Sunrise/sunset: Down all day
It’s been a gentler week than last week, thank goodness, though there are still challenges coming my way. The pipes under the house still need fixing, but I think they’ll need to wait until spring now as the hole that leads into the house foundations is now under a metre of snow. John managed to get the snow blower working, but having cleaned a fantastic area of snow, the handle broke yesterday. To be fair, it’s a sturdy snow blower that we bought for 5,000kr (about £400/500US$) and it’s twelve years old, so it’s only to be expected that there will be problems. John’s friend is welding it for now and we will be able to buy a replacement part in the new year.
It is typical that, in the year I bought a house, there has been an incredible amount of snow so early in the winter. I think it was last year that I was worrying that we wouldn’t get a white Christmas. No fear of that this year. I made a new friend a little while back and she commented that having been in her house for twenty years, she and her husband had a good handle on everything and we are in the opposite position. Right now, there are a huge number of unknowns. The drains are the perfect example. Even though we have a surveyor’s report that says they’re fine, they are not. Still, if that’s the only nasty surprise, we will be doing well.
And it is in my mind that this will probably be the worst time period. If we can get through this winter, next year, we will probably be better prepared. For now, it seems that just keeping the snow at bay might be a full time job over the next few days. There are yellow snow warnings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we’ll probably be doing some work to keep everything working. I know, in Scotland, I would probably just let it lie and clear it another day, if I didn’t have to get the car out today, but as more snow falls, it weighs down the earlier snow, and you can end up with huge weights of heavy snow to move, if you leave it too long, especially if the temperature drops and it gets icy.
There’s also the rather vexed question of snow on the roof and when you have to remove it. Having read around the topic, it seems our house lies just on the edge of two different time periods of building controls. From 1950 – 1979 the regulations were much less stringent and rooves didn’t have to be quite so strong. The recommendation is that you should remove it if there is 40 – 50 cm. From 1980 onwards, it would be able to carry more than twice as much. There appears to be some uncertainty about when our house actually was built. The estate agent’s brochure said 1979 when I bought it. Having taken over the house, I found an older sales brochure that said it was completed in 1983. Anyway, to be on the safe side, we bought an Avalanche roof rake yesterday, so yesterday evening, having seen the forecast, John, Andrew and I spent several hours outside wielding it, or at least John and Andrew did the job, while I dug away some of the fallen snow from the sides of the house.
Having cleared quite a lot of it, but having been unable to get the last couple of metres cleared, right up toward the ridge, we came back in. It was then that I read up more thoroughly on something I had read earlier about clearing the roof in stages and not leaving it unbalanced. Apparently, leaving a layer along the centre is exactly the wrong thing to do. Unfortunately, the pole with the snow rake isn’t quite long enough. We might be able to get an extension, but of course it’s Christmas and finding things in the shops might be challenging. Some of them are open this morning, but not all. Still, having read an awful lot, there are none of the signs of impending doom listed on those advisory websites. The doors all still open normally and there has been no creaking or cracking. And having a bit more snow built up around the base of the house seems to have warmed up the “crawling cellar” as it’s called. For the first time in weeks, it was above freezing down there (there’s a thermometer in the kitchen). I have no idea whether the drains are likely to freeze in there, but it’s a certainty that they’re less likely to do so at 0.5° C than at -10° C.
As I said, so many unknowns. This is all new to me and perhaps there are things I ought to know but don’t. Still, yesterday, as John and Andrew cleared the roof, it was wonderful to watch them working as a team. Whatever else I’m getting wrong, I’m very proud of the wonderful young men they’re becoming.
I had a trip to Tromsø on Wednesday for an x-ray on my toe. The result came in startlingly fast and I got a message when I was on the boat on my way home. It’s not arthritis apparently, so goodness knows why it’s red and swollen, though it’s been like that for several months. My money is on it being gout. I’ll have to lay off the sherry over Christmas! It was quite nice in Tromsø though, so I took a few photos.
And I had a mince pie for breakfast on Thursday. I thought there was something hard in it, but had swallowed the mouthful before I had a chance to react. A couple of minutes later, my tongue discovered that part of one of my teeth had sheared off. It was one that had broken before on one corner and now a second one was gone. Still, I rushed into the dentist’s and he managed to fit me in there and then, so I now possibly have more filling than tooth, but it will do for now!
Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve. Today will be the last episode of The Julekalendar on Norwegian TV. I feel it could become a new Christmas habit. And the title of todays blog is inspired by a line said by Hermione in the first Harry Potter film. John and I have been watching them all in sequence over the past week. Hopefully, we will watch the final one tonight. Anyway, I have to go now. The shop which might have an extension for the roof rake seems to be open, so if we can get the drive cleared, we might be able to buy one.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. See you next week.