If the Snow falls in a Forest…

December 21, 2009

…and the blogger’s camera is broken, did it really snow?*

It was absolutely gorgeous yesterday, but you’ll just have to believe me. Bright sunshine, blue sky, everything white with snow. There were a few kids out sledging in one field, but otherwise it was entirely still and silent. Even the cattle just stood there, wondering where their grass had gone. They’re not all that bright, cows, are they?

Anyway, today we’re off, and the snow looks rather less lovely a prospect when we’ve the drive to Duns to negotiate. I think we won’t be taking the road over the hills this time.

I hope everyone gets where they’re going this Christmas, and only gets snowed in when they arrive.

*Fortunately, Mrs UHDD is more together so here, look at her pictures instead. They’re better than anything I could take anyway


Woke up to…

December 19, 2009

… a powercut this morning, after the coldest night so far. No shower, no heating, no lights and NO INTERNET. Thank goodness for the Rayburn which is gravity fed and chugging away happily, so that there was only a little ice on the inside of the windows… Oh and for the power company who got the electricity back on after a couple of hours*.

Meanwhile, the infamous Band of Snow is reportedly making its way towards us, but so far all we’ve had is its support act, the Band of Rain. Hmm, and we’re supposed to be out tonight, on one of our rare social occasions. Should make for an interesting drive home…


No sooner do I press ‘submit’ than the other half walks in with snow in his hair… it’s snowing. Yay!

*I find it odd that when you’re ringing to report a power cut they know where you are instantly and put you straight through to the appropriate recorded message, whereas if you’re ringing about anything else you have to repeat your details endlessly to a succession of uninterested people. Presumably the engineers know how to arrange things so that they have to talk to as few people as possible…

In nine minutes…

December 18, 2009

… I can turn on the heating.

Ooh – eight minutes now.

And we don’t even have any snow. Bah

Christmas Come Early

December 17, 2009

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, having finished off the last dregs of the Christmas shopping today (and by bike too! How smug am I?) when the other half came back from the nature reserve with a big grin on his face having been allowed to play with drive their tractor all day. I can’t help but feel that nothing I have bought him is going to come close – my only hope now is to see if the forestry guys felling the forest up the road will let him have a go on their big green tree-eating machine. Something to bring a grin to the face of overgrown boys everywhere…

Jobs for the Boys

December 16, 2009

Chatting in Notso Bigtown’s only health food shop* about their Jacob sheep (we’d bought some chops from one of their flock last week) the conversation turned to the carbon footprint – hoofprint? – of grass-fed versus non-grass-fed meat and milk. I got lost around about the point where he mentioned methane digesters  – it was a bit like an episode of the Archers, back when the Archers had some farming in it – but I gathered that the emissions for grass-reared meat are much lower than the scary headline figures for meat generally. Of course, he would say that, seeing as that’s what he’s selling, (and we would believe him, seeing as that’s what we like eating) but it did seem as though even quite intensive meat and milk production could be made greener with a bit of management.

‘Well,’ I said hopefully, ‘if they start putting the carbon footprint on the labels in the supermarket, that will help keep emissions down.’

‘Not really,’ he said. ‘Then they’ll just get consultants in to look at the figures and massage the footprints down to something acceptable.’

Carbon-footprint masseur – there‘s a job title for the Noughties. Or, given that the decade is almost done, the Teenies, or whatever we’re calling the next one.

*Unless you count the bakery – doughnuts are healthy, right?

Reclaim the Sitting Room

December 15, 2009

It would be nice, occasionally, to be able to use our sitting room in the winter, seeing as it has the comfy sofa in it, and the television, not to mention taking up about 1/3 of the floor space of our cottage. But it’s in the half of the house that isn’t heated by the Rayburn which means its background temperature is permanently in the ‘Danger of Hypothermia Act Now*’ range  on a good day (on a bad day, before we renewed the double glazing film, there was ice on the inside of the window in the morning). Anyway, yesterday it wasn’t too cold and it was the last episode of Life and as we’re both suckers for the mellifluous tones of St. David, it seemed like a good time to lay a blazing fire and try and heat the room up enough so that it would be bearable in time for 9pm.

It went a bit like this

5pm – other half fetches wood from woodshed and brings it into sitting room.

5:30 – go in to sitting room to lay fire

5:31 – come back to kitchen to get my fleece

5:35 – come back to kitchen to fetch a pruning saw to get the kindling down to reasonable size. Wood warms you twice, you know, and the first way is a lot more effective than the second.

5:40 – fire laid and lit

5:41 – fire out

5:43 – fire relit

6pm – fire blazing. Thermometer still stubbornly at 9 °C, and then only because it doesn’t read any lower.

6:30 – we move coffee table out of the way so we can put the sofa nearer the fire. Find my woolly hat, lost since our last attempt to watch telly

7pm – fire now reasonably warm, if you stick your head in it. Thermometer creeping up towards 12 °C

7:30 – Other half retreats to kitchen to cook supper. I plug in laptop to keep warm.

8pm – Watch Wallace & Gromit while wearing a fleece, woolly hat, and huddled under a blanket.

8:30 – gosh, telly is rubbish these days, isn’t it? Break down and turn heating on.  Extract arms from blanket.

9pm – hurrah, it’s on. Watch upper-class macaques sitting in the hot springs while the poor lower-class macaques sit out in the snow. No prizes for guessing where we stand in the social hierarchy.

9:30 – Temperature creeps up to 15 °C. Feel guilty about impact on the planet and turn heating off again. Am now able to take my hat off, although the fleece stays firmly on.

10pm – hurrah, it’s over. Washing up (in warm kitchen) suddenly seems strangely attractive. Leave other half poking the last heat out of the fire and retreat to bed.

*I see from this link I was struggling with the exact same problem a year ago. One of the main perils of having a blog is finding out exactly how much you repeat yourself…and I expect I’ve said that too, somewhere. Oh well.

Battle Commences?

December 14, 2009

Cycling back with the paper this afternoon I came across two of Bigtownshire’s finest standing staring at a piece of verge with a newly erected fence on it. Obviously, I slowed down and said ‘hello’ in a tone of voice intended to convey that I might be an important witness in whatever fascinating crime they were investigating, if only they were to stop me and ask, but they didn’t take the bait. Honestly, what’s the point of standing around in the country obviously being police officers if you don’t satisfy the curiosity of everybody passing about what you’re doing? They know we don’t get out much.

So in the absence of any hard information, and with the local paper not due out until Friday, I am forced to speculate wildly. Chicken rustling? Guerilla fencing? Photography? Or could it be that strimming the vegetation to erect the fence had revealed that the drive-by litter taliban had been at their heinous work again? In which case, expect the whole rural road network shortly to be taped off as a crime scene…