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The Beast From The East Strikes Lincolnshire

It’s a November kind of February…well, now March.

When I woke up on Wednesday before my huband, I left the curtains pulled on the bedroom and glanced at the cats in the spare room on my way to the stairs. They were sharing their perch and both quite avidly watching something out the window. Merddin (the ginger boy) even tried to catch something through the glass. So I looked out and was greeted with:

Snow. Our first major snowfall of the 2017/2018 winter. They’re calling it the Beast from the East with good reason as it stretches all the way from Eastern Russia to nearly cover the entire European continent. It even snowed in Rome!

But let me back up to Tuesday, when we saw minimal snow showers and a squall or two. I happened to be in town to buy a birthday present for my aunt at M&S and when I left the shop, it had started to snow.

The snow continued in little squalls the rest of the day, and we even had one so bad the bus driver could barely see on the drive home, but it wasn’t bad overall. But at 8PM, I received a text from Tesco that my deliver was cancelled due to the snow! I wound up at the local co op where I was lucky to grab a small bottle of milk, and a 6 pack of eggs. No bread.

I went to bed thinking I would catch a bus in the morning to a grocery store since all we got was that piddly amount of snow.

Boy was I wrong!

I was cold. I layered up with thermal tights, thermal leggings, 2 thermal tops, wool and fleece socks…and my brand new Beverly Crusher onesie from Think Geek.

By the time Tim left for work, it was snowing on and off. Then, around 2PM, we seemed to have a blizzard out there.

Wednesday is Slimming World Day for me, and I usually walk to group as it’s not far away. But a recent knee injury has left me getting lifts from my friends, and for group on Wednesday, I asked my consultant if she could pick me up. I’m part of her social team, so I was able to stay to group and help her the entire evening, but not before bundling up for the cold!

My Slimming World consultant picked me up at 4 and we headed to run group as she wasn’t allowed to cancel. But I took a 6 inch ruler outside before I left to measure the snow in the garden, and it was a tiny bit over the top of the ruler.

I also had to have a little bit of fun with MiniBev and MiniPicard.

After Slimming World, we slided our way back home and I walked to the co op once more in the hopes I could pick up the missing essential grocery items. That was a big fat nope. No milk, bread, or eggs. Someone is making a lot of French toast! I did spot this single little icicle though:

When my husband left for work around 11AM for his 2-10 shift, all the hills into Lincoln were closed. He had to park the car up at the Lawn and walk on foot the rest of the way into Lincoln. Once at work, his job took him out to Ancaster, some 20 miles away. His trip home took an hour to get back to Lincoln, and then another hour to get from Lincoln to Dunholme…a distance of only five miles.

Naturally, he was unable to stop for supplies on his way home, so I could only hope the co-op would get a delivery in the morning.

As you can see, the cats are more interested in the electric blanket now than looking out at the snow.

This morning, I was relieved to see we hadn’t had any more snow overnight, however it has now become windy, which means lots of drifting snow. Still, I had hoped the co-op would have been resupplied, but according to a friend, a delivery came in early, but people were buying multiple jugs of milk, loaves of bread, and packs of eggs, leaving the shelves empty by the time I got there.

I did manage to pick up a pack of wraps, some soy milk, some chocolate milk, and a 4-pack of duck eggs. I’ve never eaten duck eggs before, but I’m assuming they will taste relatively the same. I hope. We can use the chocolate milk in our coffee and the soy milk with cereal to save the minimal regular milk for tea.

The village roads are still hit and miss. Two of the main roads (Lincoln Rd and Ryland Rd) seem relatively clear, but Honeyholes lane is a struggle and I heard several streets are still completely impassable, as we simply won’t see a plough on the smaller streets. The footpaths are walkable, if you can keep your balance on the packed down snow, and are most definitely not passable if you use any type of walking aid. The buses are even trying to run limited services again.

I’m hoping to get out tomorrow to get groceries. Tesco graciously gave me some vouchers, but I don’t want to schedule delivery until this mess has passed us over as I wouldn’t want it to get cancelled again!

Short video I took from my bedroom window:

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White…February?

We haven’t had any snow all Winter, despite the massive warnings in mid-October that it was going to be a “hard winter” with “snow as early as November”. Granted, it has snowed in other areas of the UK, particularly Scotland, but this weekend was the first time it snowed over pretty much the entire country. When I woke up on Saturday to see the light dusting of snow, I laughed as I thought that was all we were going to get. The hard frost on Saturday morning was thicker than the snow. However, we received more Saturday night into Sunday. As far as I can tell, it started around 8PM or so, it was still snowing when we went to bed, but it had stopped when I woke up around 4AM and looked outside. There wasn’t much by my standards – only about 5cm total in our garden – but it was enough to grind the county to a halt.

As a Northeastern US girl, I’m used to snow. It’s not Winter unless we’ve been dumped on with a foot or more of snow, so it always amuses me how badly most of the UK handles the slightest amount of snow. Busses get cancelled (good thing it was Sunday), local shops are shut, and people can’t seem to understand the idea of shovelling their driveway and clearing the snow off the roof before trying to move their cars. My first Winter here as a visitor, it snowed. It was November 2008 and it was something like the first time parts of the UK had seen snow in over 20 years. I decided to walk down to the Co-op in the next village over, and I was amazed at the state of some of the vehicles on the road. People had barely cleared off their windscreens of snow, let alone the rest of the car. Since then, it has snowed pretty regularly each Winter, with at least one snow “storm”. You would think people would have learned and remembered how to handle it from one year to the next.

If Tim has off work, snow for us is just a reason to get out the snow plow for the garden railway. Fortunately, this was Tim’s scheduled Sunday off. We invited our friends Helen and Mark over to help — well, Mark was outside with Tim, and Helen and I stayed warm inside and chatted over a cup of tea. Our snow plow seems to be allergic to the camera though, because every time I aimed a camera at it, it decided to derail, but I still managed to pull off one nice image:


It took Tim 4 tanks of gas to get the lower circuit done (one tank is good for a 20-30 minute run). Our upper circuit goes into a cutting about 4 inches deep, and the cutting was completely full of snow so we decided to only open the lower circuit. We might have gotten the plow around, but it would have made the cutting unstable and probably would have caused an “avalanche” (at 16mm to the foot that’s what it would have looked like). Plus, the upper circuit has two level crossings across our front walkway, and most of that snow had been compacted down by our boots so it would have been a struggle to move!



Mark used an end of train marker from Austria as a temporary stop sign to indicate that the line off to the left (what line?) was currently closed.


The platform at Horncastle. We actually have 5 tracks here, but only cleared the one for use.


Running the first train completely around the service.

While stating “England doesn’t get snow” might have been an accurate statement 5, 10 years ago, I think these photos prove that is no longer true*!

[This post has been cross-posted to my LJ as my entry for this week’s The Real LJ Idol topic: Current Events.]

*Not something I say, but something a friend said she was told by a friend.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog.]

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Being Winter Ready

Are you ready for Winter?

If you live in the UK, there are some claims that parts of the country could see snow in mid-October. It’s a bit of an ambiguous comment considering the UK includes Scotland, and it’s quite likely for it to snow there early in the season, and oh look, it did. But with last week’s record-breaking highs followed by this week’s bitterly cold wind, you never know what will happen with the weather.

So it’s time to get out the wool caps and start preparing yourself and your home for Winter.

As most of you know, Tim and I live in half of a farmhouse built in the 1800s. While we have nice thick walls for insulating purposes, it also can get quite draughty. We don’t have central heating and rely on a fireplace in the living room for heat, and electric oil-filled radiators in the other rooms, along with a halogen heater (which I use a lot in the living room when the fire isn’t lit) and a gas heater in the bathroom. Last year, Tim and I picked up some Stormguard Secondary Glazing from B&Q and it really made a difference in the living room, bathroom, and spare room. This year, we purchased two kits so we can hopefully get all the windows (except for the kitchen) sealed. The reason we won’t seal the kitchen is because it acts as a vent for the hob, and the kitchen will get warm enough from cooking.

When it got cold last year, we started shoving old towels and dressing gowns (US: robes) around the bottom of the front door and the living room door. It really helped to keep the warm air in the house. I even shoved a mitten inside the letter slot overnight because I could feel a draft coming through it! This year, I plan to make some draught excluders from last year’s winter tights (checking carefully to make sure there are no holes first) and some sand. I will post a tutorial within the next few weeks.

We also will be closing off rooms in our house to keep the warmth where we need it. This year, we aren’t having a guest at Christmastime (I’m very sad about this, but there’s nothing we can do about it), so we plan on leaving the door to the spare room shut. The cat will be mad at losing her favourite sleeping spot, but she’ll get over it. We also will be keeping our bedroom door shut during the day to try to keep as much of the heat in as possible.

Years ago, Tim purchased an all-seasons duvet from Debenhams. It is a two-part duvet with a thin duvet for Summer use, a thicker duvet for Autumn/Early Spring use, and you snap the two together to make a thick, warm, Winter duvet. It sure is nice and cozy to snuggle down under the thick duvet with our heated mattress pad.

Obviously, I’ll also be bringing out the thermal undergarments, and I’ve actually been wearing some of the tops this week already. Last year I couldn’t find tops in my size, so I just wore regular camisoles. I was in Marks and Spencers a few weeks ago and I discovered they sell ladies thermal tops up to a size 22, so I now have 2 camisole/sleeveless tops, and 2 long sleeved tops to go along with my 2 pairs of thermal pants I bought last year. I also wore tights under my trousers nearly every day last Winter, so I’ve already stocked up on a few pairs of weather sensor tights. They claim to “keep your body temperature regulated”. I’m not really sure if they work or not, but they were soft and comfortable. I’ll also soon start shopping for some thick slipper socks to wear around the house, as I’m not an indoor shoe-wearer. My mom sent me a pair of bootie-style slippers, so that will help, too. Last year, Primark sold mock uggs for a fiver. The boots were pretty useless when we had loads of snow, but they also doubled up as slipper-boots for the house. I bought a pair of boots at New Look towards the end of the season on a recommendation from my SIL, but I’ll keep a pair of Primark boots in reserve just in case I get soaked.

Other than getting the house and my wardrobe ready, I also have to think about the kitchen and cooking. Last year, we had a snow storm that had our car stuck in the driveway and the only shops we were able to get to were the corner Spar or the Cost Cutters – both of which ran out of bread and milk faster than they could get it delivered. Tesco also cancelled one of my deliveries due to the snow, so we started to run out of food options until my MIL’s friend took her to Tesco in their 4×4 (US: SUV) and she was able to pick us up a few items. This year, I’m going to try to be more prepared.

I have a bread machine, so when the Spar ran out of bread last year, out came the machine. It’s not brilliant bread for toasting, but it will do. Milk was the bigger issue, and at one point we had to resort to powdered skim milk for our tea (gross) for a half day while we waited for the Spar to get in a milk delivery. We are going to fix this problem this year by keeping a few boxes of UHT milk in the pantry. We take UHT milk with us when we go camping, and while it’s not something we would sit and drink a glass of, it’s fine for tea or a bowl of cereal, and it’s shelf-stable, so it doesn’t need refrigeration until it’s opened.

We don’t usually eat processed food, but I started a small “stockpile” within the past few weeks as a “just in case”. My mini stockpile includes cooking ingredients like pasta, passata, and canned tomatoes as well as tins of hoops, ravioli, and macaroni cheese. If we run into a situation where there isn’t anything to eat in the fridge, we will have a few meals we can make from the tinned food, and it doubles as “emergency food” for those times when we have been out all day and I’m too tired to cook or days I’m not feeling well and should save us from ordering pizza or going down to the chippy. I also have a few containers of “just add hot water” soups and noodles. It’s not brilliant, but it will see us through a snow storm. All I have been doing is adding an extra few tins to my weekly grocery shop, particularly if something was on offer.

I also have to consider the possibility of the electricity going out, as ours went out several times last Winter. Assuming we can get it up and running, this won’t be a problem for us as we will have the coal-fired Esse stove working. If we don’t get the Esse working, then we will have a combination of whatever can be cooked over/in the fireplace and the use of our single burner gas camping stove. Last year I also purchased toasting forks for the fireplace for cooking sausages or toasting crumpets.

Lighting-wise, we have loads of torches (US: Flashlights) and some strings of battery-operated fairy lights we purchased at IKEA last year for a railway project. I grabbed two strands last year while my mom was visiting and the electricity went out and strung one around the bannister to see for going up the steps, and it worked wonders. I even took the strands camping and used one as a night light so when I got up in the middle of the night I didn’t have to fumble for a torch. I also tend to load up on candles – both the tall tapers and tea lights. A tea light in a jar can provide enough light to use the loo, and a group of them can be used to read by. The extra plus of a candle is that the flame will help to raise the temperature in the room, too. When I ran out of candle holders for the tapers last year, I pulled empty bottles out of the recycling bin. The mouth was just the perfect size for a candle, just melt some wax around the lip first to secure the candle. We also keep a battery operated radio under the sink, and I’ve used it to have some noise around if Tim was away at work, but it also works for leaving on a local radio station to get updates. We have an inverter in our camping supplies that will convert a car cigarette lighter to a regular plug just in case we need to charge a phone.

Because our electricity tends to go out at random moments, we keep torches accessible everywhere and I started collecting wind-up torches from the places we visited to cut down on needing batteries. When I was staying in a static caravan last summer (2010), I used two wind-up torches to read by in my bedroom so I didn’t need to use the overhead lighting, so they are pretty bright!

The single-burner camping stove means we can still heat up the small tins of food, too. I can get very creative when I need to, and if you get a large enough pot, you can peel the label off a few cans, put the opened cans in the pot, fill the pot with water, and cook two cans at once.

I know a lot of this sounds crazy, but I like to be prepared. I don’t want to wind up in a situation where we’re freezing and hungry and I don’t think anything I’m doing is too extreme.

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users can comment directly on Facebook.]

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Saturday:

Sunday:

Monday:
No pic of my house, but here’s one I took in Lincoln

Tuesday:

10AM:

2PM:

9PM:

11PM:

But the fire is so delightful

And since we’ve no place to go…Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

And the most recent, taken at 1AM on Wednesday:

It doesn’t show signs of stopping….:

And just for good measure, the snowperson my sister-in-law and I made this afternoon:

The village shop has run out of the 4 pint size bottle (half gallonish) of milk and no longer has bread, but we’ve got the bread machine for bread, and worst case scenario, we’ll buy smaller milk if we run out (just opened a 4 pt bottle Tuesday afternoon). Worst, worst case scenario, I have a canister of powdered milk in my baking supplies we can raid for tea. We stopped at Morrison’s on Monday and bought a few “basics”, not our weekly shop, but I think I can cobble together some meals for a few days. Tim and I can also always go to the CostCutter or the Co-Op, though those are longer walks (about a mile RT to CostCutter and 2 miles RT to the Co-Op) and today when we went to the Spar shop (literally, 5 houses down from us) I got soaked by a passing car, so I really don’t want to walk near the road right now!

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users can comment directly on Facebook.]

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More Snow Vlogs!

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More Snow Vlogs….

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Vlog: Snow!

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SNOW!

We interrupt the trip log from last weekend to bring you the following:

OMG it’s snowing!!

This morning I woke up around 7:30 to put food into the crock pot for later this afternoon and I heard a pattering noise against the window. Wondering if it was rain I was hearing, I opened the front door to see — SNOW!

Tim says it hardly ever snows here, and when it does it’s never much, but it was really coming down for a while there!

Now, we did suspect it was going to snow, as last night on the news they talked about snow up and down the East coast (of the UK), but I had honestly forgotten about it by the time I woke up!

Sadly, it started to turn to ice and now rain, but for a brief time, we had snow!



view from the front door.


Tim’s garden railway


Looking up the street

More photos: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/uk-trip-2008/snow/

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Coldest Night Yet!

How fitting that on my last weekend in town, it gets down to the coldest it’s been so far!


Or, for those of you in the United States who, like me, struggle with Celsius:

Brr! Glad Sarah told me how to turn on the heat!

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The Sun isn’t as Damaging Here?

Yesterday I was out from around noon until 4PM in the sun walking around into town and around town and then back. And I was *hot*. I drained my water bottle well before I even got back near the house, and my pedometer says I walked 5.25 miles. I neglected sunblock so I was sort of expecting to look in the mirror this morning and see sunburn on my forehead, but would you believe there’s nothing? Usually if I’m out in the sun for even a half hour without sunblock I start to get a little crispy. I’m sure the scientific reason is that I’m farther away from the equator, but I always thought sunlight was sunlight? Then again, when I was in the Caribbean, we were warned about the sun being hotter, so I suppose it makes sense the farther north you go, the less hot the sun is?

My latitude here is 51 degrees…am I really as close to the Arctic Circle as I think I am?

I’m using the latitude/longitude calculator here: http://www.satsig.net/maps/lat-long-finder.htm, and apparently when I’m in the UK, I’ll be at the 0 meridian…so I get to go from the hundredth meridian to the zero…and I realize I am probably a huge geek for pointing this out. (Latitude of where I’ll be in the UK is 53)

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Prarie Storm

It’s starting to storm out there, and despite the fact that thunder makes me jump and I don’t really like looking at lightning, I’m finding the storm pretty. It’s different than a storm would be at home…at home there just isn’t as much sky. I know, that sounds weird, but with the wide open prairies it just makes the sky look bigger for some reason.


Check the gallery for more photos:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008/storm-in-dauphin/

Oh, and because I think this photo I took of Hobbes is adorable:

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