Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Let it snow


It's old news but I'm going to document it to save arguments down the line. It finally snowed properly in London two weeks ago. It was the first time we've had a substantial snow fall in 14 months - I know this because the the last time we had one I promptly bought a sledge, which then sat in the garage gathering dust until February 5th, 2012. Fortunately the snow fell overnight on the Saturday, so Sunday was spent sledging, the kids built a snowman next door (cheers Simon) and then I slow roasted an aromatic five-spiced shoulder of pork. I can't believe I was a vegetarian for so long.


Our local park looked like a massive expanse of apres ski and everyone was beaming from ear-to-ear. Great how inclement weather gets the Brits in a good mood.

The snow of course affected our boiler - the condensation pipe was hanging away from the brass pipes, and water was steadily dripping into a saucepan. Our gas fitter was busy until Tuesday but duly came around (on time too!) and declared the pipe OK. It's meant to hang. Of course by then it had stopped dripping. Turns out the outside pipe had frozen so the water was coming back down the condensation pipe instead of draining off. The solution is to insulate the outdoor pipe with something. The gas fitter wouldn't accept payment. I love that guy. If you need a gas fitter/boiler man in London I'll happily pass on his details. (Contact me via Twitter)

The snow also affected our Volvo - turns out 7 onboard computers (?) use up battery power in a month, and not driving it drains the battery, especially in the cold. I'd have thought Volvo of all cars would be OK left in the snow but apparently not. Maybe I left the heated seat thing on. Oh well. Another thing to deal with.

Finally, the snow meant we were stuck indoors gawping at our walls and we decided to hang some artwork up. Only we didn't have all the bits that you need so had to order a bunch of supplies. Three framed pictures are up, but the rest were left leaning on a cabinet. Which unfortunately wobbled when I put something away... causing the largest unhung picture to topple forward, bringing down another 3 like dominoes. The smash was extraordinary and the shower of glass was something else. I now have to take 4 pictures to the local framers and sort them out, and then get them hung before anything else happens to them.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Enter the dragon


Chinese New Year came around quickly - January 23rd, the last two years it's been in February. Serves me right for suggesting we launch a work project to co-incide with Chinese New Year, but thankfully despite the the tight time frame it launched OK.

Another project I want dealt with before the Chinese New Year is out is our downstairs bathroom/utility room, but it's early February and still not much to report. The builders came back with a quote of £8k but this could've escalated depending how difficult it is to find waste pipes under the concrete. We've decided to go back to Plan A which is to expand the existing downstairs cloakroom to accommodate a shower, and separate the utility room from the garage. The builders popped round last night and discussed plumbing some more, and suggested ways of improving the water pressure so now we're waiting on a revised quote.


In the meantime, winter has finally kicked in with the current outdoor temparature at -3 degrees (Celcius). It might even snow at long last. Great time for the boiler to start leaking everywhere - it's got a condensation pipe that's not attached properly any more (deteriorating sealant or something?). I've been texting the guy who installed it all day but he's busy. And it's Saturday tomorrow, eep. (Pictured: the canal near our house, with ice!)


This morning this fluffy fox was right up against the glass doors peering in. I showed him my (vintage) rabbit fur coat and mouthed 'You're next' and he promptly walked to my rosemary bush, lifted a leg and pissed on it. I feel a fox war coming on.