Sunday, January 24, 2016

The chilling truth

Once upon a snowy winter in the Oude Haven (2010, this was)


Last weekend, I posted about the rain on my roof, and I think someone up there must have heard me and decided to teach me a lesson. If you're listening...yes you up there... I promise never to complain again...well, not for a week or so anyway!

The thing is during this past week, the rain dried up, the skies cleared (this I did like) and the temperature plummeted (that's the part I wasn't so keen on). For several days in a row, it dropped down to minus something ridiculous, which meant that even though well-insulated and heated, my barge never made it above chilly overnight and only to sort-of-warm during the day.

As chance would have it, I spent an afternoon at home on board last Wednesday. The fact that it was only at the sort-of-warm stage, which was not enough for me to sit in comfort, prompted me to embark on a few jobs. They were all small tasks - what the Dutch would call 'klusjes' (the 'j' sounding like a 'y') - that I'd been intending to do for a while and never quite got round to. But wanting to be active to get warm was a pretty good incentive to get on with them.

First, I hung a couple of pictures on the side panels above my new storage unit. I've been meaning to do this for a few months and am so pleased because they make such a difference to the homeliness of that part of the barge.

Then I fixed a small movement sensitive strip light by the entrance hatch. It's one of these led-light thingies and works on batteries. It also means that when it's dark and I want to get in the barge or get up in the night, the light will come on without my having to fumble around and break a few bits of myself in the process. Actually I also have one of those wind-up lights, but I still have to grope around to find it before I can turn it on. Now, with my amazing new wonder leds, I won't have to worry - one wave of my magic hand and said small strip light will spring into action.

Lastly, I screwed a small latch onto the inside of the entrance hatch. Again, this is something I've been meaning to do forever as without it, the only way I've been able to lock myself in at night has been by looping an old dog lead through the handle and tying it to the coat rack...effective, but not very efficient - or easy to explain to the insurance inspector when he checks my safety and security measures (erm, see, it works like this, Jan). But...all I have to do now is flick the latch open and out I can go. Jan (or Joe Blogs as he would be in English) will see it and nod his approval.

So, by the time I'd done all these things I was toasty warm, the more so because the old diesel stove had started to make more impact on the frosty atmosphere.  This of course proves the chilling truth that if you want to get things done, you have to ask a chilly person. After all, busy hands make ice walk (as they don't say in China)... sorry...

For Carol: Snow on the hatches...
What do you do to keep warm at home when the outside temperature makes outdoor activities less than attractive?

23 comments:

  1. oooh I must say you do make it sound nice and cosy..... I pile on layers, and hide under a duvet.... what happens when you get snow over there?

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    1. I get outside quick and start shovelling, Carol! If I don't, I can't open my hatch at all as the snow weighs it down! Then I'm really stuck :)

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  2. I light another fire in the middle room to warm up the draughts. I did test lighting two weeks ago and smoked us out, which ended up in me giving the stove a thorough cleaning it must have worked because yesterday the stove burnt fine and we were toasty!

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    1. Ah, there's nothing like a real fire in a proper wood (or other) burning stove, is there, Mel? I used to have one on the Vereeniging, but it actually fell apart, so I had to replace it.

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  3. Always envy your lifestyle in the summer - not so much in the winter! ;)

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    1. It has its downsides, I will acknowledge, Chris. One is waking up to hear the ice scrunching against the sides and thinking you are sinking :)

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  4. I hate the cold - I light a fire, and load myself with woollies till the room warms up. If it's too cold to sit and read I'm really grumpy!

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    1. That's why you always escape at the coldest time of year, isn't it Jo? :)

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  5. Hi Val - I'd forgotten about the snow weighing the hatch down and battening you in ... not a nice thought. Gosh I hate being cold ... I get moving, or turn the heating on and read or work here! Probably here - sad really .. must now get moving and do some physical work.

    Cheers and hope the warmth comes back sometime soon .. Glad you got your jobs done - that's the main thing .. Hilary

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    1. I hate being cold too, Hilary. It really undoes me like nothing else. Keeping busy is the key, isn't it?

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  6. You are amazing, Val! Brilliant ending: This of course proves the chilling truth that if you want to get things done, you have to ask a chilly person. After all, busy hands make ice walk (as they don't say in China)... sorry...
    Hope it will warm up for you now...and for us would be nice too!

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    1. Ah, bless you, Steph. I'm glad you liked that. I enjoyed writing that last line. It gave me a chuckle too. Thank you! And yes, may your hands make ice melt and warmth come again!

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  7. I too have a fire or turn on the air-con if outside is too cold to appeal. And here it can also be too hot out there to want to go out! Then it is time for the fans, and a cool drink. You certainly are handy with the little domestic jobs - I envy your skills Val.

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    1. I loved South African winters, Patricia, so I think I would probably enjoy Australian winters too. I hope it's not too hot for you!

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  8. Well, it's gone from freezing to warm again here in Hastings, so maybe it will/already has for you, Val. I always imagine your boat as all ship-shape and cozy - I'm sorry it isn't in real life....

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    1. Ah Stephanie, mostly it's fine, but when the temperature really plummets, it's hard to keep the barge warm, it's true, but other than that, it is very cosy. I love my barge very much!

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  9. We've hardly had a proper Canadian winter as of yet. It was once again above freezing today. I do have a lovely hot tub just 2 steps from the back door, which, believe it or not, we still wander out to in the dead of winter! I also have a wonderful faux fur blanket on the bed for when I feel frosty. :)

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    1. You've been really blessed this year, Anne-Marie! Even so, I cannot imagine risking those two steps in the outside world before getting into the tub...brave lass you are!

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  10. I switch the central heating on Val,easy peasy,haha! Since we have moved to a smaller house the whole house heats up fast. The thought of that snow stopping you from lifting the hatch,I remember that from your book. I'm so glad you have a lock that's safer then a dog lead.

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    1. In fairness, the hatch is already quity heavy, Anne. The snow tips the balance. I am very pleased with my lock now, and as for central heating, some of the barges here have it too, would you believe. Last night I could hear my neighbour's heating system working like crazy. It was pretty cold, so needed to work harder than normal.

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  11. There is a certain satisfaction in getting jobs done that you have been meaning to do forever. You can then sit back feeling very content with the world xxx

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    1. Yes, I felt very virtuous that day. Mind you, I'll bet Pete sits with his halo all aglow every day :) xxx

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