Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Big Chill

Today's soundtrack:  TV On The Radio - Young Liars

By Christ, it's cold.

Set off to Staines last Monday in sub-zero temperatures, but due to a combination of good fortune and good timing, I managed to avoid any road-related trauma and reached the office just after eight.  The road-related trauma was not long in coming though - although for Mrs W, rather than me.

Tuesday, and whilst it was a tad chilly in the South, the skies were clear.  Unlike the North, where it snowed like a bastard all day.  Mrs W had struggled into work - to the surprise of many - and later struggled as far as the local town - five miles from home - before having to ditch the car by the side of the road.  Rear wheel drive is not recommended in the snow!

Nothing I could do to help - I was miles away in the balmy south - and no way anyone could reach her.  But - left to her own devices - she struggled home a few hours later, not without some kind offers of help from complete strangers, which was good to see.

Anyway, the bleak weather turned its eye southwards, and heavy snowfall on Tuesday night led to the realisation, on Wednesday morning, that travelling down south with one pair of flimsy work shoes was a BAD IDEA.  So off to Millets, for wellies and a pair of those chunky items that cross walking boots with trainers.

Suitably shod, the snow wasn't a problem for me any more, although it did prevent a lot of people getting into work that day.  With more snow falling, the office was closed at three pm (as it was for the rest of the week). Back up north, Mrs W managed to retrieve her car from the drifts, with the help of one of the neighbours, but it did mean a day off work.

Thursday, and I got into the office to find one meeting cancelled, another potential meeting scuppered by the meetee staying at home, and a lot of people suggesting I make a run for it while the roads were (relatively) clear and quiet.  Alarmed by the prospect of having to spend the weekend in Staines (lovely place though it is), I hit the road.  And again, was lucky enough to have a clear run all the way back.

A doddle, this snow-driving.

Well that was until I took Mrs W to work on Friday.  For some reason, her company did not think it worthwhile gritting the staff car parks, which were consequently ice rinks.  The 4x4 coped - just - but they are setting themselves up for a nasty incident if they don't get their fingers out!  Despite the four wheel drive, I had a little wobble on the way back home, but thankfully no more than that.

And thankfully no other major problems, other than a bath that would not drain because the water from the previous bath had frozen in the pipes outside (which, I discovered, had a bit of a 'bow' in them).  After a bit of pipe-warming (involving hot water bottles and kettles) we managed to get the blockage melted and shifted.

Still, I can't remember too many winters colder than this one.  There was the time in Sheffield when it was so cold the water froze in the toilets, and I was around for the Really Big Freeze in 1963 (although I don't remember anything about it) but this is as cold as it has been for as long as I can remember.

Pussy cat loves it, at any rate.

The Big Freeze caused most of the footy to be postponed this weekend, although the Everton game went ahead as planned.  Now we normally go to Arsenal and get tonked, and the 6-1 at home on the first day of the season didn't augur well - but the lads done good.  In the lead twice, pegged back by two wickedly deflected shots, the latter of which fell two minutes into injury time.  Chances to go 3-1 up as well.  Now I'd have snatched your hand off for 2-2 at Arsenal before the game, but to play so well and come so close to winning made the draw feel more like a defeat.

The signs are good for the rest of the season, though.

TV On The Radio today, an achingly trendy band from Brooklyn.  The 'Young Liars' EP was their first release, and it's precociously good for a debut effort.  The group combine elements of jazz and soul with indie rock noises, that greates a musical stew that is - more often than not - better than it sounds.  Difficult to describe what they sound like - best listen for yourself!

This is Staring At The Sun, from the EP, performed live in 2004.  Excellent Afro/Beard/Glasses combination sir!

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