Today, 1 March, is officially the start of the meteorological spring. That's a joke - it must be the coldest day ever, temperatures of about -3C this morning but with the wind chill factor it was about -12C. We had much snow overnight again and our garden is completely white - my crocuses are covered by snow as are my hellebores, and I fear we have lost them. Gavin said there are icicles hanging off buildings in London, he cannot recall seeing that before. We certainly have been affected by this 'beast from the east' meets Storm Emma (who thinks up these names?)
I slept badly last night worrying about our water problem. Gavin spoke to the project manager who built our house yesterday and he says the water pipes were all laid according to regulation and were inspected as required to confirm that. I think we have been unlucky as it is just bitterly cold and the water meter is situated outside our property on the pavement in a very exposed spot. We suspect the pipes have frozen where they run from the water metre to the municipal inlet pipes. Gavin phoned our water provider again today to ask if they can come move the water meter to somewhere warmer, closer to the house to avoid this problem in the future but they said it has to stay there. Apparently they had 160 calls by 9am this morning from customers all suffering the same problem. Our house has a sophisticated water system where we have cold water tanks to feed the water upstairs so we have a constant water pressure, and then of course we also have hot water tanks. So for the moment we are okay as we have water in those tanks, but we are using it sparingly as when it runs out we will be stuck. I think it also has something to do with the underfloor heating, as one section of the house has already switched off the heating automatically as there is no water flow to keep it going. So with no water and no heating we cannot stay in the house and have already made enquiries at a nearby local hotel. We are hoping the water lasts until the pipe thaws, but how long will it take for the pipe to thaw? It is still bitterly cold and the temperatures will only rise above 0C from Sunday onward.
I went out to Sainsburys today to buy some 5L bottles of water for washing dishes etc. I cannot do any laundry as the machine won't work with no water coming through the machine inlet pipe, and I don't fancy sitting in a chilly laundromat but I guess I will just have to.
Luke's trip to Durham is looking precarious. Luckily he is flying to London City Airport as the previous flights from Berlin to Heathrow were all cancelled, while his flight was still okay. The trains to Durham (actually it's the Edinburgh train) have all been cancelled for about 3 days now so unless he flies to Newcastle he cannot get to Durham. His friend trying to get to Edinburgh to see family before also going to Durham has been stuck at Heathrow airport for 2 days now - we may have to scoop him up tonight as he cannot sleep at the airport yet again - oh dear, more people to share the limited water supply!