As expected, all of yesterday's snow has frozen solid and the road outside is more use as a ski slope than a thoroughfare.
Today is 'bin day' up our road, but I don't expect the truck will be able to get up as far as us. However, just in case, and as our household rubbish bin hasn't been emptied since before Christmas, I ventured outside this morning to skid it down the drive.
My first challenge was opening the porch door which was completely frozen. I was reluctant to put my shoulder to it lest I was jettisoned out onto the drive and careened down the road on my back. Eventually I managed to get the door open to discover the next challenge. The black bin lid was firmly sealed with about an inch of solid ice.
So, back indoors to boil a kettle of water with which I eventually managed to melt enough of the ice to get the lid open.
Next I had to negotiate the drive, which had a deceptively safe-looking layer of several inches of snow, over thick black ice. Using the wheelie bin as a brake (yes I know...... what WAS I thinking?) I gingerly advanced down the drive, holding onto the handles of the bin for grim death, which is exactly what I was anticipating if it gathered enough momentum to fling me head first to the ground.
There then followed a very chilly 15 minutes trying to brace the bin in a position where it wouldn't either:
a) topple over, spilling the detritus of two weeks of Christmas festivities all over the place.
b) start to slide down the hill, banging into cars and toppling small children like tiny screaming skittles.
I did the best I could, jamming the bin precariously up against next door's tree, and headed back indoors, only to remember that I had still to read the electricity and gas meters which are housed in little boxes behind the porch.
This necessitated trying to move the green recycling bin, which had frozen onto the drive and wouldn't budge. I used the last of the hot water from the kettle, making a mental note not to set foot near the bins again before the thaw, as the water lying on the ground would surely freeze and create even more of a hazard than the frozen snow.
Needless to say, both meter doors were frozen shut and I had run out of hot water.
I had also run out of patience.
So, with the judicious application of several increasingly frantic thumps I eventually gained access to the electricity meter and dutifully noted the number.
I was a tad more wary of the gas meter cupboard, as a Methuselah of a spider, who I'm sure was a stand-in for the Great Spider in The Haunting of Toby Jugg, lives in there, and has a tendency to spring forward threateningly whenever the door is opened.
My caution was unnecessary however, as there was no sign of him. Rather than being relieved, I was worried that he had gained access to the house via one of the ventilation slits just under the cupboard. Of course he may have succumbed to the cold, but in that case I would have thought I'd have found his shrivelled corpse inside the box.
Where DO spiders go in the winter? No on second thoughts don't tell me. I don't want to know.
I'm almost completely thawed out now, but all the messing about has played havoc with my new work schedule, and my 9.30-11.30 time slot has all but passed.
So, in order not to squander the remaining time *ahem* I have just scored a minor, but very satisfying victory on Lexulous.
Lexulous, for those who don't indulge in displacement activity, is basically an online version of Scrabble. I only discovered it recently, and have been playing the solitaire version, where I have been routinely beaten and humiliated by a robot.
This would be bad enough, but you can select the skill level of your virtual opponent and every time I've played I've chosen the lowest possible level for the robot. Despite this 'advantage' I've been beaten every single time.
This morning I beat the bugger, 296 points to 267!
Woo, and indeed, hoo!
However that might have been a fluke. Although I did get to put QUIZ on a triple word score.
Take THAT you low-skill robot you!
Well, enough of this. It's coming up to 11.20 so I need to go and get ready for my 11.30 till lunchtime shift and I've got lost time to make up........