This is my first blog post for ages because I just haven’t felt like writing since my operation. Britain has been in the grip of snow due to the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma, but we got off very lightly where I live. Despite this, there has been plenty of panic and disaster recovery processes in place. Here is a round-up from our week in the snow.
It transpires that condensing boilers aren’t very good at coping with freezing conditions. If your condensate pipe is outside, there’s a high chance it will freeze, meaning that the boiler won’t work until it’s defrosted. Luckily, helpful gas engineers were sharing this information all over Facebook, so I knew exactly what to do, the only problem was, our boiler is on the first floor so I had to wait for my husband to come home and get the ladder out – I’m not allowed to lift it, remember. He defrosted the pipe with a hairdryer and re-set the boiler but it still wouldn’t work. In the end, he spoke to the person who installed our boiler, who told him he’d done the right thing but damp had probably got in, and it would eventually clear. It did, the following morning, though we’re still not sure the boiler sounds quite right.
My two favourite Facebook posts about broken boilers were from the plumber who told customers to allow the pipe to ‘Thor’ – I hadn’t realised we were expecting thunder! And the lady who asked if anyone else in her area was without hot water. Clearly she thought there was a national hot water network. I felt really sorry for the man who had successfully thawed his pipe with hot water, only to find that it had frozen again and he couldn’t get near it because the hot water from last time had turned to ice.
World Book Day
Despite the weather, World Book Day celebrations still went ahead at Munchkin’s school. Some schools postponed them, and the book tokens are valid for longer than normal to account for this. Munchkin and Alan went as Wenda and Woof from ‘Where’s Wally’. I bought the Wenda costume, but it took me the best part of a day to make Alan’s costume.
Where’s Wally? Here are Wenda and Woof.
There was a lot of fuss from people who said that schools didn’t close for snow in their day. What they failed to realise is that staff don’t always live locally to the school, and whether particular schools opened was largely down to where the staff had to travel from. Munchkin’s school opened every day, though it closed early on a couple of occasions. Her two favourite cousins live in other areas so they both had snow days when she was at school.
The first day that it snowed, I counted fifteen posts about school closures on two Facebook groups aimed at local parents. I think all schools need a similar process for notifying parents of closures, and parents need to ensure they’re acquainted with it.
Every morning, I checked my email to see whether the school was open, and then checked my mail throughout the day, just in case it closed. We parents agreed that text messages would have been much better than email. Once we received an email from school, the message then had to be relayed via Whatsapp and text, to account for the mum who couldn’t access her email and the dads who don’t get email, because it appears to be limited to one email address per family. On Friday afternoon, we received an email entitled, ‘Abandoning School’. I think a blizzard was expected, but it never really materialised.
Back to normal
It’s been raining today, and all the snow has gone. Munchkin is pleased that she’s finally seen snow. It snowed heavily when she was a year old, but she doesn’t remember. She’s disappointed that she still hasn’t been sledging. I didn’t think there was enough snow, but the local children managed somehow! Sadly for Munchkin, there was no way we could take her sledging this time, with me still recovering from surgery and her dad’s limited mobility. Hopefully I can take her next time it snows, or maybe I’ll just take her skiing at some point.