Can’t believe I was actually doing this last week! When you are in the thick of just surviving you don’t have time to write about it. But melting snow I was and two days later when the wind had dropped but the drifts were still daunting I graduated to venturing out and carried 5 litres of water up on my back in a rucksack. Daughter doesn’t want me to do this but as I seem determined she insists I take the dog. ‘Dogs save lives’ she says.

Oh WATER! – such a precious commodity. This proper stuff that I’ve heaved up the hill is rationed for drinking and teeth cleaning. Melted snow when boiled will do for washing up and then the dirty water will flush the loo. How long can we keep this up before we take up a neighbours offer of a holiday cottage with all mod cons i.e. water? A couple of kettles of boiled snow are thrown over an exposed pipe outside but the effort is too great to pursue. Try a heater in the loft for 24 hours. No joy. Next day we all venture out over the drifts, kids ‘n all, and go to the swimming baths for showers. Neighbour calls while we are out and says he’s got a tractor and snow blower on the job and is attempting to clear the track. We just might be able to drive halfway up. The spectre of trying to cajole the 4 year year old that a mile walk through snow drifts is fun is optimistically starting to fade. Bingo! – we manage to drive all the way up by putting my foot down in the trusty Subaru AND we have water on board. So the tide is turning. Next day, on son’s advice, we move the heater to the cellar as heat rises and position it to confront the Beast from the East. At some imperceptible moment, there’s an unfamiliar gurgling in the loo cistern and the sound of spluttering. Oh my!