And so after one of the longest and coldest periods of winter we have endured over the last 20 years or so the snow has finally cleared. Unfortunately the big thaw has also produced localised flooding and the dreaded burst pipes. The garden shed had a few plumbing leaks and the past weekend has generally been spent trying to repair and replace old piping. The event should have taken only an hour or two but the old pipes are made from imperial measurements and the new ones are from metric. The two do not always marry up and it may be a few days before I can turn the water on again.
Of course the news about bins not being emptied and roads being blocked and schools and commerce being shut is nothing shocking in a country where the trains stop running because of leaves on the line or the roads being closed because of the wrong type of snow. It all pales into insignificance though when faced with news from around the world of earthquakes and mass graves totalling over 70,000 bodies so far. Our society may be far from perfect but a quick look around the world shows it to be a Shangri-La in a maelstrom of chaos and confusion. No wonder so many people want to get in.
With talk of getting in, imagine my surprise when out of the blue a phone call from a number I did recognise turned out to be my old mate the Printer. He was calling from the UK and had unbeknown to any one come home from Oz for a holiday with his wife and their two children. We arranged to meet up for a few hours and he and his family landed on my doorstep on Sunday Jan 10th. It was great to see him and he had hardly changed over the years. I have come to the conclusion that for all the times he has told me he was homesick the trip has proved to be a shock for him as the UK is such a different place than it was when he left. He no longer recognised many aspects of the country he once knew and he said the streets were quieter than he remembered and the social life was not the same. I think it will be a long time before he ventures back onto UK soil again. Oz may have its problems but they are different from the UK.
Thanks to my impairment I have not started Rhonda up for a few weeks and as the cold snap had me worrying about whether or not she had enough anti freeze in the cooling system I disrobed the protective swaddling and fired her up. I was half expecting to see the radiator leaking a sieve and the cylinder heads shatter but god bless her she ran like a dream and after 20 minutes I so I closed her down again. That’s when the problems started. Getting her back on the stand was not as easy as taking her off it. My muscles and especially my stomach are still aching from the strain.
I am now back at work and have been for two weeks. Although things have changed as you would expect them to over so long it still feels as though I have never been away. The first day or two were strange but thanks to my wonderful colleagues I seem to have settled in nicely. My scribings may not be up to speed with all of the events that have taken place over the last few weeks, especially the festivities but at least I am now getting there and I expect to be back up to speed very shortly fate and the gods willing of course.