The schools closed for 2 weeks I think. In fact, Scotland closed doon. Frozen tracks, fallen trees, snowbound runways, frozen pitches, fallen lines , snowbound vehicles etc etc. We tend to laugh at London when they freak out at two inches of snow but we’re really no much better.

This winter has given us a bigger problem. Our present situation with COVID-19 is similar in a strange kind of way. Many folks are stuck at home and we really need to look out for the old and vulnerable. Its what defines us as a society. As in 2010, the community spirit is there : folks are helping each other, getting their messages, delivering soup and cakes to auld yins.

Is there a moral to this nonsensical rambling story I hear you ask ? Look after the auld yins or we lose our self respect. We need to live with ourselves after this is all over.

And don’t eat yellow snow.

PS There was panic buying in 2010 too, just not bogroll, more like Export and wine as anecdotal evidence would suggest (gin not being a thing in 2010).

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