Sunday, 26 December 2010

Minus 14 degrees, No Water, No Rayburn & Festive Lunch To Cook - Merry Christmas!

Boxing Day.
Well, Christmas Day dawned at -14 degrees C. and we were greeted with almost our entire water supply frozen solid and the Rayburn in the kitchen having gone out.
We did have water here in the house but only cold and the milking parlour, dairy & cattle shed were without water as were Elder Son's cottage and the holiday cottage (fortunately empty at present).
The Farmer set to and performed major surgery on the Rayburn threee times before it was going again and and outside the boys struggled to thaw pipes and troughs.
Trying to cook Chrismas lunch in a cold kitchen with the internal parts of the Rayburn scattered across the floor and reeking of household oil & men-folk tramping in & out for kettles of  hot water is certainly challenging.
I do have a gas cooker as well as the Rayburn but having intended  to use both as per usual and then finding that it was not to be, I ended up trotting across to Elder Son's cottage and asking KT to cook the roasting vegetables in her oven while I battled on with the gas cooker. The Turkey of course, took up sole residency in the one oven left to me, the Christmas pudding steamed away to itself on the top and I juggled with saucepans on the remaining three gas burners, making bread sauce, red-currant sauce (an excellent substitute, having been unable to find the cranberries in the deep-freeze), gravy, boiling potatoes, steaming vegetables & boiling kettles for thawing out procedures outside. It was a miracle that lunch was only an hour late!!!

Today it is a little less cold but there is still a battle to get water to the livestock and for tractors to start. Elder Son has gone to a neighbour to help feed his stock as none of his tractors will start.
The Farmer has spent the morning filling tankers with water from under the ice on the ponds as there is no other way of getting water to the cattle troughs. It is a constant struggle to keep one jump ahead of the freezing conditions. The streams & rivers have iced over and as soon as any water is exposed to the air it freezes around the pipes & taps. Still, as the Farmer says it is not as bad as 1601...the Thames has not yet frozen solid!

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