Wednesday, 23 January 2013

23rd January 2013 - Snow business v Show Business

Llanelli is not usually bothered by snow to any large extent. The palm trees at the bottom of the road, at the junction of West End and New Road lay witness to the warming influence of the gulf stream which hits the south west coasts of England and Wales. It is normal therefore for the snow to pass over "Tinopolis" and start further inland, on the banks of Swiss Valley - perhaps so aptly named.

However, while my daughter residing in Crete gloatingly tells me that temperatures are resting at 20 degrees Celsius  we are huddling in our house, with blankets and a fan heater, looking out the window upon a mainly white vista.

The central heating boiler churns and groans as it attempts to push water around the house. A few years ago I called an engineer to check the boiler, and as he looked aghast at the contraption. We discovered that it was an old industrial grade boiler probably best suited to small businesses, but capable of circulating around our quirky four storey house. Of course that was before someone added a few radiators back in the dawn of time and I must confess to adding to the problems by adding the basement heaters when we arrived in the eighties. I am no plumber. Sadly the artisans who complied with my request to add radiators followed my enthusiasm rather than examine the actual capabilities of the system and the flow from the pump. This all results in half of the radiators providing an artistic backdrop to a room rather than any actual heat.

My latest engineer took a look at it and stated that he really did not want to touch it, and if he did he felt he would probably have to condemn it!  I was satisfied when he agreed to simply test the fumes - and pass it as safe.  I know that it is not that economical, however the cost of a new boiler and probable replacement of the whole system means that we currently shiver a little in the winter... summer we can manage fine!!!

And so, recovering from coughs and colds, and sucking on the occasional amoxicillan to kick the whoop in cough, I look out upon the gentle fall of white stuff on the road, mentally pull up the draw bridge, and get on with composing some music and practising the lyre. That's Show Business... Mulled wine sees to be the answer.

I could go for a walk...  I could add another section to "Walks in Llanelli" with a nice "Snow Section". The dogs certainly consider this a good option - they are restless and going stir crazy, throwing a plastic up into the air and chasing it when not sitting next to the chair and pawing at my leg.
But it looks cold out there...
Maybe tomorrow - I may be feeling a little better then.
or the next day....


  1. Fear not! I hear Spring's just around the corner - in Harries Avenue, right? Or is that the sound from the bed and sofa company? Darn those apostrophes!

  2. Just curious: How C-O-L-D is that 4th floor? You should furnish it with sheep to keep guests warm and 'comfortable'!

    My memory of "Freezing my arse off upstairs, while the kitchen fire was roaring" back home in Swansea has become a little faded.

    I'm curious, with all this carbon foot print talk, just how well (or poorly) insulated houses in the UK are - compared with those in the US.

    To cite MY specs: In the past week or so here, overnight temperatures have got down to 14F (-10C) outside, whilst the inside temperatures (I had the furnace turned OFF - it is temporarily buggered - were at 56F (13C) - so, a difference of 42F (23C).

    No idea if that is GREEN, or TARTAN. What say you?

  3. Well we are not suffering the same level of cold, but it sounds as though your "Green" credentials are better than mine - I may write more about the vagaries of insulating my house on a future occasion.... but, as they say - that will be another story...

  4. The greatest heat loss is typically through poorly fitted windows and doors, and as Alice may say 'THROUGH' the glass of single-pane windows, up the chimney flues (even with the damper closed), and through the attic. My parents boarded over 3 or 4 fireplaces that were never used after they installed radiators throughout the house.

    Exterior walls are another avenue for heat loss - but in 'terraced' (semi-detached) housing like yours, at least you only have to worry about the front and back walls. My parent's house in Swansea was a 'pine-end' house - and that end wall was always damp; it never got any sun on it. Detached houses of course have all 4 walls as heat-loss culprits.

    If the house is a framed house - as most are here - make sure that electical outlets on the exterior walls have insulation around them - it's easy for Jack Frost to sneak in through them otherwise. Hold a candle near them - and windows to see where there are drafts (sorry - draughts)

    All this makes me want something I have not had for years - a cup of hot cocoa - or some Bournville