I was enjoying a cup of tea with my friend Salamander on Tuesday when there was a thump as a large lump of snow slid off her roof and fell past the window of her study and on to the street below. The thaw appears to be arriving and Czechs should either avoid walking under the house eaves or keep an eye skywards. Some Czech buildings have spikes set in the tiles presumably to break up the snow and prevent these avalanches. But mine and hers do not.
Here in our village we are higher than Cesky Krumlov where she lives and so the thaw has been slower in coming. But on Thursday night it did, the first sign of it was a loud metal crack which woke me with a start. This was followed by more, heralded by a rumble as a slab of snow (a foot deep) slid down the roof. The metal gutter would take the strain for a while until the weight of snow overwhelmed it and with a crack similar to that of a rifle it deposited the snow onto the ground below. I was sleeping in the backroom where the gutter is very close to the window, so you can imagine the sound. This happened intermittently through the night, usually when I had just got back to sleep.
In the morning I went in to the yard, on the yard-side of the house half a roof's worth of snow had come down (see above). After much work the yard steps had been clear of snow the previous evening, alas no longer they were piled high. This year has been particularly bad, as it has not stopped snowing for days on end and the snow is very thick. Not as thick however as my first winter here when it was at least twice as deep and caused real problems, in particular breaking my old roof timbers. I remember a huge slab coming off the roof of the house opposite and my neighbours having to dig themselves out of their front door. Well, it was my turn this Winter. Shortly after taking the photo above, the rest came down with a terrible crump and the roof now looked like the photo below. If I had thought the snow in the yard deep before, it was literally doubly so now . Now that I no longer needed to worry about more avalanches I set about clearing the steps of at least two to three feet of snow plus a path to the gate. I had been thinking of going into Cesky Krumlov that morning, as I was leaving for England early the following morning but the snow put paid to that, instead I was up to my knees in snow.