There must be a certain smugness on the face of some 4×4 drivers, the rugged capabilities of whose vehicles seemed never likely to be put to the test. This week, even Chelsea has been a bit slithery, and its ‘tractors’ have come into their own. I could have done with one, when sliding around some Welsh hillsides before Christmas. I nearly experienced some hours of forced companionship with a Tesco driver whose van had got stuck. At least we would have had plenty of food to keep us going. After several attempts, the car managed to claw its way back up the icy slope down which we’d come, but it was a close thing.

Heavens, Oxford looked beautiful in the snow when I was there for the Farming Conference. The courts of the colleges were perfect, unblemished squares of deep, downy white. Miniature snowdrifts built up on the bicycles chained by walls. It was not somewhere to linger, however: the car had become an igloo by the time I found it, and it snowed all the way home. Unable to go anywhere, I now find myself with some unexpected time on my hands. I could write a novel. No, I’ll make pea-and-ham soup. If the supermarket shelves go bare, we might need it.

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