Yes, folks, the troops were called in to dig us all out. Actually they only live up the hill but they came willingly and equipped with shovels and picks. Not sure why the blacked-up faces were necessary – but it did lend extra excitement to the proceedings.
Having donned at least 10 layers of clothing I set out at lunch time to get some supplies. Ploughing through the drifts was the easy part; getting to the supermarché and finding it closed was much harder to stomach. Luckily the Catalan bar/restaurant was open and a window seat provided a front row view of all activity.
We’ve been on ‘orange’ emergency alert since early Tuesday morning apparently. With the skies unleashing the first March snow storm in 35 years, the whole area has been pretty much cut off. Today, the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue and cloudless but there is not too much sign yet of a major thaw.
Gathered in the middle of the road is a large group of municipal workers, gendarmes and now, the soldiers. Locals and tourists alike have come out from their prolonged lock-in and are now gathering outside the bar to cheer on the diggers. Spirits are high and there is a great deal of bonhomie, partly due to amount of spirits being lowered.
After much loud discussion, a huge amount of gesticulation and some cheerful advice thrown in by onlookers, the officials finally get to work on clearing the snow. And, before long, there is a 100 foot long track about the width of a tyre running down the right hand side of the road. And that’s it. I can only conclude that they are expecting an influx of motor cyclists over the next while.
We’ve been downgraded now to a ‘yellow’ alert which, I gather, means be on alert in case there is an emergency alert. There has been no further snow but neither is the melting process gathering momentum. The only danger I can see now is from people knocking large chunks of impacted snow from their roofs and terraces onto the ground below and failing to shout ‘fore!’, or somesuch. I really didn’t need a large iceberg landing on top of my hat. It’s not a good look.