Friday, 22 January 2010

Diary of an Englishman living in The Highlands...

"Our First Winter"

DEC 20th
It's starting to snow.
The first of the season and the first we've seen for years.
The wife and I took out our hot toddies and sat on the porch watching the fluffy soft flakes drift gently down clinging to the trees and covering the ground.
It's so beautiful and peaceful.

DEC 24th
We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white glistening snow covering as far as the eye could see.
What a fantastic sight, every tree and bush covered with a beautiful white mantle.
I shovelled snow for the first time ever and loved it. I did both our driveway and the pavement.
Later that day a snowplough came along and accidentally covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I waved back and shovelled it away again.
The children next door built a snowman with coal for eyes and a carrot for a nose, and had a snowball fight, a couple just missed me and hit the car so I threw a couple back and joined in their fun.

DEC 26th
It snowed an additional 5 inches last night and the temperature dropped to around minus 8 degrees.
Several branches on our trees and bushes snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shovelled the driveway again.
Shortly afterwards the snowplough came by and did his trick again.
Much of the snow is now a brownish - grey.

JAN 1st
Warmed up enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again.
Bought snow tyres for both our cars.
Fell on my arse in the driveway.
Went to a physio but nothing was broken.

JAN 5th
Still cold. Sold the wife's car and bought her a 4x4 to get her to work.
She slid into a wall and did considerable damage to the right wing.
Had another 8 inches of white sh*te last night.
Both vehicles are covered in salt and iced up slush.
That bastard snowplough came by twice today.
Where's that bloody shovel?

JAN 9th
More f*****g snow. Not a tree or bush on our property that hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night.
Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a paraffin heater which tipped over and nearly torched the house.
I managed to put the flames out but suffered 2nd degree burns on my hands. Lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes.
Car hit a f*****g deer on the way to casualty and car was written off.

JAN 13th
F*****g b*****d white sh*te just keeps on coming down. Have to put on every article of clothing just to go to the post box. The little bastards next door ambushed me with snowballs on the way back - I'll shove that carrot so far up the little b*****d's arse it'll take a good surgeon hours to find it.
If I ever catch the a***hole that drives the snowplough I'll chew open his chest and rip out his heart with my teeth.
I think the b*****d hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shovelling and then he accelerates down the street like Michael SchuF*****gmacher and buries the f*****g driveway again.

JAN 17th
Sixteen more f*****g inches of f*****g snow and f*****g ice and f*****g sleet and god knows what other white sh*te fell last night.
I am in court in 3 months time for assaulting the snowplough driver with an ice-pick.
Can't move my f*****g toes.
Haven't seen the sun for 5 weeks.
Minus 20 and more f*****g snow forecast.

JAN 18th



The Lakelander said...


When my parents grew up in the Highlands, it was considered unwise not to have enough food stored to last you for 2 months during the winter. Snowploughs didn't exist back then.

Philipa said...

Brilliant. Brilliant! I laughed like a drain and the children wanted to know what was so funny. Told them to shush and attempted to stifle laughter.

Back still tender but can just about walk without a stick now. Excellent.

lilith said...

Very funny Scrobs. I fantasised about living in Scotland years ago but was warned off by a morose local who warned met that the "Dampness and the Darkness will get to 'ee in the end."

Scrobs... said...

Thank you Lakes, the food storage question actually surfaced at The Turrets only a few weeks ago.

On investigation, Mrs S found we had enough to last us 10 days, and we only have to walk to Linda's Spar shop a couple of hundred yards away...

Linda is a great, very attractive lady, and I understand that she's done reasonably well from all this snow stuff and I'm delighted!

Scrobs... said...

Hi Pips, I'm so pleased it made you laugh, because I was in stitches by the end!

It was sent by a co-conspirator and she has this knack of just maiking me hoot every time we meet up at our First Thursday bashes!

Good to know you're still mending well; just keep on going eh?

Scrobs... said...

Lils, I understand that - I really do.

Mrs S and I just hate the closing down of winter, and even today, we realise that although it's January, there was a sense of spring in the air.

Just for you, the branch of 'George' (apple tree behind where you sat) has been sadly chopped off, and is now in the kindling pile...

Sometime, history has to be re-written...


The Old Tarf said...

Oh, my what a hoot. You certainly did get a lot of snow this year. in case you forgot what it was like pop over for a cold remainder of winter. When you go to court for assaulting the Snow plough operator I will come over with a file and a case of beer to pay a visit.

Thud said...

For me there can just never be enough snow...if I can ever persuade the wife I will move to a place that has the snowiest winter possible.....divorce beckons.

Scrobs... said...

Tarfers, a case of beer is definitely worth a session with the sort of beaks we get round here.

I will claim insanity, fear of cold things (except beer, and white wine), and show a membership certificate of 'The Jaffa Orange Club...'

Now do you remember that!

Scrobs... said...

Antarctica needs a few good builders Thudders!

Have you seen this Eco house in the Cotswolds?

Some house this...

Philipa said...

What a great link, Scrobs. There is another house nr Ely along similar lines I think (say it on Grand Designs).

Thud said...

Scrobs...interesting house although I think some of the figures are rather suspect. I'm not in any way eco other than saving energy means saving money, but in my case i figure my renovating old houses is pretty green as all energy expenditure has already been factored in during initial build.

Philipa said...

A friend has just visited and told me of the fantastic new eco-friendly heating system installed at his partners workplace. It stops working when the temperature drops below -5. His puzzlement was hilarious - why build a heating system that stops working when it gets colder?

Scrobs... said...

Not quite sure what he means Pips, but as of this morning, (-6), I'd start looking for a few bits of kindling and a bucket of coal...

I like the Eco house, because I don't want to pay the French power company any more than I have to!

Scrobs... said...

Thudders, I'm with you there.

I'd use second-hand materials every time too.

They're probably all over the properties you're restoring too!

I'm pretty convinced that the ridge board in The Turrets levelled the original concrete slab too...

And why not!

El-Kevo said...

Why do you think there are more Scots in London that Scotland ???

Philipa said...

He means it's a bit stupid to design a heating system that stops working when it gets cold.

I think he has a point.

More Scots in London cos it's warmer there?

T. P. Fuller said...

I have no answer to why there are so many Scots in London... though I did hear a very reasonable explanation of why there are so many Australians.
It's to do with the old axiom about criminals returning to the scene of a crime.

Scrobs... said...


"He means it's a bit stupid to design a heating system that stops working when it gets cold."

There's no argument with that.

I was rather hoping there would be a technical reason, (please understand, I'm not expecting you to provide the spec or anything), but this one I cannot fathom!

I always hope that because we're on Economy 7, the rads do their topping up in time for me to get up and shiver at the normal time (5.00am if I'm lucky...)!

JRT doesn't get up for ages afterwards, especially if I cover her up with her blanket...

Scrobs... said...

Elecs, the only unwelcome Scots in London are those who seem to infest Downing St.

I really wirsh they'd piss off back home and bugger up Edinburgh or something.

Scrobs... said...

Dear Fuller,

When I shared a flat (Turrets - Bachelor Flat Variety, Number four) with so many Australians that Barry McKenzie would call round just to see where his mates were; we always used the term 'Go rattle your chains...', which was supposed to be funny, but in fact hurt several antipodean mates so I didn't do it any more!

I'm of the opinion that I learned more from my chums from Sydney, and much later, Geraldton, (Perth) than I ever did from my Village People, and some of the others poking around London Town!

One particular flatmate was the son of the guy who founded Vogelbread, and I wish I could turn the clock back and apologise for being such a prat on one occasion!

Some friends you win, others you need to earn...

Philipa said...


*long pause and deep sigh* ?

I can only tell you what I was told in conversation as, you've guessed it, I haven't seen the thing nor it's spec. It was designed not to work below -5 degrees. That's it. Go figure!

'parently the firm has been innundated with complaints. Who'd a thunk it!

Scrobs... said...


(Listens to sigh...)

(Joins in sigh...)

(Looks out of the window...)

I think he means a heat pump with energy from the ground. When it gets too cold, a normal system kicks in.

Or his name is Milo Minderbinder, and he buys cotton at five cents and sells it for a profit at three cents!

Heskett Bellé-Sauvage said...

Australians! Won't have a word whispered agin'em! They fought with my father at the Second Battle of Krithia... father one of course. But it bloody well confused the Turks!
Also they don't have homosexuality down there... by 'down there' I mean Australia not their back passages. This is only a problem I believe on the more remote sheep stations, where the men are so damn overtly masculine that woman are considered too feminine to have sex with (mean to say where is the difference between a liking for a soft womanly curve and an angora cardigan?) I believe these chaps take it out on salt water crocodiles.

word verification 'endases'

Heskett Bellé-Sauvage said...

won of course... silly ass!

Philipa said...

Oh you know him, Scobs.

*deep sigh*
*runs hand through hair*

These systems are designed to work at something like -30 abroad but they used cheaper parts here and designed/constructed it to work down to -5 but not below as they thought Britain would never get colder than that. Well, you know what thought did...

Scrobs... said...

Heskett! What a pleasure to read your Father's memoirs in such glorious 3D Technicolour!

Note, I did not add 'Yawn' to the word 'tecnicolour', as this is overtly an Australian term and much admired.

Another one which I tirelssly repeat is 'Punch a Grogan', and that is disgusting, but hilarious of course!

Pips, put your hands over your eyes!!!

Scrobs... said...


(Scratches back of head,bends down, gets licked to death by JRT, sits back on bench, puffs out cheeks, looks out of window, write something stupid and forgets what he's saying in post...)

Scrobs... said...

Aaaah yes Pips,

*sudden bout of recall*

Of course, they would work better there!

Thought so...

Philipa said...

What are you on about, Scrobs?

You need a drink, honey.
Or have you had one already?
I think I'll join you :-)

Thud said...

Scrobs...the much vaunted air source heating is very inefficient when temps reach -5 which as you point out seems rather daft....saying that though I am tempted to look further into the system given -5 is pretty rare in my area.

Scrobs... said...

Ha ha Pips, actually yesterday was frenetic - especially in the p.m.

One or two things had started happening on all fronts, and, as is my wont, when the phones die down around 5.00pm, I tend to sit back and just see who's around.

(Tinctures never before 6.00 p.m. - house rule)

Somehow, last evening just needed a short outbusrt of silliness, and as I've always liked the *waves* comments, which came from your posts, I just let the fingers do the thinking so to speak!

Now, back to heat pumps...

Scrobs... said...

Thuds, as Pips' chum said, it is daft isn't it, but I'd look on them as a regular bit of kit which needed a boost when it mattered, at - say -5 degrees, which is pretty cold for the UK.

Solar panels presumably have the same attributes, they'll only do so much, and nothing wrong with that.

We were looking at the feasibility of one in a hotel once, but this was to appease the green brigade to get planning permission...