Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Frozen Britain

Everybody is talking about the SNOW.

It only seems like five minutes ago that we were in the icy clutches of the last 'Frozen Britain' headline maker.

And here we are again.

The Ice Sculpture that was our pond fountain.

The kids are all longing for more of the white stuff so that the schools will close their doors and declare it a 'Snow Day'.

Some of us may be dreaming of a White Christmas but I just want the water pipes that run through the kitchen roof space to defrost so I can turn the tap on. I am not completely without water but it is a bit of a pain having to go to the sink in the garage every time I need to fill the kettle!

Even without water in my kitchen (and the threat that when the pipes do defrost they could well have burst with the result that water will come cascading down through the ceiling to flood my kitchen) it is still good to be home.

We were in the Lake District when we saw our first flurry of fluffy white snow flakes (which quickly turned into thickly blanketing snowfall). Twenty of our family members were staying in the tastefully converted self catering holiday accommodation of Irton Hall. Some of us were staying in Broughton House which was originally the West Wing of the Hall. The wide staircase, chandeliers and huge stained glass window gave it a very grand and elegant feel. The rest of the party were in the Clock Tower. Both buildings are reputedly haunted.

I didn't spend enough time in the Clock Tower to be a judge of the likelihood of experiencing any paranormal activity but certainly in Broughton House, the blazing log fire, the big comfortable beds and the modern bathroom and kitchen fixture and fittings all leant themselves to a cosy, welcoming environment without a hint of a shiver or a spine tingle. Also, our family do generate quite a lot of noise - any self respecting ghost would know they couldn't possibly compete and would be best advised to lay low until we had vacated!

The reason for our gathering in the Lakes was to celebrate my parents' 55th wedding anniversary. I always worry that with the kids inevitably taking centre stage, my parents' needs and wants are somewhat overlooked or neglected. It was their wedding anniversary, they had actually footed the bill to accommodate us all and take us all out for a meal, yet somehow they seemed to shrink into the background. Mum did a LOT of washing up and dad seemed a bit confused at the celebration meal that he was given beef when he thought he was getting salmon and then was disappointed when...

I was just about to say how my dad would have preferred cheese and biscuits to the sticky toffee pudding that was on our set menu when I heard a sound that sent dread through my heart. It is hard to describe the sound of a frozen pipe suddenly finding itself thawed enough for the pressure of water to explode through the pipe work whose integrity as a system has been compromised by the volume of expanding ice - the sound of gallons of scalding hot water finding its path of least resistance and pouring through cracks in the ceiling and around light fittings. It is hard to describe but you know it when you hear it!

I have spent the last hour frantically mopping the floor, placing buckets to catch some of the downpour, emptying buckets that were filling quicker than I could cope with, trying desperately to work out which way to turn various stopcocks to stem the flow and more recently, fiddling with the fuse box to try and restore at least some of the electrical circuits that blew when the bad combination of wet and electricity occurred in abundance.

I am now at the stage where the gas fire is keeping the living room warm and the TV is back, amusing my two little ones. The computer is restored (hence the finishing of this blog entry) and my husband is going to be on his way home to save me just as soon as he is possibly able. I have no coffee - suddenly realising now how little of an inconvenience it was to have to go to the garage to fill the kettle - but at least the kitchen ceiling hasn't fallen in....yet.

So, anyway, back to my parents and the Lake District and my concerns that it possibly wasn't as much about them as I would have liked it to be.

My parents have both told me what a wonderful time they had and were happy just being surrounded by their family.

My kitchen disaster has reminded me that whatever is going on the only thing that really matters is family. OK, so I have no coffee and the repairs are likely to be costly and inconvenient just before Xmas but I am about to spend some priceless time snuggling up with my babies watching CBeebies, keeping warm, trying not to think about all the washing I was planning on doing today and waiting for my husband to come home and be my hero.


  1. Eeek :S Hope it's not too costly!! We just had to fork out for a new washing machine coz ours decided it didn't want to spin round or heat up anymore.

  2. I love how there was a waterfall in the kitchen, filling buckets quicker than you could empty them, but you still found time to take pictures XD

  3. Sometimes, when you are fighting a losing battle, the best thing to do is to take pictures that you can laugh about when the crisis is over :)

  4. I thought our break in the Lake Distict was wonderful. Just to be surrounded by my amazing family was all I could have asked for.


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