When the radio feller from AA Roadwatch says "slow down and allow extra time for your journey", do it! I left for work in dry, almost balmy (for February) weather on the morning after the DarwinDay storm had lashed the country and felled numerous trees and man-made structures. As I came over the shoulder of Tomduff Hill there was an abrupt change in the look-and-feel of the weather. You often see this in the Blackstairs: clouds roiling up to the ridge on one side and evaporating there. It must be the updrafts. The Blackstairs run North to South (more of less) so they cast a clear rain-shadow in the East away from the prevailing, wet, Atlantic, weather.
ANNyway, as I came to the top it started to flurry snow, which didn't get blizzardy or notably thick but it was enough to distract me. Down towards the flat-lands of the Midlands I motored along with a little more caution. On the last hillock before the road definitely flattens out approaching Bagnelstown and the River Barrow, there is a sharpish left turn which I always take slowly because you never know what mad lead-foot is going to be coming the other way. That morning, I was that mad lead-foot because the drain had been weeping water across the road surface all night and the snap down in temperature had frozen it to a rink. Accordingly I skated, still parallel to the direction of travel, right across the road, lost a wing and the right side of the mud-guard on the rough grass verge and then continued onwards and upward to mount a much more solid stone wall. I perched there, dazed, at a 45 degree angle for two or three seconds, and then lurched out through the door which at that angle was rather like the escape-hatch on a submarine. I started calling the usual suspects: not The Beloved because I had her phone for charging on company time but our Garagiste, and the AA, and a neighbour on whom I could count to relay the essential facts to home. I also called into work to say I'd be missing the 9am class (at least). Then I sat down to wait. It was sunny, not too cold, I was okay, Then I saw a lady walking along the road towards me. She lived in the nearest house and asked a) was I okay? and b) would I like a cup of tea? Only in Ireland. As I waited I got two more offers or tea and about a dozen enquiries about my well-being and one chap stopped looking for directions to the NCT station.
But the Grand Prize for Community Solidarity has to go to the young chap in his school uniform, who got out of a car and suggested that the AA were never going to pull me off the ditch with their underpowered overladen van and would it help if he went back to get the family tractor. I said "sure"; he trotted off to the "over there - first house on the left beyond the cross". and returned with said tractor and a strap which we threaded round the axel. Two-six heave, and I was down on the road again; the engine was working and so was the steering so I parked in neat enough close to the verge and he went away. Ten minutes later he reappeared still driving the tractor - clearly he was going to drive it to school as he was already late and had missed his lift. Hat's Off. That chap is going to go far, and everyone around him will be better off for his presence.