Friday, January 08, 2010

Ice Inside & Out

Perth continues to look idyllic in its Arctic cloak, with the hills of the Sma' Glen forming a pure white backdrop to the chimney's and boilers of the town, as they gently smoke and steam in the morning sun. The 'coldest winter for thirty years' isn't all sledging, icicles and picture postcard views though. For a start there has been a severe outbreak of "you think this is bad - you weren't alive in 1963, now that was a real winter, and we didn't have central heating back then either" spreading across the country, affecting all regions by nightfall. Secondly, there have been real problems caused when the icy temperatures haven't stayed in the correct places, ie. up remote Glens with unpronounceable Gaelic names to fluster English newsreaders; and just as importantly, remaining outside the house rather than inside it.

We first noticed that the ice had entered the building when it began to rain inside young Norris' bedroom. As it wasn't raining at the time, and there was an intervening ceiling and roof between the bedroom and any potential rainfall - our Sherlock Holmes like deductive powers led us to suspect the presence of a burst pipe. Locating the source of the leak was similarly brilliantly achieved by looking directly above where water was pouring through the ceiling.

It would be ludicrously anthropomorphic to attribute malice to ice - but you can you think of a better explanation for the fact that the ceiling through which it tipped all this water, was the one I had just finished painting?

The plumber arrived eventually, after we'd spent the day with no central heating, shivering with only a coal fire to heat the house (but try telling that to someone who remembers 1963, they wouldn't believe you). Apparently he'd seen ten of these during the day - frozen condensate pipes from boilers, backing up and spewing water into houses and cutting boilers out. The solution wasn't very high-tech however. It involved sawing the pipe in two, sticking a bucket under the pipe and telling me to remember to "keep emptying it if you want to use the heating".

I'm in two minds. I can either spend the time going up and down to the attic with buckets, or switch the whole thing off, and wait by the fire for the thaw while grumbling and mumbling about life in austerity Britain. 1947 was even worse than 1963 apparently.

1 comment:

Endlessly restless said...

Similar thing happened to us - except I had to cut the pipe outside the house. Seems to me that there is a fundamental design flaw with this system - maybe it's central heating for warmer climates!