Yesterday snow fell thick and fast, and it did it while we were asleep. It was Sunday morning – always a good excuse for the snow ploughs not to come out.

To be fair, on a morning like that the ploughs have a lot to do, and we know we’re bottom of their list, being a house at the far end of a small side street. We were snowed in, so it could’ve been time to stoke up the fire and enjoy the excuse for a lazy day. Only we were expecting guests, in a car. And we were the ones who had recommended they rent a car, assuring them that driving here is easy. Shit.

Our neighbours had understood the seriousness of the situation in the road and not wanting to miss out on their Sunday outings had already begun to clear away some of the snow. But being at the top we were dependent on everyone doing their bit along the way. We decided it was safer to instruct our guests to come in from the other end – strictly speaking a footpath not a road.

We sent them a message, trying not to alarm them too much (‘you’ve just arrived in Kiruna to pick up your car and you won’t be able to drive it up our street’), and we started shovelling. We couldn’t wait for the snow plough – it might not come until tomorrow – so we got over the feeling of injustice and just got on with it. We piled up some of the snow in the middle of the road in the other direction, blocking the usual road approach to the house. We’d instructed guests to arrive at a specific time, fearing that further snowfall might otherwise mean we had to do it twice.

We should have known what would happen. Our guests never got our messages and so came from the usual road direction, not the way we had cleared. Although they did manage to drive up the street (by this time neighbours had cleared enough of the snow away), when they were within spitting distance of us they faced the pile of snow we’d created ourselves, blocking them from reaching us. They got out their car and we greeted each other across a pile of snow. So then we had to shovel that away again to let them through.

As we turned to go into the house I saw the waving antenna of a snow plough bearing down on us, leaping spritely through the cleared area of snow we’d just laboured to create. It was if he’d been waiting around the corner until we’d cleared it for him. I waved my fist at the driver and thought he might see the funny side of it. We couldn’t see his face until he passed by, but he wasn’t smiling. ‘Just as well,’ said Rolf.