The last week has not been a pleasant one because of the cold weather. And I don’t mean personal discomfort from cold or snow – not directly anyway. I guess I’m one of those people who dons chunky boots and sweaters and just gets on with life. I don’t even mind driving in the stuff, with the one caveat – that I am more nervous of what other drivers will do, and rightly so.
Last Sunday, after snow on damp roads and a subsequent freeze, we woke up to roads with a glass-like coating of ice. Main roads were fine – they were gritted. Coming home late afternoon we turned into a side road where the ice was still intact and that’s where it happened, just approaching a T-junction. Another car (driving far too fast on what was effectively sheet ice) braked, only partially made the turn and hit the driver’s side wheel (I wasn’t driving). Luckily no-one was hurt but our wheel was left at a 40º angle from vertical so that we had difficulty even pushing the car to the side of the road where we had to leave it. We were less than a mile from home and chose to walk. Actually it was a lovely walk though the suburbs on crunchy snow and looking up at snow-covered hills, or would have been if it was for another reason.
We are waiting to hear if the car will be written off (bent axle?) or is repairable, but garages, repair people and insurance companies are busy – ten times the usual rate of accidents I believe in this cold and snowy weather.
After two weeks of cold and ice and snow, the thaw set in on Thursday and was very rapid. Coming out into a green world again after work was weird; quite different from the frozen one I had left to go into my building in the morning. The pavement (sidewalk) where I had slipped and fallen the day before (despite chunky boots with sensible soles) felt strangely hard under my feet, and all the roads were left covered with irt (ex-snirt as in snow+dirt).
On Friday morning I turned on the shower and… nothing. Low water pressure. I knew exactly what that meant, and sure enough there was a river of water running out of the garage. Despite good lagging where a pipe runs through the garage to the washing machine in the utility room, I guess it is a vulnerable spot. We’d been complacent because of the boiler in the utility room and we assumed enough heat leaking into the garage. We didn’t even know the pipe had frozen. What a gusher! It was like a fountain.
Now the worst part of it is that in the last three weeks a lot of our possessions had gone into the garage as chez Jones is getting a long overdue internal coat of paint. So the garage had boxes and bags of all those excess bits and bobs that families tend to accumulate, although no large pieces of furniture thankfully. We’ve rescued what we can, but mould has set in already, and we have ordered a skip. When you see items sitting in a soggy pile it does rather focus the mind on what is really of value. Unfortunately many of the most irreplaceable things, like photo albums, are ruined and that is that. Still, I look at the two children making chocolate muffins in the kitchen then I think back to Sunday’s minor accident and count my blessings.
I see the cold weather is set to return – somehow I think even more preparation is in order this time, and I think we’d better get used to it.