Frozen Stone

It has been our coldest night of the year. Our boiler is still not working, and the next service appointment has been deferred until 19th January. I made a further call today and secured a visit for tomorrow morning.

We have a couple of plug in radiators and a fan heater. Strategically distributed, and with extra layers of clothing, they will have to do.

As shown by these leaves embedded in the ice of a frozen fountain, when Martin began working today the temperature outside was -6C.

He uses the stone he attempted to pick up to provide a slope for his wheelbarrow regularly transported to and from the stacks of material on the back drive. This was frozen to the ground.

A fulcrum was required in order for him to prise it loose.

The aggregate providing the next level was wheeled in the barrow

and tipped out ready for

compacting with a machine designed for the purpose.

Before applying the compactor, the material frozen solid in its bags had to be decompressed with a pickaxe and

being shovelled into the barrow. Martin kept this up all morning.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway fare, each couple on trays in their respective sitting rooms heated by an electric radiator. My main meal was Lamb Dhansak, Jackie’s, Sag Chicken; we shared mushroom rice and a plain paratha.


  1. I feel for you, Sir, it has been very cold this past week or so. We have invested in a wrap around electric blanket, I’m not sure of it’s proper name, but they are very good and supposedly very economical with the ever increasing electricity bills.

  2. Oh my, we certainly hope your heating situation can be repaired tomorrow! I can tell Martin is a professional. 1. He owns and uses a long iron pry bar, not everyone has one of those in their tool kit. 2. He knows the value of a well prepared subgrade evidenced by his utilization of the powered plate compactor prior to placing the pavers.

  3. Oh my. That is VERY cold (especially for your neck of the woods), and without a boiler . . . !!!!!! We are cold here at just above freezing and with heat in the house and the Gardener is complaining!!!

  4. I hope the repairs needed can be done tomorrow. Having to wait any longer is acky. 🙁 In the meantime, keep warm and safe with the means you have been doing.
    That first photo is quite artistic…but does show the depth of coldness. Brr.
    Warm-(((HUGS))) ❤️❤️
    (((HUGS))) to Martin for all of his good hard work!

  5. Martin is a hard-working man! I am sorry about your boiler being out while it is so cold, guys, stay as warm as you can. I am wondering how many heating and cooling companies are in your area. Have you tried a Kerosine heater? A tall, round device with a big wick in it? I used them years ago when I lived in a an older home that was built in 1900.

    1. Thanks very much, Pam. Martin tends to start with coffee and continue with tea, but on the last two days, despite the cold, he has also been drinking pints of cold water because he has kept working hard enough to keep him that warm.

  6. Martin is a really hardcore worker, willing to give it a go even if the temperature reaches a -6C.
    I’m really glad you are receiving a visit tomorrow. We tried giving up our heating completely until about a week ago, but what we hadn’t even thought of was the black mould that grows on the walls and ceiling, produced by the moisture of our breath. That made the whole solution completely untenable.

  7. Martin knows his business. Goodness. I hope you get the boiler fixed tomorrow. If not, I have some of those radiators and they do work nicely in a room. Still, it being so cold and a whole house, I imagine it’s chilly. There’s always baking and sitting in the kitchen, but a working heat source is better.

  8. Is the boiler an electric one or do you use firewood? After being in Germany in winter of 2017 I can imagine the cold ?. It has snowed there and Advaith and Kavya are enjoying it. Gayatri sent photos. She called yesterday from outside Kavya’s kindergarten and there was snow everywhere. Take care.

  9. If only Martin knew how to fix the boiler, it would have been done yesterday. I hope it gets fixed tomorrow. Otherwise, it might be time for a vacation (I think you would say, holiday?) somewhere warm.

  10. You are being stoical about the uncomfortably cold conditions. Bravo to Martin too for getting on with the job in such cold weather.

  11. Ooh! Am freezing…looking at the pics. Love the dinner menu. Yesterday we too had food from outside -Dal Makhni and Soya Chaap with pickled gravy with home made roti and plain rice. It was rich and spicy. For desert we had cham cham.

  12. Yikes, I hope you can get your heat back soon. We had a similar situation earlier this autumn. At that point, I was very grateful for my sheepskin slippers.

    It sounds like unusually cold for your area. I often wonder what will happen to both Britain and Scandinavia when the Gulf Stream shifts so we no longer can enjoy its benevolent protection…

    1. That Gulf Stream question has also occurred to me – there is an area in North West Scotland that currently enjoys almost tropical plants. Thank you very much, Anna

  13. Martin is a hardy soul to work in that cold weather. The compacting machine is interesting.

    I am glad you have some plug in space heaters. I do hope you can get help soon. You might mention Jackie is not well.

    It is already below freezing here tonight, under a clear and starry sky. Our morning will be cold!

  14. I feel for you and coincidentally I too have no heating in the apartment. The boiler just stopped working after coughing loudly for several minutes around three times before it just passed out.
    I can’t believe how far your garden seems from the beautiful sun-filled flowery haven it is in spring, fall and summer

  15. Oh my, Martin is a hardy soul! I hope your heating is fixed today, Derrick. The worst possible time to be without a functioning boiler ?️

      1. I’m very sorry to hear that, Derrick. At least the outside temperatures are rising a little but not enough to offer you much comfort I doubt. Take good care x

  16. I hope that as I’m writing this, your heater has been repaired, but in the meantime, I’m glad you have plug-in heaters. Our daughter was over yesterday, and we were talking about how we used to use one to warm the bathroom when the kids were little.

    Martin is very impressive!!

    1. Thank you very much, Merril. Yes, Martin certainly is special. Unfortunately our boiler needs a capacitor – whatever that is – which will not be delivered until Monday.

      1. I’m sorry Derrick. I have no idea what a capacitor is either. I’m glad you have the room heaters and lots of warm clothing! We keep our house cool, and the other day I was saying we could use the “snug sacks” we had when we were first married in our cold first apartment. They were like blanket things with armholes. ?

  17. I hope your boiler is up and working soon, Derrick. Martin is smart by drinking water because one can become dehydrated even in cold weather. I hope Jackie is feeling better.

  18. You may remember our predicament with our broken boiler and damaged oil tank a few weeks ago. It was bad enough for us but not nearly as cold as it is now. Hope they fix it very soon.

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