Tonight, winter descended on south east England and thousands of drivers who had never driven in real snow joined an endless car park. Our friend Jo, who's eight months pregnant, took three hours to drive as many miles locally.
I was lucky. After a very slow exit from the M40 at Beaconsfield, I took the bold decision to take a narrow country lane, Potkiln Lane, which crosses a very steep Chiltern valley. I figured it could save me an hour or more as the main roads were gridlocked. At first, it looked like a bad move. The cars in front were sliding down the hill. But my luck held. I avoided the patch of ice that caused their slide, drove very slowly - and made it to the bottom.
But that wasn't the end of the story. The climb out of the valley defeated a series of cars, and I turned round and took the road along the bottom of the valley, Longbottom Lane, towards Seer Green. The next question: would the climb up to Seer Green be passable? I crept up the hill, easing off power when the wheels started to slip. As I reached the top, I knew it was a simple, if slow, drive to our village.
I'm glad I'm patient. But I'm even more pleased I bought a Mini, which coped magnificently with my biggest winter driving challenge since I passed my test almost 20 years ago.