Half a century later, shivers from big freeze linger
The last of our readers' memories of that long-running and freezing winter are published today.
We remember the blizzards bridging 1962/63 well!
Our eldest son was ten months old and we had been to Copplestone on our Ariel motorbike and sidecar to spend Boxing Day with my parents. On returning to Yeoford in the early evening, there was black ice on the railway bridge, and we skidded in a figure eight! By the next morning the blizzard was raging.
My husband also had a solo Triumph motor bike on which he managed to squeeze through snowdrifts, for many weeks, using his legs as skis to reach the main road, so that he could get to work in Exeter.
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Weekends were spent walking two miles to visit my husband's parents on their farm, or around the lanes surrounding Yeoford.
We had a weekly delivery by a grocery van, using snow chains during this spell of snow and ice. Our family knew the driver well, so when he visited my parents on a Monday, they would give a parcel of goodies for us, which he brought to us the following Thursday. How we looked forward to his visit each week!
We didn't get out of Yeoford as a family on the motor bike and sidecar until March 1. Even then, many side roads were still blocked and we always carried a garden spade to clear accumulated snow and ice, for us to get through.
Mrs Lorna Warren
In the big freeze of 1963, I was a 15-year-old schoolboy glad I had moved into long trousers!
I can remember a biting easterly gale, and joining other people carrying buckets of water up our road from a neighbour's supply that was not frozen. These were then carried up and tipped into the header tank in the attic.
My father and a plumber dug out and cut the water pipe at the base of the garden wall where it was not frozen, about 20 yards from the house, and attached a tap and hose which ran up into the attic. This was dismantled after every top up.
I can remember father cranking the Hillman Minx with the handle in the mornings and seeing the memorable sight of eight lapwings on the lawn in the snow.
In 1962/63 I was a naval wife, my husband stationed at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, with a son born in 1960.
Once the snow had started just after Boxing Day, my friend, Margaret, went into labour with her fourth child. The midwife could not get to us so I helped my goddaughter into a snowy world! We lived on the naval caravan site across the A303 from the Air Station. We were more fortunate than those in quarters at Ilchester as, thanks to the lads from the camp who fetched coal from Sparkford station, our stove stayed in from October to April.
To keep water available, a standpipe was kept running. Anyone passing, knocked the icicles off! Our chemical toilets were normally emptied overnight but being frozen it was quite a problem. It was quite a relief when the snow finally cleared.