Monday, 23 January 2017


The Claise River at Chaumussay near the mill, with ice on the millstream.
With the recent cold weather ice is beginning to form on the river. The overnight temperatures have got down to -6°C and daytime temperatures are not above 0°C, with real feel below that because of the wind. I read that real feel got down to -12°C. Several mornings I got up and the guest bedroom window was encrusted on the inside with ice. This has always been the coldest room in the house, and we close it off in cold weather because it brings down the temperature of the rest of the house. The glass in the window is old 3mm panes. Double glazing for this room isn't very high on our priority list. But don't worry. If you come to stay, we will put a heater in there!

Ice on the inside of our guest bedroom window.
You can tell we are having a particularly cold snap because I've been wearing a scarf. You can tell I'm not French because I hate being bundled up in a scarf, no matter how decorative.

The water in the pipe to our downstairs toilet cistern keeps freezing. Simon has to thaw it out using the hair dryer we bought some years ago in another cold spell to deal with this issue. 

The padlock on the garage was also frozen locked one morning. I thawed it out by squirting WD40 into it. I needed to access the firewood. And speaking of firewood, our firewood merchant is having trouble with his phone. He can phone out but his customers can't phone him. I imagine the phone line is objecting to the cold, as I had a message from our favourite winemaker to say their phone lines weren't working due to the low temperatures.

Thierry the builder, reduced to digging up paving stones because it's too cold to lay concrete.
I stopped off to talk to Thierry the builder on Friday and he was hard at work digging up someone's patio in the frost. He's lucky he's got this work to do, but unless it warms up a bit he can't finish the job of laying a new concrete pad and installing new paving. Cement won't set in these cold temperatures. He can't do any masonry because mortar won't set either, nor render. When I complained about how cold it had been at the market he laughed and asked me if I would rather it was like last winter when it rained non-stop. He also pointed out that the patio he's working on is south facing and protected from the wind, so he's been fine.

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