scribbles tagged ‘snow’

the scary balcony

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

Shadows from evening sunshineDog park in distanceExchanging the Wendy House staircase of doom for the Wendy Loft scary balcony, is a novelty. As the weather warms I’m sending myself as a scouting party onto the balcony to discover it’s virtues:

To the east in the morning an active dog park & neighbours’ BBQ’d balconies of similar scariest quotients

To the North in the evening dramatic shadow cast through the legs of a local state route ramp


The grass is yellow from months of snow-covered sun starvation. Now we’re in a ‘drought’. It hasn’t rained since I moved here in November. The local’s tell me the snowfall has been very light. It seems to come 3-6 inches in a couple of hours, but only for a couple of hours and not frequently. During the winter months snow falls and stays, gradually accumulating then spring temperatures above freezing melt it away.

the scary balcony
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white out, walked in

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 | tags: , , ,  |

Salt stains on bar floor Another polished concrete floor. This one isn’t in my apartment.

Under the stool in a bar where the floor is probably washed on a daily basis.

This is salt, walked in by customers crossing the car park. Wow! My car is now half white. I wonder what effect this has on the local water table, so much salt spread everywhere…

The carpets at the entranceway at work are thick with the white-out. My Dr. Martens carried the salt across several hundred yards to sit under my desk which looks a mess. My apartment has become a slippers-only place in the winter.


white out, walked in
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con dense sation

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

MinneapolisIt takes a few minutes, or more, for a street parked car to warm up when it’s so cold outside that the Mississippi is frozen-over.

On days like these I leave 15 minutes earlier for work. I scrape the ice or snow from the front, side and rear windows. Some cars come with heated wing mirrors, steering wheels and seats.  Not the VW Bug I’ve been given as a rental car.

This evening I drove into a mall parking garage. As I drove into the warm, underground parking my windscreen fogged. Out of habit I turned the in-car warm air blowers to the windscreen. The fogging appeared to increase. In a random effort to clear my view I turned on the windscreen wipers. Voilà! The condensation was on the outside of the cold car windows, not the inside.

A local told me that I should open the windows before I park outside at night to let-out all the damp warm air from within. To make sure the insides of the windows don’t ice-up as well as the outside.

Oh. I’m learning….

con dense sation
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No coat hangers

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Most of the time it’s below freezing. Today’s been an exception, I’ve walked out with my coat undone, no hat, no gloves and my scarf hanging limp in the sunshine. Yet the restaurants don’t offer to take your coat when you arrive.

Cloakrooms are definitely not ‘de rigour’. They exist. If you ask, you are offered a coat hanging solution, but this offer is not naturally forthcoming. Odd, given the weather and dress of the locals.

I’ve been in Minneapolis for a week, eaten out once per day. My oversized WW2 style flight jacket is heavy, when placed on the back of a restaurant chair, the chair surrenders. It falls backwards to the floor. I’ve now sent the jacket to the dry cleaners because it’s hugged way too many local restaurant floors.

No coat hangers
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snow clearing trucks

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Snow on the roads

Lots of helpful snow clearing trucks take to the road as soon as the little white mischievous chilly things start to fall. Meanwhile, I’m driving around looking for a pre-owned home and car.  I wonder what I’ll find.

snow clearing trucks
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passed and past

Saturday, February 16th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

planted crossThe graveyard at Cemetery junction in Reading town is a ‘Garden Cemetery’, designed and planted to enable visitors to promenade.

Most weekends I’ll take a stroll around the cemetery, enjoying the natural peace and beauty and the wonderful sculptural art placed there as remembrances to people….

passed and past

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rococo hedgerow

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Rococo hedgerow

rococo hedgerow
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broken wing

Sunday, January 27th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

broken wingAs the snow recedes it reveals the debris of an unseen drama.

A perfectly formed wing, depaired from it’s partner.

Did the wearer ‘fall’ or were they pushed?


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rear view mirror

Friday, January 25th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

rear view mirrorThe driver of the car behind me in this traffic jam hadn’t bothered to remove the 4 inches of snow from the roof, bonnet, lights and even most of the windscreen of their car – before driving it.

I had to fight the urge to get out of my car and clean their windscreen for them.  I pity the car behind them – when chunks of snow come flying off the roof, heading like iced snowballs at their windscreen.

It’s all fun and games on the British roads after a freak snow fall.

rear view mirror
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snowed under

Saturday, January 19th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Snow-covered glass roof Iced tea and Tennessee Bourbon on the menu today at the wendy house. We don’t often get snow so this is a bit of treat.

iced tea in the garden?There was an impromptu party in my local convenience store. Groups of young folk were discussing what essential supplies they wanted in case food deliveries are blocked by snow. I wandered around slowly, enjoying the cheerful young folk and sensibly dressed adult impersonators. Alcohol, tea, bread and milk were selling fast.

Snow on the roof of the wendy house orangerie is keeping the heat in without blocking the light. It’s my own little igloo-style roof. Meanwhile Sampo snores with unabashed contentment in prime position by the woodburning stove

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tree stump avoidance

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

walking up the hillHalfway up the Thames Valley’s infamous Streatly Bobsliegh run the Reading team stop to discuss

how best to use their cardboard sled

advanced tree-stump avoidance tactics

healthcare provision

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hearts and noses

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

the snow is cold and fresh, lets go out on the downs and make love, I really want to make love outdoors, please…

I knew the pull of making love in freshly fallen snow.

But not with him. We weren’t even friends, let alone lovers. Once I would have considered that all part of the fun.  I’d learned the hard way that strangers with a sense of vitality, of living life to the full, seemed to come in a package that perversely included a need to possess, control.  To own you in a way that breaks legal and moral boundaries, that breaks skin, bone, hearts and noses.  I’m more cautious now.

Masturbate or find another partner, I’m not interested

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snow crash

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

During the recent snow, cars moved very, very slowly and often moved into unintended places with slow, steady momentum.

It’s difficult to forget the world while shivering.  Its worth a try.  Getting a good wood burning stove is also worth a try

snow patrol sang chasing cars

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a little rash last night

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

walking from the bus stop to workLast night I decided to go into work today.

A week after Thomas got snowed into the drive,   finally I planned on taking him out for a spin and some slip sliding…

This morning 3 inches of new snow fall, still coming, quickly scuppered that rash  little plan.

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weather warning

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

pathwaw to the house

affecting  all of the UK

 Normally the weather only affects a bit of the UK while the rest of the UK remains weatherless.

Weatherlessness?   No wind, no fog, no rain, no thunderstorms, no snow, no blue skies… …a silent, still, greyness lingering oppressively

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kitty litter cover-up

Monday, January 11th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

There is a national shortage of kitty litter.

The National press are conspiring to supress this story.  Some regional press are sneaking out reports. The Burton press managed  this excerpt:

Tesco, on St Peter’s Bridge, sold out of cat litter on Thursday as customers grabbed supplies to use as a handy and effective substitute for gritting salt. Sales have rocketed by 70 per cent in a week.

The East anglia times noted panic purchase of pussy essentials

Customers at Tesco stores in Kesgrave and Martlesham are reporting a shortage of eggs, bread and milk, while there was also word of rapidly emptying shelves at Sainsbury’s in Warren Heath.   Anti-freeze products, boots and thermal underwear have also proved popular, alongside a surprise best-seller – cat litter.

Local councils are running out of grit for the roads so private citizens are stepping-up to fill the void left by the hording and abusing of  the litter of the cat.   This reduces supplies for normal cat toilet abilities.   There could be unanticipated consequences.

Your eyewitness, on the spot, roving reporter  [ME!]  is out and about interviewing the kitties that matter, those  suffering from this very shortage.

In this revealing interview footage we listen to

  • a vey frustrated, unlittered cat
  • icicles melting
  • the police sirens as they chase people deliberately over-purchasing kitty litter for elicit purposes

sinkingMatrix has difficulty walking on the snow and fails to find an acceptable toilet.     Her experience is similar to that of many of the UKs mainly outdoor kitties.

What will happen next?

How can I improvise when my stocks run out and my indoor kitties refuse to conduct their ablutions in the snow. OH!

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i cycle

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

dawnFor your own safety, please avoid walking under the permanently affixed  luminance apparatus  on the Wendy House frontage

Sorry for the inconvenience

This message is bought to you courtesy of wendy, the fluffballs, January snow…

…the cup of T

and the number 3

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burst mains

Saturday, January 9th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

A trickle of water from the cold water tap.

Less that a trickle from the hot water tap,

Not enough flow to ignite the combi-bolier heating.   Brrrr…

I made a cup of tea,   inspecting all visible pipes in the house and the stop-cock that supplies water to the house.

All were well.

Watermains Burst

Thames Water website show a daily list of major water mains leaks and areas they affect.   There is a leak nearby, but it shouldn’t be affecting my home.   There is a note that they are having difficulty getting to burst water mains  and that the phones are very busy.   I should be  patient.

I coat, boot and glove-up.   Then carry  my spade through the ice and snow covered garden.

Viburnum Tinus wieghed downThe garden water tap is frozen. I can’t turn it. No sign of a leak.   I get to the roadside and dig out my water valve and check the meter.   It’s not ticking over.   No water coming onto my property.   Phew, no leak on my property means I dont have to call out a plumber on my expense.   Inconvenience rather than inconvenience and financial burden.   Phew.

The neighbors have no water at all.    I offer them use of my trickle to fill their kettle for tea.   We watch as a child hikes by with 4 large bottles of water.   A man walks by and asks if we have water,   we tell him no and he is pleased.   He’s just visited his lonely frightened mother, he goes back to reasure her that its the water mains.

Plenty of white snow around for creating untreated water.  I’m not going to die of thirst in the near future or run out of Tea

I wonder if snow is full of chemicals or fresh enough to drink as it once was.  Luckily I haven’t had to find out – yet.

The trickle from my tap filled some bottles for tea and the bath to flush the toilet.

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relief road

Friday, January 8th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Here in the UK we have roads who’s whole purpose is to provide relief,   relief Roads.  

The  pleasingly named Rose Kiln Lane is a Berkshire relief road.   Roads that provide relief.   A ver pleasing idea.  

Having a stressful day at work? Then visit Rose Kiln Lane to find relief.

Judging by this web camera picture very few people  have been using Rose Kiln Lane for relief    during this cold snap.   No yellow snow, cars, or people to be seen.  

Relief Road

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frozen flaps

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

My fluffballs are indoor kitties with their own kitty-litter box.

Many british cats are outdoor-indoor cats with their own ‘cat-flap’ in the household door, window or wall.

Cedar in cemeteryHow does such deep and freezing snow affect outdoor cats?   How do they get through a cat-flap that is below snow level?   Even if their human digs out the snow by the flap where do they make the cat pathway go?   Cats like to bury their doings, how do they do this when the earth and snow is frozen?

I’m concerned for the many  cats that do their doings outside.   It’s not made national news yet but  given cat ownership in this country it is a pending disaster.    Worse, on a personal level  I’m running low on my supply of kitty-litter.

What to do with indoor kitties that need doings doing and no litter for doing it in?

(obligatory local snow scene picture)
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battle for the buns

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Buried alivePerhaps I was a bit premature with the melting snow post.

Thomas has been buried alive.

I’ve cunningly avoided yet another Gym subscription nightmare by resorting to digging out the Wendy House garden path.

After 24 hours of snow, 30cm in my back garden, the local shops are suffering from depleted stocks.      People who when stranded at home must have a steady supply of toast, ideally spread with marmite, are buying thier bread.  No new deliveries.   You do the maths…


Will I have to compromise the purity of my toast by taking my marmite on toasted teacakes? Tonight I’m planning to pop around my perky, yet elderly, neighbour’s house to…

food supplies start to run out…share some seasonal bubbly – more toastie!

…and snow stories in front of a glowing fireplace – even more  toastie!

then I’ll take their food order round to the corner shop where I’ll

battle for some buns.

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snow-stranded faerie tales

Thursday, December 24th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

At the Elephant Hotel, Pangbourne, the guests stranded by the suddent, unexpected, snowfall share stories of how they came to be at this hotel

Formerly Handsome Other Guest (FHOG): (slurred) I wanted to bring the truck out tonight,   but my wife wanted to come in the Merc

wendy: (snigger)

FHOG: So we came in the Merc because I always have to do what she says (slurred with a venemous undertone)

FHOG: but she’s admitted she was wrong this time, for the first time in 10 years marriage she’s admitted she was wrong (triumphant venemous overtones with a hint of over-exaggeration.   Yuck)

Snoqualmie Pass Lodgingswendy: I drove  my little  Honda civic automatic up the Cascade moutains in Western Washington  to a ski resort during a snow storm.   But then, my alternative was a bicycle not a truck

FHOG: this is my mother….

Reminder to self – a black polo-neck jumper,  stylish set of spectacles and slim build do not predict good-heartedness.   Sometimes I’m such a  slow learner.

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car neige

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

3pm. Somewhere near Didcot. 21st December

How sensible am I,   starting my journey back to Reading?
Unbeknownst to me, Reading had already come to a standstill
The Reading Chronical had already published the standstill*

6pm. Pangbourne. 21st December

Gridlock in PangbourneThis is where I encountered the full car neige,   the tail end of the traffic trying to get into Reading.   The traffic standing still,   sliding sideways, not yet abandoned.   Local radio traffic news talked  50 yards taking 2 hours to cover.   Urrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhh……

Across the next hour I called and consulted with multiple friends. The phone network was often too busy to connect my calls.   Despite the presense  of many car drivers I felt very alone.    My calm sensible friends and I agreed that I needed to get off the road quickly and get shelter for the night.

Elephant Hotel Bar, Pangbournewendy: do you have any spare rooms for the night?

receptionist: stranded?

wendy: yes, well, um, yes

receptionist: we have one room left,   would you like a toothbrush with that?

wendy: OH! (signifying relief at getting a room and supportive receptionist) Yes please, thank you, I was turned away from the hotel down the road, a toothbrush!   how thoughtful

Handsome Other Guest (HOG): we’re stranded too,   I’ve only got a hammer and some ski poles in the boot of my car,   maybe we can do a deal over the toothbrush?

wendy: I’ve got a blanket in my car, we could build something like a tent with the poles and hammer.   Not sure where the toothbrush comes in

HOG: (Huge smile then turns to receptionist) table for 6 please

receptionist: we’re waiting for the chef to get in before we finalise the menu,   we’ll try and feed everyone

HOG: Table for 6?   Can you put me on the waiting list

Butcombe beerClearly the snow car chaos called for some serious parking-up and a pint of Butcombe.   My party for one joined a few other party’s for one and we all shared stories of family, cars, hills, walking, the IT industry  and other topical faerie tales.

*  the exceptional Number 17 bus was still on the move, albeit erratically.

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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

3pm. Somewhere near Didcot. 21st December

work colleague:   leaving already?

wendy:   it’s started snowing

work colleague: I didn’t think you were the nervous type, to leave so early.

Wendy: I’m not nervous,   I’m sensible.   Call me sensible wendy.   I’ll call you when I get home safely.

Ha hahahahahaaaaaaa   how sensible am I?

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snow stopped school

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In December 1981 most of the 1000 or so pupils turned up at my school during the snowy week,   only a few teachers managed to get to school.  

Dec1981 school closed due to snow


The story was very similar to the current snow-stopped-school.     Except that the current snow brings the country to a standstill crisis because parents are having to stay at home to look after their kids,   in 1981 the kids stayed at the closed school and thrashed the proverbial ski-pants of each other.

In 1981 the few, local,  teachers who turned-up organised mass snowball fights between academic years.   In this photo the 3rd year students on the right hand side are advancing on the 2nd year students who are bravely running away to the left.  


The third year won thier foray.   I was in the 6th form.   The 5th year thoroughly squished snow down our necks, up our not insubstantial noses  and in our pants,   jolly good fun it was too.   Hot scrumpy all round,   Hoorah!

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9 ways to deal with Seattle snow

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

The authorities do not ‘Grit’ or salt the roads in Seattle.   No local government provided roadside grit bins.   I’m told they do provide sand but as far as I can tell it’s not stored at known troublespots.     Apparantly, drivers have to rely on other means to reduce the impact of slippiness.     Here’s a list of strategies I’ve observed in the last 24 hours:

  1. heavy metal:  4 wheel drive SUVs  with chains  and/or studded tyres.   I watched a lady smoking a fag in a   Mall car-park yesterday while a ‘cashiers clerk’ (packs shoppers bags for them) put the chains on her stonking-big SUV.  
  2. cat litter:   several people I know carry bags of cat-litter in their car boot,   just incase they need some traction in an emergency.  
  3. abandon ship: abandon your car here, anywhere,   well perhaps aim at the side of ther oad.  Pressumably  these people get a lift from somone with an SUV.
  4. Mall camp:   drive to the nearest strip-mall with a 24hr store.   There are lots of them.   Park,   then wait for the weather to thaw.
  5. hermit:   stay indoors (popular choice).
  6. truant:   claim being stranded then go skiing (another popular choice).
  7. speed: put your foot on the accelerator to get up that slippy hill  (I kid you not,   I saw several people trying this on slopes).
  8. wiggle:   wiggle the steering-wheel around to try and regain control when in a skid (seriously,   I saw this happen to more than one driver)
  9. attack: get out of your car and kick the tyres (uhu,   you guessed it,   I saw somone do this after having wiggled his steering wheel and spun his tyres)

 Now excuse me for a while,  I’ve got some serious falling over to be getting on with,    outside into the pretty slippy world… …oooOOOOooooo….

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charged <----> drained

Monday, February 20th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

In less than 15 mins. LooSea’s battery spontaneously drained while I stopped in the fridge.  

Two wonderful Hispanic men rescued me.

They were fortunate enough to have parked next to LooSea. Their English was better than my Spanish.   Extremely limited.   I pointed at my jump leads, opened the bonnet, and asked if they could help me.   They giggled a bit. Pointed at their car and said “Avis” as I passed them the other end of the leads.  

Is LooSea telling me something? will she start for me tomorrow?  I’m feeling battery-power-challenged at the moment.  


This generous behaviour warranted a proposal.   I didn’t propose because  I haven’t yet purchased a ring to demonstrate my sincerity and commitment to proposees.

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Snow Lake

Monday, July 4th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

Snow Lake is at the end of a 4 mile hike from Snoqualmie pass (Alpentol) into the Alpine Lake region. The gentle hike was a fabulous way to spend a sunny 3rd July. The scenery and light were exquisit.

The hike was busy, as you pass people you catch teasing snippits of their conversations:

“…I must get a new heart…”

“… I’m not interested in dating…”

“…so you use a VPN from home?…”

“…we can catch a boat from Vladivostoc…”

The mosquitos by the lake were numerous. I took way too many photographs.  This is  my favourite:


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Kayaking: Port Susan

Saturday, February 5th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

Waking at 7am. What is that?

Looking at the gray overcast skies. Fighting the urge to “Bail-out” before even getting out of bed.

Driving to Port Susan I passed a multi-car pile-up in the snow on the I5. What am I doing? Am I crazy? Its the first week in February and I paid to be go out on the water? Am I completely bonkers?

As I pulled into the meeting point the Hail stones pounded my warm car. I want to stay in my car. Surely the trip will be canceled and I wont have to Bail? It’s not canceled. I must be ever-so-slightly not-quite-sane.

The sun sneaked out as we unloaded the Kayaks. Maybe this wasn’t such a wacky idea.   In the end no-one balied, tired and happy we wendy’d our ways home….

Sweet Silvery Dreams Wendy xxx

Kayaking: Port Susan
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