Sunday 1 July 2012: Yes...... too busy to blip (almost!)
Christina arrived today - note to self (as this is the second time it's happened!): The flight from Auckland only takes 70 minutes so do NOT believe tickets that say the flight will land in Nelson 90 minutes after taking off from Auckland! As passengers will be looking expectantly around the inside of the terminal building approximately 180 seconds after landing, do not be late!
We arrived outside the airport five minutes before Christina's plane was "due" to land, so I dropped Immy at the entrance to the terminal and went to look for a parking space. The short-term car park was full, so by the time I had found somewhere to leave the car and walked the few feet back to the building, there was Christina, sitting on a bench with her baggage beside her. No sign of Immy, who had somehow managed to miss her inside - and we are talking here about a building that is about half the size of a school gymnasium!
Anyway, it was lovely to see her and we were soon back home, awaiting the arrival of the Solar Heating man. I had been alarmed to notice water dripping off the roof onto the deck in a steady trickle at about 10am, with a cloudless blue sky overhead. This went on for about ten minutes, which was slightly baffling. Then it dawned on me - we had had another frost overnight. What is on the roof? The solar panels for the hot water.... and they had not been drained (because I'm not used to living with this and have never before had to remember to drain the system in the autumn). I was convinced that the water in the panels must have frozen overnight and caused a crack.
When I went to hang the washing on the line, I heard a noise that sounded like pressurised steam escaping in short bursts, and on looking at the roof saw jets of steam coming from a sort of chimney-thing on one of the panels. Seriously alarmed by this, I dashed indoors and rang the man who had installed the system for us, apologising for disturbing him on a Sunday. He didn't sound overly concerned, and promised to call round in the afternoon. Which he did. Having inspected the installations on the roof and checked the switches, pipes and control panels in the house, he declared that he could find nothing wrong.
Apparently the dripping water was probably the thin layer of ice that had formed on the roof overnight, thawing out once the sun came over the shoulder of the hill behind and struck it. As for the steam, he said that was 'normal' in the cold weather. However, as the sun doesn't really get high enough in the sky at this time of year to make a significant impact on the panels, he promised to call around again later in the week to carry out a more thorough check and shut everything down. And he made me feel much better about calling him as he said he always likes to be alerted to possible problems as soon as they arise, so that more serious damage can be averted (rather like human healthcare, I suppose!)