Memo to self: do not book early morning trains in winter. This morning, happy to see that it hadn't snowed overnight, I set out for Poitiers at 7.00am but swerved to a terrifying halt - narrowly avoiding a ditch - just half a kilometre out of my village.
The problem was black ice. It had rained lightly on frozen ground, turning the main road to Poitiers into the proverbial skating rink.
Several other cars and a lorry in front of me had done the same thing, pulling over with their hazard lights on. And there we remained, waiting for a gritting lorry and/or daylight, shivering in the darkness by the roadside. There was no chance of catching my TGV and Eurostar to London, but nor was it safe to turn around.
Those cars that were battling on were travelling at 20km an hour - in France! - which gives you an idea of how bad it was.
I thought about abandoning the car and walking back home but eventually the gendarmes arrived and indicated a safe place to turn 500km up the road.
I eventually crawled home in first gear to book new train tickets for this afternoon, by which time, hopefully, the roads will have been gritted. Or maybe not. In which case - oh dear! - I won't be able to make it back to London for (among other things) root canal treatment.