Thursday, 19 November 2009

Getting Ready for the Czech Winter

I've been spending my last few days ensuring we are ready for the Czech winter. It gave the north of the country quite a shock in October by arriving two months early and bringing transport to a standstill as cars and lorries, still on summer tyres, slithered to a stop on snowbound roads. But here in the south we have avoided it, so far, but not for much longer.

I gave up on a load of old roof timbers which I had been keeping under tarpaulin for a time when I might need them. They were showing signs of woodworm and some had a bloom of fungus. So I got two nice guys to appear with their chainsaw and cut them up along with the sycamore trees we cut down in the summer. That was three weeks ago and I have been splitting and stacking logs ever since, helped by the purchase of a heavy splitting axe from an ironmongers in Trebon. There is a huge pile of logs outside the front door, as I know from experience that I will not want to be fetching firewood from the snowheaps when they arrive in the yard.

The patio outside the front door was rebuilt this summer. The previous structure was a typical product of the previous owners - an awful lot of rather badly laid concrete (which probably fell off the back of a lorry). During last winter the concrete steps up to it were lethal, as they sloped in the wrong direction taking water into the foundations of the house where it turned to ice and then broke up the concrete. Result? I slipped on the ice and hurt my ankle. My lovely Czech builders found large granite sets beneath the surface of the patio, with which they rebuilt the steps and partly surfaced the patio. Everything now slopes in the right direction (I have been checking with jugs of water). And today the builders came to measure up the loft for insulation.

So are we ready for whatever the Czech winter will throw at us? We shall see; it has a habit of producing a few surprises.

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