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Blog : Posts tagged with 'ice'

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Why We Now Have A Frost-Free Fridge

In which things got icy


When we first moved to Bristol, we moved into an unfurnished flat that came supplied with white goods, partly because it made life much easier for us when moving. No worries about having to find a cooker, a washing machine or a fridge: but the downside was, we didn’t get to choose them.

When we moved in, the fridge was nice and clean and empty.

A few days later, though, we noticed that a bit of frost had started to build up on the back of the fridge. No problem, we thought. When we get chance, we’ll defrost it; it’s normal, after all, for fridges to get a bit of frost at the back.

A few weeks later, we noticed that a can of Kopparberg at the back of the fridge was looking rather iced-up too. We turned the fridge down* to its warmest setting, to give the ice a chance to melt away a bit. The fridge was still perfectly cold enough to keep everything, even on that setting. The Kopparberg, though, stayed icy. Indeed, it almost seemed as if the ice was still growing.

A few months later, I remembered I had some Kopparberg in the fridge. Except … it didn’t seem to be there any more. And there was, now, quite a lot of ice at the back. It seemed to have a shadow in it at one end.

Twenty-one months or so after we first switched the fridge on, we suddenly realised we were about to move out. So, we’d better switch the fridge off now, and maybe, just maybe, we might have a chance of defrosting it. We stuffed the bottom of the fridge with towels, turned the power off, and waited. Slowly, ever so slowly, the ice started to drip. The can of Kopparberg started to reappear; when I prised it out of its icy prison, and shook the tin, the ice inside it klunked against the edges. After about twelve hours of melting, I gave the block of ice a jolt. The whole thing, along with one of the fridge shelves, came free. I moved it to the sink.

Ice from the fridge Ice from the fridge Ice from the fridge

We hunted down a tape measure, and K measured it whilst I took photos:

Ice from the fridge
Ice from the fridge Ice from the fridge

That’s about 4 inches deep, 14 wide and 11 tall. It’s not a cube, of course; on the other hand, it had already lost several inches in size. Overall, I think we must have had at least 6 or 7 litres of water stuck to the back of our fridge.

Moving to somewhere new, we had to buy ourselves a fridge, along with all the other kitchen equipment. As soon as we went shopping for one, we made a bee-line straight in the direction of the frost-free refridgeration section. I think, from the pictures, you can probably see why.

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Talking of time travellers…

In which we analyse a police suggestion


Ah, snow. You can’t beat it for sending people a bit mad and panicked. Yesterday the roads were gridlocked for half an hour at lunch time, because of the number of people who rushed home at the fall of the first flake. Last night, the news was full of dire warnings. Don’t travel if you don’t have to. Stock up your car. Make sure you take a shovel, blankets, a flask of tea, a flask of soup, sandwiches, cakes, a propane stove,* three woolly jumpers and the complete works of Proust, because you never know when you might get stuck.

I was particularly impressed, though, by the words of one of the local police spokesmen interviewed on last night’s news. “If you wake up in the morning and your car’s all frosted up,” I’m fairly sure he said, “you should get up 30 or 45 minutes early and make sure it’s completely defrosted before you set off.” It took me a minute to spot the flaw in the statement – assuming I’m not misremembering what he actually said. I think it’s a pretty good plan, though.

* Not a butane stove, because – as hardy campers will know – its boiling point at standard pressure is just below freezing. In cold weather, butane stoves get sluggish, give up and go to sleep. To cope with chills you need propane.

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Photo post of the week

In which we visit east Bristol, and Clevedon


A month or so ago, we took a trip to Clevedon, Somerset. I wrote about it at the time, although, I realise now, didn’t actually say which town we’d been to. Here, though, are some of the photographs.

The derelict Royal Pier Hotel, Clevedon Clevedon pier The derelict Royal Pier Hotel, Clevedon

And, as that’s not very many, here’s some of Bristol just after Christmas, too:

Christmas decorations, Church Rd, Bristol St George's Park, Bristol Moon, Bristol

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Photo post of the week

In which we go out in the snow


Another day with no morning bus services, and the roads gridlocked. I walked K to work, taking the camera with me, and watched a lorry get stuck on the hilly part of Bedminster Road. Trying to get towards Ashton, it stopped in a queue of traffic, then realised it couldn’t get started again without risking sliding back down the hill. It sat there, impotent, with its hazard lights flashing, as everyone else tried to drive round either side of it.

And then, I nearly broke a leg trying to take photos of the local station. Slipping at the top of the stairs, I grabbed the handrail frantically as my feet disappeared from underneath me. Best to stick to taking photos from the bridge, I thought.

Snowy industrial estate, Bedminster
Parson St station in snow

At least the train that came was – to a train geek – quite an interesting one. 2D04, from Taunton to Bristol, one of the services on the Taunton-Bristol-Cardiff route that runs with retro 1970s carriages restored to their original condition, although the engines are rather newer.

Class 67 no. 67016 hauling Mk3 carriages at Parson St station
Class 67 no. 67016 hauling Mk3 carriages at Parson St station

And finally: I’m sure it says in the Bible that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Before we went to bed last night, we looked out of the window to see it snowing again, the street covered in a fresh pristine carpet. We couldn’t resist getting dressed again, and going out for another walk with the camera.

Night snow scene, Bedminster

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Snowed in

In which we consider historical weather and historical labour disputes


Incidentally – while the weather is still cold and the snow is deep again – I should point out that, on this day in 1978, the weather was pretty much the same as it is today. “Country in grip of freeze” all over the papers, and that sort of thing.

The reason I know this is: my mother kept all the press cuttings about it, so she could stick them in her New Baby Book.

The other big thing in the news which she saved clippings of, oddly enough, was: Grimsby workers getting rather upset about foreigners taking their livelihoods away. Back then it was fishermen, who hadn’t quite given up their hopes of fishing in Icelandic territorial waters, even though the main Cod Wars had been over for a few years. Today, of course, it’s oil workers who are going back to work, presumably satisfied that their rather vague demands* have been catered for; the fish industry now sticks to breadcrumbing and battering other people’s fish. This is only a rough guess, based on anecdotal evidence, but I’d say that most of the people working in fish-related jobs in Grimsby are migrant workers – largely, as I said before, because they’re the people who apply for factory-line jobs nowadays.

* An awful lot of the strikers interviewed on TV didn’t seem awfully sure what their demands even were, or what it would take to get them back to work. “We’re sending a message to Gordon Brown, that someone will have to do something?” “What will they have to do?” “Um … well, I dunno, but someone is going to have to do something

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Deglutation

In which it gets colder


No, that has nothing to do with the content of this post. It’s just a nice word that I’ve just discovered, flipping through the dictionary whilst chatting on the phone. Let me know what you think it means.*

Through the week, it’s been getting harder and harder to clear the ice off the car each morning. A light frosty sprinkling on Monday has become a thick carapace. At this rate, by Christmas we’ll have a small glacier on the front drive. My hands each morning are covered in a chilling icy powder from the scraping.

* without cheating, of course. That would be naughty and wrong.

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Winter

In which it gets cold


For once, some photos of my own, rather than from Imperial Russia. These are shots of the snowy scene in my back garden, on December 29th last year. It’s taken them a fortnight to appear because I still use an old-fashioned film camera,* so have to use up the roll, send it off for processing, and spend a while scanning my prints before I can upload them to this place. Hope you like them.

Snow Scene Snow Scene Snow Scene Snow Scene Snow Scene

In case you were wondering, the limited variety of views is because: I didn’t really want to go outside in the cold. All these shots were either taken from my back doorstep, or from the bedroom window.

* for photo-geeks: a 1989-vintage Nikon F801 (or N8008 if you’re American) with a rather newer Nikkor 50mm f1.8D lens.

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Just Like Christmas

In which it feels like Christmas for once


Yesterday,* we had the first snow of winter. When I left the house in the morning it was cold but dry; ten minutes from the office a few flakes started to appear in the air, and by the time I was inside at my desk everywhere already had a good covering.

Today, I got up, and the snow was gone. I had to go in to work again; it was the first time I’d been working out of hours, in my normal clothes,** since the Christmas holiday week last year. The weather was cold, windy, the air clear with a hint of rain. Normal English winter weather, in other words, and with everything in combination I felt seasonal for the first time this winter – it was Just Like Christmas.

(Sleighbells, to fade.)***

* When I didn’t post, as I was rushed off my feet at work – hence going in today – and had been invited round to Colleague M’s mum’s house for tea afterwards.

** Even though I spend most of my waking time at work, and I wear office clothes five days out of seven, I still think of the other clothes as my normal ones.

*** Music geeks, feel free to show off in the comments box by telling everyone else about the song that provided the template for this post, if you can spot what it is.

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