Thursday, 22 January 2015

Snow, no water and a Day trip to Shrewsbury, its snow joke

Another busy mixed week here in the Quirky Bird household. Monday saw us spend most of the day shopping in Livingston and some lunch and a wander around Dobies garden centre. This was while my car was in the garage getting its tyres and noisy exhaust looked at. It was easier to take two cars and go off and do some window shopping instead of 2 trips of 40 miles to go home and come back. We picked up some bits and pieces we needed and had a lovely lunch. The end result of the garage visit was three new tyres and most of a new exhaust! Goodbye £500 and that was with a discount of 25% on the tyres and another discount because David is a good customer there. I do need my car, especially as we live in the country and I should get longer out the tyres now the car is doing a lot less mileage. Its is driving much better and I feel happier knowing these things have been dealt with.  Bracken did well out of our shopping trip as he got a new bed as you can see below.

Bracken approves of his new bed

I have been having a wee run of success on my 365 project, with several images featuring on the Trending and Popular pages this month! This is my fifth year doing it and I almost gave up at the end of December. I wasn't sure I was getting enough out of it, but I have continued and with great feed back too. Its great fun for photographers of all levels and there are some amazing images on there.

This image was on the the Trending and Popular
page this week

 A quick word about the Daffodils in the image above. They are in the front garden, not really very sheltered, yet are further out than the snow drops next to them! I don't know what variety they are as they are already planted in the garden. I am looking forward to seeing them flower later in the spring. The latest snow and low temperatures haven't slowed their growth down at all.

A snowy scene at Walston from our walk on Tuesday

We came home from Livingston on Monday to find no water running in the house. There was still water in the bathrooms, but as we later discovered, this was coming from the header tank in the attic and the hot water tank, which soon emptied. So come Tuesday we were waterless. A phone call to a neighbour and trying to get in touch with the landlord and estate agent soon revealed the cause. The water for the house we are renting and the houses on either side comes from a spring. Apparently the pipes that bring the water from the spring to these three houses runs over the top of the ground over several fields! Which means whenever there are temperatures of  a few degrees or more below zero the pipes freeze and we have no water until it defrosts! So we have no idea when we will have water again as the temperature is to stay low all week! This has been happening for the 16 plus years the houses have been built and no one does anything about it. Had we known this was a possibility we would have stock piled water, but no one mentioned it so we've had to buy water. 

I managed to find some 5 litre bottles of water in
the Co-op today in Biggar awhich are more economical
than the 6 pack of 1.5 litres I got on Tuesday

The mains pipe is about 300m away and its entirely possible to get connected if the three house got together and split the cost. They seem happy to live for days or weeks with no water, apparently its part of living in the country, well I've lived more remotely than this in the country for 17 years and never not had water! We've been in touch with the letting agent and land lord and they have shrugged their shoulder and that was it. Can you tell I'm not happy? So we are using bottled water sparingly, it takes four two litre bottles to flush a loo. I've filled a large plastic dust bin with snow and put it in the heated greenhouse to melt as the greenhouse plants are getting very dry. I've also brought a second bucket into the house to defrost to flush the loos! A shower would be lovely and of course the pile of laundry is stacking up.

The third thing about Monday was youngest sons new bed arrived, so he and David started to put it together only to find there were three bolts missing! So the bed is stacked up in the dining room awaiting the replacements (which arrived in the post today) so a big thumbs up for the company getting them out to us so quickly.

Bracken enjoying a walk in the snow

We haven't had enough snow to drift for a couple of years

I am pleased to say the rest of the week has gone better so far (apart from still having no water!) Tuesday was a catch up day in the house, cleaning as best you can with no water), various other chores and a nice walk up to Walston in the afternoon.

Shap on the way south to Shrewsbury, after a quick coffee stop
 at Westmoreland services. Fortunatly the windscreen washers started
working here. It was not easy driving up to then.

Wednesday was a long tiring day driving to Shrewsbury and back, mad I know, David came with me so we could share the driving, it was quicker and cheaper than going by train just for a four hour meeting. This was the induction day for the course I am doing run by the Manchester Metropolitan University and the FSC. I am ahead of the game as David did the course about seven years ago, but it was good to put faces to names of people I will be dealing with over the year, some of whom will be doing some of the lectures. David went off and had a wander around Shrewsbury with Bracken while I was busy watching presentations and having lunch. I now have more paperwork to read and I've applied for some funding. The course is a University certificate,  and is equivalent of first year on a degree.

A wet and cold Shrewsbury
We left Shrewsbury just after 4pm which was unfortunate as we got caught up in Manchester traffic when we joined the M6. Once past Preston the roads are always much emptier and we made good progress to Cumbria where we stopped for something to eat at the Tebay or Westmoreland services. These are the best services around and have been since they started. Eco friendly, family run with ponds for all sorts of ducks and wild birds, great food and a fantastic farm shop. Yes we did buy cheese and pies! It was great to get home in the evening, tired, but in one piece, always a good thing when doing a lot of driving on the roads these days.

David heaven

Today (Thursday) has been a much more relaxed day, just me and the mutt as David is away working. Its still snowy and we still have no water. The temperature hasn't been above freezing all week, brrrrrrr. Once a deliver I had been waiting in for this morning arrived, Bracken and I went to Lanark. Once I'd got a parcel from  the Post office, we took the scenic route past Tinto to Biggar. I stocked up on more water then Bracken and I went for a walk along the disused railway line. It runs along the south side of Biggar and has wonderful views of the local hills. The sky and light was lovely over the hills and though chilly, there was no breeze or wind, so it was very pleasant. We walked about two miles out and then back again before heading home for home made scotch broth soup, lovely. If a week like that doesn't drive me to more wine and chocolate I don't know what will!

The disused railway carries on to Broughton

Lovely sky over the Biggar hills

Winter sun reflecting in the frozen snow

Trees in the snow, Biggar

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