THURSDAY March 1st was a bad day for Dorset traffic-wise.

At 2.45 pm my wife Janet and I were heading for Poole Hospital for an appointment at 4.15 pm, a journey that would normally take 20 minutes.

The A348 Ringwood Road had been gritted, so the road was reasonably slushy but the volume of traffic was so great that we were going quite slow.

We arrived at the hospital with 10 minutes to spare. Fortunately, most patients appeared to have cancelled their appointments as we were in and out within 15 minutes.

But once we got back on the road the trouble started.

Travelling along Parkstone Road from the hospital towards the municipal building took us four hours, a journey of about four miles.

When we stopped again I explained to Janet that I needed the toilet badly, having been in the car that long. Looking out of the window I saw a lady who had just returned from walking her dog.

I got out quickly and Janet parked the car on the pavement out of the way of the traffic.

Knocking on the door a man answered, probably wondering who was calling at 10 o`clock. I explained my situation and he kindly took me upstairs.

Returning, his wife offered me a cup of tea and a slice of her apple cake and invited Janet to come in to share it. Explaining our situation to them, who by now were introduced as Roger and Julie, we were then given baked beans on toast to sustain us.

Julie left the room and came back to tell us that they had a spare bedroom and that it had just been made up if we needed it.

At 11 o`clock they were late going to bed so we thankfully said a relieved thank you, yes, we would.

In the morning, Julie made us breakfast and Roger, who could not go to work because of the icy conditions, went out and de-iced the car.

Half an hour later we were on our way.

I am 85 years old and I don't think I would have survived staying in the car overnight under those icy conditions. So a big thank you to Roger and Julie for their generous help, and to all those other Samaritans out working to clear paths, push sliding cars along the road, taking food into elderly neighbours, doing their shopping, the list goes on and on.


Leybourne Avenue, Bournemouth