Snowpocalypse, Winter 2010

Due to the rather cold and snowy weather last week I was unable to go to work. We were open on Monday, but then it snowed hard Monday night. Our valiant ground staff managed to clear qthe site …

However then it snowed again and undid all their hard work…

So we remained closed while the bad weather passed over, and after hiring a JCB for a few days the site was declared safe to return today on Monday.

Here are some huge icicles hanging over one of the glass porches at work.

While trying to take those photos I tried an old Canon A85, however I think there’s something wrong with its image sensor…

Pass the pipe cleaners, I have a cold…

After last week’s fun at Retrovision I started to fell a bit grotty on the journey home. A bit of a sore throat down one side, nothing too special. During last week this slowly started to grow into a bit of a cold. I don’t think it was flu, just what the NHS likes to call “flu-like symptoms”. Creative use of my large beer making thermometer (under my armpit!) showed I had a normal temperature, and I most definitely didn’t have the runs – quite the opposite in fact.

So I did the sensible thing, and went to work all week, ensuring maximum exposure to young people and those with other diseases. It spread around our office quite well. My voice was going so I had fun squawking at the students. You see, while I could have had the week off (and next time my voice escapes, I think I will) I actually felt OK. I sounded much worse than I was, although by Friday I looked like something that should be shuffling about trying to eat brains. I would have taken Friday off if it wasn’t the handin deadline for both of my A-level groups, and the day I needed to take all my year 11 work home to mark.

I was not a happy bunny on Friday. We will not discuss Friday further.

I spent all yesterday in bed. Last night wasn’t so fun, while sleeping with my mouth open I managed to suck a lump of what I assume was fluff into the back of my throat. This triggered a bit of drama that had me rushing to the bathroom. Still, it also cured the nausea I was feeling after eating tea.

I think I’m better, my neck doesn’t feel like there are two marbles stuck in it and I can breathe fairly well through my nose.

Now to do all the housework from last week. My kitchen looks like I’ve tried to feed an army, and there’s no food left in the house. I’m off to Sainsbury’s to spread illness and disease to all I meet.

Seems I get this every 2 or 3 years, so next time I get a bad one should be 2012…

Very chilli

It got a bit cold last night. So cold that I had to pile an extra three layers onto my bed to keep me warm. We also had the first frost last night so I made the decision to move my chilli plants indoors where it’s warmer. I’m pretty amazed that they’re continuing to produce peppers, and that they’re big, bright, shiny red peppers too. The last plants I grew produced loads of fruit, but then dropped dead. Perhaps I can keep these plants growing all year.

Hopefully bringing the plants indoors will also produce more spicy peppers.

Maybe it’s time to put the heating on…

I think I might need the heating on, I have cold and slightly numb feet and if I breathe out, I can see my breath. So either it’s cold in here, or there’s some sort of paranormal activity going on.

Still, it’s good for my PC, and I’ve lived in colder places before, there’s no ice on the inside of my window at the moment.

Welcome to the freezer

My house is so cold! It’s one of those red-brick victorian terraced houses that had no insulation because it wasn’t invented back then. Also, with a fire place in each room who needs insulation? Just chuck another log on.

Only this is 2008 and all the fireplaces have been bricked up, which is a shame. There is central heating and it does work, in every room except the front room, the kitchen and my bedroom – conveniently the three largest rooms in the house. Well I lie, the heating works fine, it’s just not enough to heat the rooms effectively and I think it’s down to the crap insulation.

I have a thermometer in my bedroom, the highest it gets up to is 16c and that’s during the day when the heating isn’t on! At night it drops to about 10c, with 6c being the lowest recorded (ever slept in your fridge?).

After coming home today I found a letter from the landlord saying they want to arrange a house inspection at some point. In anticipation of this I have done some tidying up. While picking up some random stuff from my bedroom floor I noticed this behind my chest of drawers…

Isn’t that nice! For the curious, here’s a closeup…

Needless to say the heating has been cranked up some more and the timer altered to run for longer. There’s also a fan heater whirring away up there now in an attempt to dry the room out. I think I’m on a losing battle though, what with the space under the house containing a large pool of water…

Mass tidy up

Spent most of today helping Amy tidy her new bedroom that her old housemate used to inhabit. Since her previous housemate was a dirty person with no concept of hygiene we decided to remove the carpet and put a new piece down. We also started stripping wall paper and disposing of quite a large stash of naked-lady magazines that he had been hoarding.

We have no idea what he used to do on his carpet, and really don’t want to think too hard either, but there were quite a lot of stains that had gone through to the underlay.

Once the carpet was down I set up a small fish tank that I’d bought. It’s now whirring away and has to be left alone for a week to make the water fit for fish.

To finish off we had a barbequeue in the dark and cold. It being so cold things were beginning to freeze by the time it’d got to the marshmallow course. Barbequeues always have several courses – the raw sausage starters, cremated burger appetiser, char…everthinged chicken main with extra soot and ash, followed by volcanic marshmallows.

Pinkening of the keyboard

Amy has a slightly naff keyboard, it’s a small laptop-style one with the only redeeming feature being it’s bright pink (not that I like pink you understand, but on Planet Amy, anything pink is good… no matter how bad it is 😉 ) And you know, the keys stick and she gets frustrated with it so I thought I could lend a hand.

Read on to see some photos of the progress…

Continue reading Pinkening of the keyboard

Off to the beach

Today me, Amy and her mental dog went to Cleethorpes to do what the British do at the seaside – wander about and moan about other people not controlling their dogs. We also had a flask of tea, some sandwiches and, because Amy’s dog was wearing a backpack, many confused and amused looks 🙂

We must be one of the few countries that visits the seaside when it’s winter and cold. Nobody was in the water, but that’s only because the water was a mile away due to being low tide. Had the water been closer to the seafront, there would have been someone in it going gently blue.

Start of the Spring Term

School goes back tomorrow. I’ve worked out what I’m teaching for the next five weeks and have something approaching a plan. Hopefully the children will cooperate and my plan won’t require too much modification.

Over the weekend I went to Wasdale with my dad for a walk. We arrived to mist and a traditional damp Lake District day, with the view across Wastwater (Britain’s favourite view supposedly) not being too impressive. However, in the morning we woke to a nice dusting of snow on everything and a bitterly cold wind. I had six layers on and just couldn’t feel warm enough, I think I need some thermal leggings or something.

We set off up the path to Sty Head Tarn, from the farm at the bottom where we were staying. The path began with some slushy ice but that soon thickened into nice, crunchy fresh snow. The dog seemed to enjoy it, joining in with an entertaining (for us) game of “roll snow down the hill and chase it”. I even worked out I can take photos while wearing my big mittens.

We’d got about 2/3 up the path when huge gales and stinging shards of ice and snow began battering us. Not anything too serious, but since we weren’t planning a day in the ice and had a small dog with us we turned around and went back down the path.

And while plodding back down the slippy path I made the fatal mistake people often do on the way home. I stopped paying attention to where I was walking. Slop! I trod onto what I thought was a patch of snow, but soon discovered it to be a knee-deep icy pool of mud. There was a few seconds of dampness followed by biting cold as the ice and slush found its way into my boot and up my trouser leg. I used to go jumping into cold rivers, and it felt not unlike that. My foot did what it usually does in this type of situation and went numb so I gave up bothering about it.

I’ll upload a nice picture of Wastwater and write about it on my other blog in a moment.

Brass Monkeys

My god it’s cold. My house is doing a fantastic job of being draughty and hard to heat up. The heating is on, the windows are shut, the curtains are shut… and yet it’s still not warm. I’ve even done the trick of tucking the curtains behind the radiators. I bet there’s no insulation between the floors or in the roof.

I woke up this morning to a cold house, froze my arse off getting dressed, and it wasn’t until I’d been sat in a hot computer room for an hour that I finally warmed up. Between getting up and being in that computer room I’d sat in my car for half an hour with the heating on full blast.

This theme of cold continued into my form room at school where the heating doesn’t do anything until about mid-day. It’s one of those situations where opening a window would probably make things warmer!

I think having a glass of cold water out of the fridge might have been a key mistake this morning. I might add half an hour extra to the timer on my heating, if I can do that without having to totally reset the entire system. My heating being designed by someone who hates end-users, it would seem. Do one thing wrong in the sequence and the heating either never comes on, or never turns off.

Bear in mind that I used to live in the Lake District or Scotland in the cold. I also used to jump into lakes and rivers wearing nothing more than a few layers of clothing. It’s that same persistent kind of cold – not cold enough to make me shiver, but enough to be irritating. The weird draughts that go around the walls are quite annoying.

School breaks up on Thursday at half twelve. My kids are making Christmas cards in Microsoft Publisher. It’s a nice, simple lesson to keep them amused and contained. This time last year I was getting the kids to make animations with Macromedia Flash. Kind of strange to think that a year ago I was coming to the end of my first teaching placement, and now I’m doing it for real. How time flies and all that.