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An unconventional use for a hot water bottle

Well, as expected it did snow last night. Not in Malvern itself, particularly. That was largely clear. However, there was a very clear snow line half way up the Hills, and I was well above it.

My drive wasn’t too bad. The worst bit was the steep slope directly off the road. That had about a centimetre of snow sitting on a thin layer of ice. It looked as if the snow had fallen in waves overnight, and the first batch had thawed slightly then refrozen when the second wave started. I used the snow shovel on the slope to clear it as much as I could, then opened a new bag of rock salt and scattered that liberally to help melt the black ice.

The bigger problem was the car. That had nearly 5cm of fairly loose snow covering it, with an underlying layer of rock-hard ice. I had to use a brush to sweep off as much snow as I could, leaving a Mohican on the roof where I couldn’t reach from either side! There was a de-icer spray bottle in the car to deal with the iced-up windows, but unfortunately the car doors were frozen solid so I couldn’t get at it! However, I learned that lesson a few winters back, and now keep a spare bottle of de-icer in the house for just such emergencies. That was fine for the windows. But the doors were frozen solid – the central locking seemed to work, but the door handle was frozen and immovable, and the door itself was frozen to the adjoining bodywork. No amount of heaving would make it budge. I did think of boiling a kettle and using that to melt the ice, but was worried about thermal shock cracking the windows. However, I then thought of my hot water bottle from last night. It was still warm to the touch, though not boiling hot – ideal. So I emptied the contents all over the car door handle and the edge where the door meets the rest of the bodywork. It did the job and I was finally able to get into the car, start the engine and retrieve the scraper to deal with the iced-up windows.

I got into work flustered but in time for a much-needed coffee before my meeting, to find that I’d got off lightly. At least once I got off my drive I had a straightforward drive in on gritted roads. One of my colleagues lives deeper in the countryside down minor roads that hadn’t been gritted. She made it as far as the first corner outside her house before skidding on black ice and sliding gently into a hedge. Fortunately no one was hurt, though she was horribly shaken.

I do hope it’s not going to be another hard winter. Snow might look beautiful, especially on top of the Hills. But it’s a right pain to deal with, even without taking into consideration the unwelcome flashbacks I get.