Sunday, 19 December 2010

Just about working.

The winter is truely upon us now and after the last post it immediately got a bit stressful. The snow was about 40cm deep and the temperature dropped locally to below -10celcius.

Which not only left me unable to work - with frozen nuts (ahem!)

but also on the coldest night the boiler ,mysteriously, vindictively almost, stopped working. To help add to the worry that same night water started dripping through our bedroom ceiling !
Being a practical person (and i also loathe to spend money on a plumber), I dismantled the boiler whilst trying to decipher than boiler manual. The facial expression summed up the experience !

 I found what I thought was the problem and that morning found the the new bit locally online- flame failure electrode . Then the van would not start, completely frozen solid and I was about to walk the three miles to plumbers in the minus 10 temperature when they offered to deliver it for free immediately. Now thats customer service - Thank you City Plumbing Supplies in Loanhead !

I installed it ,proud of my success

- only to fall flat on my face immediately when it still didnt work !

Once again it looked like a confusing pile of unknowable stuff and not a rational machine!

So, I rang "John the Boiler engineer" who made the correct call over the phone - frozen condensate overflow and I managed to sort it out immediately at no further cost.  The reason it had failed wasnt the cold - it had been badly installed in the first place - the pipe ran slightly uphill and the hot fluid just sat in the pipe till  the frost got in.  Yet another thing to re-do in the spring...

...along with sorting the leaking roof gutters which run behind the top of the wall . Blocked with ice they had overflowed into the bedroom - I managed to thaw enough of the drain with boiling salty water - two problems sorted in one day ! The next two days were spend feeling morose and ill - brought on by the stress and working outside in the extreme cold.

The snow has been fun  - some igloo building helped pass the time for the kids (big and small!)

and using the motorbike to ferry shopping to and fro the van at end of track certainly beats walking !
(yes, that really is the drive !)

At last the weather eased off and I managed to clear up the shed that collapsed (in last blog) and start to dismantle the one next to it - the "car parking" shed. Not much point having a shed that keeps your vehicles snow free if you cant then drive them up the hill !

I rather foolishly got April to drive down the ice covered hill with the shopping - only to find we couldnt get back up it (having lent the van out over weekend as well!) Luckily I used up most of the building sand to get enough traction to get back out ! 

Demolishing  the "car parking" shed (the nearest shed above) was proving a little challenging on my own and I was just struggling away and saying "This is WAY too laborious on my own" when who should come walking down the hill towards me but my brother Sam and Dad - with the setting sun immediately behind - quite a dramatic entrance.

My Dad is staying to assist and the sheds are being cleared to site the new eBay caravan . With two of us working the next day we got that shed down and cleared easily if slightly dramatically!

It is quite fun up on the roof - its surprisingly huge when you're high up there! It also had a thick layer of frost on the corrugated iron to make it even more excitingly slippery ! Its not very cool to fall off the shed roof if one of  your  parents are watchingwhich explains the concerned look I'm getting maybe !

 And that section is now down - I'd have taken a photo of the appearing brick walls , but of course its too cold to go back out to get one ! You'll gave to wait till next time ;-)

In the meantime heres something Willow built with "Grumpy" !


  1. had the same problem last year with our boiler.
    now i just pull the outside drain pipe off in the winter. The back of the house gets no sun in the winter, so the condensate slowly freezes as it trickles to the dain otherwise.
    I don't think they anticiapted days of seriously cold weather when then came up with the crap design for condensing boliers.
    why does the drain have run outside at all? why can't it run into one of the other drains?

    Ian H

  2. Luckily our snow has lasted considerably less time than yours! Have been constructing a staircase in the new building for the past few days, finally righted it today and pushed it into its place...not quite as exciting as demolishing huge barns though!