In Mid-December we awoke to falling snow and Martin’s sleepy voice telling me that we had forgotten to take the fabric cover off the nursery irrigation tank. A series of swipes with a mop filled my next hour as I walked round and round the tank. With each circuit I could reach a little further across as I had a wall of snow to stand on from the previous circuit. Eventually my task was done and breakfast was bliss.
The next day we had our first bulk delivery of lpg gas. This was an exciting event as it heralds the end of having to order and manouevre the heavy orange bottles that have provided our heating fuel for the last 16 years.
The following night temperatures fell sharply and by morning the pipes were predictably frozen in our mobile home. But on this occasion they didn’t thaw all day and, for the first time ever, the pipes had also frozen in the barn. Unfortunately the build-up of pressure coincided with the one night when we had forgotten to turn the stopcock off in the new house. Inevitably the water found the weak point in the system – a cheap-feeling plastic connector which had come with the toilet cistern – and forced it apart as we had yet to finish installing the clips that would have held it in place.
Ordinarily this would not have been too bad, as the water would have merely flowed across the wet room floor and down the central drain. However I had previously made the suggestion that we should lay a large piece of cardboard across the floor, and especially the plughole, to protect it from our gritty footwear. The result of this was that by the time we discovered the water leak, the cardboard had turned into a plug and the flood covered half of downstairs.
A wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner, a mop, a lot of throwing out of dripping cardboard, and a trip to buy replacement hardboard filled much of the morning. But once we had done all that we were thankful that we hadn’t yet fitted the laminate flooring, that the internal doors were up on a pallet, that the downstairs bedroom didn’t yet have carpet, and that the flood didn’t extend as far as the kitchen and the newly-installed cupboards.
Two days later the heating engineers commissioned the boiler and the house became warm and dry once more.