Winter Wonderland in autumn - Margaret's Adventure

Are you thinking of Christmas, have you made your lists, and planning for the all the festive opportunities?

Is it really the 30th of November 2010, surely I have the month wrong, no I have checked the diary and the newspaper and it is right. Why am I unsure? I have just woken up at 05.30hrs, and feel the stillness in the air that only comes with the laying of snow, surely not! I look out of my bedroom window and it is a winter wonderland.

The air is fresh, the tree tops and everything else is covered in virgin snow and glistens on the early morning street lamp, and it's breathtaking. Then the reality hits me, it's a working day and the car is nicely buried in the garage, with no hope of driving. Oh well, wanted to lose a couple of pounds before Christmas and shanks pony here I come. I wrap up warm and set off to walk the 6 miles to work at Sarina Russo Job Access full of enthusiasm and vigour. The light is just breaking through as I leave and the silence is eerie. I meet a couple of like minded people on the way, and we speak and exchange pleasantries. Why is it we only make the effort to communicate with our fellow man in adversity, any other time we are too busy to even acknowledge each other.

Gradually the light comes up and world begins to come to life, slowly and with caution. It has taken me one and half hours to get to the office and the building is very welcoming, by this time I am like toast and in need of the facilities, it is 08.20hrs. As I open the door and turn off the alarm, the phones are ringing. I run from one phone to the other as they ring and take a message about not being able to get in, (make a note must talk to Lachlan about all calls coming through one phone), I am running around the office in manic mode and have just walked all that way, by this time I have my legs crossed, so pleased to see another team member arrive. Three of the team are unable to get in, due to there villages being snowed in and together we work as one and work with the customers that come in, which is many, at 2 pm we manage to get something to eat, what an effort by all.  At 3.30pm we call it a day as the snow is coming down hard and the roads are deteriorating. Oh well, let's get home, this time all up hill, deep joy.

Wednesday morning arrives and it is time to take the long walk in, at least it is downhill in the morning. I arrive at work and again the phones are ringing, and one customer is quite indignant that they have had to ring twice, (08.25 am), to let me know they can't get in! The team arrives and we have yet another busy morning, ringing providers, doing job search and travel and C.V's, and we get a job, it is all worthwhile. The day is horrid and dark and the sky is full of snow and JCP have gone home, its time to face that hill again.

Thursday is here, have you seen outside, and where did that come from, even more snow. The Police and motoring authorities are telling me stay home and not venture out, I am sorely tempted as the novelty of walking up and down the hill is wearing thin, but how can I let the customers and team down, so off I go again. If I thought it was hard going the last two days, nothing prepares me for this track. Every muscle and joint is aching; oh I wish I was twenty years younger! On arriving at the office I have to dig my way into the front door, and go find some old cardboard to put on the floor to soak up the wet and dirty foot prints, I as so pleased the office is warm. All trains and buses have stopped and the town centre is totally devoid of anyone and the silence is deafening. The same great team arrive and we laugh and joke and take the pictures you now see to share with our colleagues in fall flung places. Two customers arrive, is this madness or the need of a good cup of coffee and our wonderful warmth, we help the customers and send them on there way and get down to in putting everything we can on RESMAN, (yes we did work). It is time to leave and the thought of the walk is dreadful. We all leave together and complete part of the journey chatting and then we go our separate ways and the long slog continues. I am heartened on my journey, as a pass a local beauty spot and see and hear the laughter of children tobogganing and enjoy the beautiful day, it makes me walk with a lighter step and the joy of having the health to undertake the walk.

Friday arrives and at least we have had very little snow overnight, but we now have freezing fog. This makes me shiver when setting out and I do not like the atmosphere. I reach the main road and see that more vehicles are moving and to my joy I see a bus and can ride part of the way. We all stand at the bus stop with a tale to tell, one more harrowing than the last, just let me have a seat it's awful out here. We arrive at the town centre and the buses are having to stop any where as the station is snowed in, what is a five minute walk. I arrive and the phones are silent, the team arrive and then our two stalwarts. Should I go to the bank and get money in readiness for Monday when we return to normal, yes, yet another walk. We continue with RESMAN, catch up on few jobs and start ringing the referrals for the induction for next week. It's time to go home and I must say I am not sorry, so pleased the buses are running. We speak to Job Centre Plus and Sarina Russo Job Access was the only Provider to stay open all week, just proves the dedication and commitment of the team.

Thanks to all the team for turning up and supporting the customers and I look forward to the next time when the snow comes in winter.