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Snowed in

The weather warnings have been pretty specific – expect heavy snow all day today. Since I live right up on the hills, it was very likely that I’d get snowed in. It’s not just the steep main road which is the problem. I also have a rather steep section of my drive to get off the main road, which is really tricky in the snow. So even if the main road is passable, I still have trouble getting onto and off my drive.

So yesterday lunchtime I thought it would be prudent to nip to the local shops to make sure I had enough food in for a few days. I hadn’t really taken note that a “convenience store” had opened just outside the pedestrian entrance to work – I always drive in so rarely go past that entrance. But it proved very helpful yesterday. They’d had a run of customers stocking up, as I was (I’m not going to say “panic buying”!) so there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. But I managed to get some milk, eggs, onions and tomatoes and yoghurt. I have a bread maker, plenty of pasta and some veg in the larder, and a packet of mince in the freezer, so that should be enough to keep me going for a few days until I can get to a shop.

I woke up this morning, and was glad I’d made preparations and arranged to work from home today. There is over 3″ of snow already, and it’s still coming down. The main road hasn’t been ploughed, and the only vehicles going past are tractors, 4x4s, and the occasional lorry – all very slowly. It’s eerily quiet in fact. I’ll go out later with my snow shovel and clear the worst of the snow off the drive – not because I’m going anywhere in a hurry, but because the deeper it gets, the harder it is to clear it away. It’s physically easier to clear half the depth twice, than to wait until it’s stopped and try to clear all the snow in one go.

My biggest concern is the central heating. There is a distinct design flaw with the installation of the condensing boiler. The condensate is drained via a pipe into the guttering outside the kitchen and thence into the drains. But if the gutter gets blocked with snow and ice, the water in the pipe can’t drain away and freezes in situ, and the central heating then locks out. We first discovered this problem when Chris was first ill, three years ago. He had to go up a ladder with my hairdryer to unfreeze the pipe, so that we could get the heating restarted. Subsequently, we had the drainage pipe cut off short of the guttering to reduce chances of it getting blocked. But the snow was so deep this morning that I was rather concerned the problem would reoccur. So I got out the step ladder and cleared the snow out of the gutter outside the kitchen. I’ll have to keep an eye on it, as I really don’t want to be without heating, and with the roads this bad there’s no way a heating engineer would get here easily!

{ 1 } Comments

  1. pauld | 19 January 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    “There is a distinct design flaw with the installation of the condensing boiler”

    personally i’d try to avoid having one of these boilers as long as possible, too complicated, too much to go wrong. If it was me, i’d make a portable extension to the overflow pipe so it passes over the gutter, or i might even modify it so it drains into a bowl indoors.