Where’s this Beast from the East then? The weather forecast has predicted a large snowfall this week with all sorts of thrilling language such as ‘polar vortex’ and ‘Siberian blast’. I was expecting large wedges of white in Little Cashington. I’d say all we’ve seen so far is a little dusting. That doesn’t mean to say we won’t be snowed in at some stage though.
Back in the winter of 2010, I couldn’t get the car up the driveway and ended up sledging my shopping back from Morrisons: not fun. This year, I’m determined not to be caught out. Here are a few precautions I’ve taken so far this week.
1. Stocked up
I chucked a few extra spuds in the trolley on Monday while watching other shoppers panic-buying tins of soup and baked beans. I’ve also splashed out on cocoa powder and squirty cream in case of point 5 below. I got plenty of cash out of the bank and filled up the car with petrol too. If I was on medication, I'd make sure I had enough of that.
2. Moved the car
I’ve parked the car on the road outside our house because it won’t get up the driveway if there’s even the tiniest layer of the white stuff. The way to the main road can also become impassable so if the weather gets worse, I may have to move the car further down the hill to be able to access town at all.
3. Postponed all non-essential travel
The idea of getting stuck on a motorway for hours (or overnight) in subzero temperatures is a real incentive not to venture too far afield. I’ve put off some expeditions until the weather’s warmer. Check those trains too: I’ve noticed that some routes have got cancellations.
4. Checked pipes are lagged
I had a quick look around the pipes outside to make sure they are insulated with something – even if it’s just an old rag. I might also leave the heating on overnight this week, at low levels, to help stop anything icing up. My Skinted colleague, Charlotte, says that 12 to 15 degrees (centigrade) is sufficient. It’s also worth checking out your boiler breakdown insurance, if you have it, and identifying emergency plumbers.
5. Ready for a day off school
It’s inevitable that school will find a way to shut the gates and I’ll have some unexpected childcare duties. If I worked away from home, I'd be thinking about back-up plans. As I don't, I’ve made sure there’s plenty of pasta pesto to go around and dusted off the snow shovel, toboggans and mulled wine…
If you get bored of sledging and snowballing, there are loads of really brilliant ideas for snow games, especially for younger kids around the internet. I particularly like this one from Parents which shows how to play snow noughts and crosses, pin the nose on the snowman and paint the snow with food-colouring solution. I'm looking forward to it!
Share your cold weather tips with us in the Skinted Minted forum here.