Monday, 16 January 2017

Toothache and more snow

It's been a week or so since I last did an update and nothing much has happened other than I've had a toothache and there has been more snow. I could leave this update there and you'd not learn any more however where would the fun be in that? I've a fair few photographs to show you and a couple of videos as well so let's get stuck in.

The horse watches us carefully as we walk away
The horse watches us carefully as we walk away
Rambo didn't care about it though - he was having too much fun
Rambo didn't care about it though - he was having too much fun
Thelma dashes ahead through a beautiful tunnel of trees
Thelma dashes ahead through a beautiful tunnel of trees
Louise follows her. These are beautiful shots I'm very proud of
Louise follows her. These are beautiful shots I'm very proud of
A hazy sun appears through the clouds
A hazy sun appears through the clouds
Looking back from the headland towards the Old School
Looking back from the headland towards the Old School
Louise barks while Thelma and Rambo watch me
Louise barks while Thelma and Rambo watch me
Last Monday the snow stopped long enough for me to finally get out of the house for a walk with the puppies. I didn't bother with their leads and they were amazingly good all the time; I got to the vehicle gate and found that the farmer's horse was stood right by it but I was able to tell Rambo to sit and wait while I carefully ushered the animal out of the way. This was quite nerve-wracking as it was hobbled and so I did not want to spook the poor thing. We got past without any problems, however, and then made our way along the ridge right to the headland over the new road. The snow was quite deep but the puppies were loving it, Thelma in particular as she dashed way ahead impatiently, and of course Rambo was having a ball. The sun was hazily breaking through the clouds and I was quite warm as I walked back towards home. It wasn't a long walk out but it was definitely worth it and I hoped to persuade A to join me the next time.

Snow falling. Again.
Snow falling. Again.
Louise barking at the snow
Louise barking at the snow
No horse, or sled, in sight
No horse, or sled, in sight
Thelma looks as we call them back inside
Thelma looks as we call them back inside
Thelma snow-swimming
Thelma snow-swimming
A snow drift outside the kitchen door
A snow drift outside the kitchen door
The next day that brief respite was done with and the snow was falling quite heavily once again. I decided to head out and put a bit more insulation in our inspection shaft for our water supply as the temperature was dropping and our water supply was beginning to fail. It was really deep around the raised beds, so deep Thelma was almost swimming as she ran around me, but I was able to dig out the manhole, shove the space full of polystyrene and fibreglass insulation, and then cover it back over again to make best use of the insulating properties of snow. It really had snowed a lot since the day before and the drifts were quite deep in front of the kitchen door. Awesome to see though.


Dressed for the occasion
Dressed for the occasion
Louise with a snow beard
Louise with a snow beard
Thelma digging after a snow ball. Yes. Really.
Thelma digging after a snow ball. Yes. Really.
The hill is not passable any more
The hill is not passable any more
A lesser spotted flying Thelma coming in to land
A lesser spotted flying Thelma coming in to land
A safe landing was achieved
A safe landing was achieved
Overhanging cornice and bending gutters
Overhanging cornice and bending gutters
A lump of ice from Rambo's bucket
A lump of ice from Rambo's bucket
Set up ready to play our game
Set up ready to play our game
We had big piles of rubbish to take up to the bin (we've stopped burning our rubbish what with the really hot and dry summer and haven't yet got back into the habit of doing this) so we decided to take a walk up there with the puppies together to get them some exercise, and us some air. Louise was less than impressed with the depth of the snow but once we got moving she was happier and raced around after Thelma. We found that a snowplough had been up the hill but it had stopped just past the neighbour's house and pushed a large pile of snow right across the lane - even if we got off our land (not looking likely) this would be impossible to drive through as it was so steep and densely packed. We mentioned this to the Little Lady who we saw again walking her cows and later that day a tractor appeared and cleared all the way down to the farm. When we got back from our stroll we decided it was a good idea to throw Thelma into the snow drift and she completely disappeared. The cornice hanging over the front door was reminiscent of two years ago when it all but ripped our drains off the roof - that'd better not happen again! When A went to water Rambo that evening she found that his water bucket was solid ice, even though it was inside. We locked the door for him that night to keep him warmer. That night was a perfect night to finally make use of the dungeon maze that I have been building and we we all set up ready to play a scenario from the magazine I support when I realised I didn't have all the rules I needed, and the rules book is currently travelling across Europe towards us. Typical. Also I didn't actually have the correct minis for the game either; it just wasn't meant to be.

The sun shining between rafts of dark cloud
The sun shining between rafts of dark cloud
It looks cold, but at least it isn't snowing
It looks cold, but at least it isn't snowing
Happily walking down the hill
Happily walking down the hill
Frozen beard face
Frozen beard face
About to walk over the old bridge to town
About to walk over the old bridge to town
The sun breaks through, above a frozen river
The sun breaks through, above a frozen river
Snowbound train station
Snowbound train station
Town centre is a bit snowy
Town centre is a bit snowy
The trains haven't stopped
The trains haven't stopped
The main road is down to one lane
The main road is down to one lane
You can't even see our road
You can't even see our road 
On Wednesday I decided that I wanted to walk down into town both to get some exercise and to do a few chores. The sun was once again trying to break through first thing, though the clouds up above were dark and heavy looking. I wrapped up warm and headed off and found it quite a nice walk. It was cold enough though and my breath was freezing on my beard. At the bottom of the hill I caught up with the ex-kmet of our village who was walking in to get his pension and we made our way into town together. The footpath takes you across the railway tracks and I looked at how deep the snow was and thought "no trains today, then". I said goodbye the the ex-kmet outside the obshtina and went in to pay our taxes only to be told they weren't payable until March. My trip to the post office was more of a success however ekont was a failure as the parcel waiting was the remainder of the curtain rails and I didn't want to have to carry them all the way back. I stopped for some spuds in a shop (the only thing we were running short on) and, after a brief visit with Dincher who we haven't seen since our party, I made my way back home. As I entered the train station again I was amazed to see a train at the platform. The kmet was there and I had a quick chat with him they walked home. I was sweating by the time I got inside as the hill is steep and I didn't take it slowly.

Louise wanting to be picked up
Louise wanting to be picked up
A admiring the wintry view
A admiring the wintry view
A winter wonderland view
A winter wonderland view
Lots of fun in the snow
Lots of fun in the snow
My lovely family complete with frozen Rambo slobber
My lovely family complete with frozen Rambo slobber
Pat and Julian and quite buried
Pat and Julian and quite buried
My newly painted Hunter Orcs
My newly painted Hunter Orcs
Gandalf saves Thrain from an Orc. Just.
Gandalf saves Thrain from an Orc. Just.
I got home in time for lunch and then, as if the walk to town wasn't enough, A and I got all togged up to go for a walk with the puppies. Once again this was a no-lead walk and once again it was beautiful. The snow had started falling again just after I got back from town and it fell all through the walk which just added to the beauty. It was harder going than when I went on Monday, however, so we didn't get quite as far out onto the hill this time.  When we got back we warmed ourselves up by the fire and settled in for the night. One of the creators of the magazine I support had noticed us fail to play their scenario and sent me the missing rules in a PM on facebook which was awesome of him and meant that I spent the afternoon desperately painting up some minis to use for the game that evening. It was such a lot of fun and really well balanced, close up until the last throw of the dice where A won. Great fun and I'm quite pleased with my paint job as well.

A beautiful light fills the valley
A beautiful light fills the valley
Shifting snow from the parking area
Shifting snow from the parking area
A good 40cm deep, and this wasn't in a drift
A good 40cm deep, and this wasn't in a drift
The front lawn with sunshine and snow
The front lawn with sunshine and snow
We dug from the front gate
We dug from the front gate
Up the hill past the green building
Up the hill past the green building
Round the corner past the chicken house
Round the corner past the chicken house
And up to the garage and parking area
And up to the garage and parking area


Thursday dawned with overcast skies and a glorious light in the valley - I leaned out past the balcony door, avoiding stepping outside, to get this shot. What a stunning view! We had decided that we wanted to try and get out of the house and into town before the snow that was forecast for the weekend so I headed outside onto the driveway with a snow shovel and started clearing. I got into a bit of a rhythm and soon enough the parking area was cleared and I was onto the drive; there was such a lot of snow to move, though - 40cm pretty much everywhere. A came out to join in and headed down to the gate to clear from there onto the lane. We paused for lunch and got the whole lot finished by about 3pm however there was no way we were going to drive into town then - we were both pretty tired. We were also nervous of the hill as the mobile shop had come while we were digging so A went to get some bread and saw the old farmer fall over on the ice at the corner - the van hadn't been able to get up to the top and so had parked a little way down the hill. I actually rang the kmet to say "can you clear that hill as the old man fell over" and he came over and said he had done it which was good, though it should have been done before I complained.

A huge drift to the left of the door onto the roof terrace
A huge drift to the left of the door onto the roof terrace
Another huge drift to the right of the door
Another huge drift to the right of the door
A clearer shot of the one to the left
A clearer shot of the one to the left
Beautiful view over distant mountains
Beautiful view over distant mountains
The sun goes down over the ridge
The sun goes down over the ridge
Thelma and Louise and me on the lazy boy
Thelma and Louise and me on the lazy boy
Moon lit view across the valley
Moon lit view across the valley
That afternoon just as the sun was going down we headed up to the roof terrace both to enjoy the view and to see how it looked with the snowfall we'd had since A cleared it. This was not a good sight for her as it was really really REALLY deep with snow, with huge drifts against the roof wall and very deep even where it wasn't drifted. This is going to have to be cleared again soon as we haven't yet been up there; maybe after I've finished typing this out. Anyway the view was beautiful for the sunset so it wasn't all bad. It was a quiet evening for us again and the girls, after having such fun out with us while we cleared the drive, slept on my lap. As I was heading to bed I saw that the moon was so bright on the balcony so I grabbed the camera and got a shot. It was a full moon and you could really tell.

It is a glorious start to the day
It is a glorious start to the day
Thelma runs across the rose-tinted snow
Thelma runs across the rose-tinted snow
Heading up to hang the washing out
Heading up to hang the washing out
Thelma playing with the washing line support
Thelma playing with the washing line support


The hill has been well gritted
The hill has been well gritted
Chickens out for a quick weather check
Chickens out for a quick weather check
This is the best way to stay comfortable
This is the best way to stay comfortable
Friday morning was an even more glorious start than Thursday with a blazing sunrise illuminating smoke from the farmer's fire and casting a rosy glow onto the snow as Thelma ran back inside from her morning toilet. Beautiful. We ran a quick load through the washing machine and got it hung up outside to dry which crazy as it sounds worked really well - there was quite a strong wind blowing most of the day and it dried like a dream. Thelma found the support pole for the washing line and thought it was a stick for her to play with; the crazy puppy. At 1pm we decided to go into town and so I gritted the driveway with sand from the pile I tripped over last week and then A went to open the gate so I could drive straight through and up to the top of the village. She followed on foot and we were very happy to find that the kmet had done an excellent job gritting the hill and while it was a slow descent it wasn't a scary one.We did everything we needed to do (though I was on my way to the bank when I realised I hadn't signed and stamped my papers so that couldn't be done) and headed home safely once more, though going up the hill was slightly more risky. It was such a warm day that even the chickens and ducks managed to get out of their house. It was then that my tooth started to hurt a little bit so that evening I cuddled on the sofa with the puppies, a lovely Irish whiskey, and WW2 in Colour to feel sorry for myself and avoid moving.

A clearing the balcony when I got home from town
A clearing the balcony when I got home from town
Saturday was a pretty dead day really and I only have one photograph. I headed out in the morning again to get to the bank to make the payments I failed with the day before and while I was out A went onto the balcony and found that it was icy and waterlogged so she grabbed the snow shovel and started clearing. As soon as I got home I went up and joined her and we spent hours throwing ice and water over the edge. We managed to get a couple of the drainage pipes defrosted eventually so I ended up sweeping water towards these so it would jet off the edge - I've decided to buy a marine pump for next year so we can just run a hose over the area and save our energy. Later on it was decided my tooth was too bad and we should go to the dentist so we headed out but when we got there we found he's only open now on a Tuesday and a Thursday so we drove back. Oh well.

Thelma snoozing while I watch videos
Thelma snoozing while I watch videos
A house I am currently making
A house I am currently making
Sunday A headed out to town as she had decided she wanted some more stuff and while she was gone I watched some craft videos on youtube and did some modelling (I'm making a couple of houses at the moment). My tooth was really giving me gyp and I spent the afternoon once again curled up on the sofa watching WW2 in Colour but after some painkillers it cleared and thankfully I was able to eat properly and really enjoyed the superb chicken roast that A cooked. We also had a lovely chat with my parents and I rang my best mate as well. It was a quiet evening of CSI and me doing bits of modelling and then after some successful eBaying, to bed. Not a bad Sunday, all things considered.

The snow falls and falls and falls
The snow falls and falls and falls
My removable roof for the house
My removable roof for the house
Bread, cabbage and cake
Bread, cabbage and cake
A having fun in the snow with Rambo
A having fun in the snow with Rambo
It's frustrating to be cut off, but fun to play in
It's frustrating to be cut off, but fun to play in
And so we get to today and the end of this epic update. I woke early and left A sleeping while I cleaned out the petchka which has been smoking a bit in the mornings. It was filthy however I think tomorrow we'll have to take the pipes down as it still smoked. The snow was just beginning to fall as I was doing this and it has not stopped since and is not due to stop until Thursday. Great. I've done some modelling, run the hoover around the kitchen and typed this update while A has done more tidying, preserved some cabbage, made some bread and a lovely syrup cake (we've already eaten half of it!) and we both went out just now to play in the snow with Rambo and the puppies which I broadcast on Facebook Live which was a first for me.

And so there it is; the end of a huge super long update that could have been over in that first paragraph. The good news is that my tooth is currently feeling a lot better and I'm hoping I won't need the dentist after all (to be fair there's very little chance of us getting out tomorrow anyway to get to him). Thanks for reading and if you got this far well done.