Thursday, February 08, 2007


I was going to write about the fact that it snowed today and that the children all convinced me that they shouldn't go to school. That is before it was announced that the school of the youngest two would be closed anyway. Good job, because it would have been difficult to get there.

It's across the road.

The older three possibly could have gone, but as the official school bus was cancelled, and the radio said that the public buses were cancelled (even though we saw one go past the door) and daughter number two, child number three, was saying at 6.45 this morning that we were the worst parents ever MAKING them go to school on a "snow" day, and as we do live 12 or so miles from each of their schools, and as it could have frozen over in the afternoon, so then even if we could have got them there we may well not have been able to get them back, and they would be lost and cold forever in Gloucester..............

It was all just a bit too difficult, and so they stayed at home.

Then the power, which had only been running at half speed since we got up, finally went off and because the gas central heating is run by an electric pump, as they are, we had no heating.

I lit the woodburner.

Then I said to hubby that I thought that I might light the fire in the playroom which is upstairs, next to the bedroom of the youngest two and on the other side of the house of the woodburner, and would therefore give us heat all round the house.

It had however never been lit since we moved here four and a half years ago.

Hubby pulled a face.

I persisted.

He then gave me lots of reasons why not to light it. Smoke around the room. Bad day for that on top of everything else. Soot. Dirt...........

So, I undertook a highly scientific experiment of looking up the chimney for blockages. It looked clear to me. I lit some paper in the grate. It didn't blow smoke into the room. I lit the fire and as hubby went off to work shortly afterwards (new job this week, so could hardly skive for snow, however bad), I felt that slightly smug sort of feeling that you get when you know that you were right all along. Fire was going nicely, house wasn't getting cold despite the lack of heating. Smoke was only where it should be. In the chimney.......

But anyway - SNOW is what I WAS going to write about, and all the trials and tribulations that it brings. But then I figured that everyone else would all be writing about snow, and so I thought that I wouldn't. Write about snow that is.

Instead I thought I'd tell you about my trip to the post office, and the amazingly clever woman that they seem to have employed there recently.

I had a parcel, which was in a large envelope, to send to a friend's daughter. A birthday present. A week late because I'd ordered something from Next which had arrived with the wrong thing in the bag, so had to send it back and of course have a bizarre disussion with them as to why I would not have ordered the gross and horrible that was enclosed and why I would have ordered the nice and jolly that was not enclosed............ but that's another blog, another day............

Back to the post office and my very intelligent cashier.

The large envelope didn't fit into the slot for larger than first class envelopes.

Had it weighed. Was going to cost £1.42 to send. Looked at parcel. Thought might be better to buy a new envelope to send package, which inside was quite small.

"How much is the jiffy bag?" I asked. Didn't know, because that belonged to the store, not the post office and the person who was on store duty was out at the back. Took about a minute and a half for her to reappear and after vast negotiations, which included the cashier needing to look up the price of the bigger "standard" postage (there being two options available, first class and big first class), it was decided that the sum total of new jiffy bag and cost of posting it (being larger than standard but not too big to not fit into the larger slot on the dummy model on display) was more than the sum of bigger parcel that we had in the first place.

So, I decided to go with the original parcel and asked for the postage for that.

Of course, you don't get colourful stamps in different price denominations nowadays do you? You get those computer generated stamps on white labels that say "first class" on them. This is progress.

I handed over my £2 coin.

I got back over £1 in change.

Being an honest type.......... Well actually, because it was a present, and I wanted to make sure that it got there in one piece without my friend having to pay for postage at the other end......... I told the cashier that she had given me too much change.

"I asked you if the envelope fitted the slot" said she, and you said it did.

"That was the other one" I said.

"Which other one?"

"The jiffy bag. But the cost of the jiffy bag and the postage was going to come to......... blah blah blah. Etc etc etc."

So then she got out a piece of paper and did a sum.

The sum was to work out the difference in postage between big envelope and big standard envelope. I then handed over some more money, which for the sake of the said parcel arriving in tact I pray was the right amount. She then got out some real stamps - the old fashioned sort - and stuck those on to the parcel.

I'm assuming you can mix stamps? If not, then my friend may end up paying for postage at the other end.

I hope not.

p.s. I'm also not going to write about the bizarre conversation that I had with the tax office today about family tax credit. But I might do soon............ Watch this space!

p.p.s. It was sort of romantic having the experience of the old fashioned morning. We'd got quite into the swing of it. Tea made from water in a pan from the woodburner. Baked potatoes wrapped in foil, ready to be cooked in the fire....

At 1.45 p.m., I saw, on walking across the road to the little shop, that the traffic lights were working. The lights in the little shop were working too. "How long has your power been on I asked idly. "Oh, it didn't come in until about 9.45." "Really", I said. "Ours is still off."

Checked the trip switches in the cellar on my return and found that when I reset them the house was once more fully powered. Lucky that I needed something from the shop really.


For all those who asked for pictures. Just to prove that I DO have a camera! I have added some nice snowy pix for you, a picture of outside our front door, a picture of the outside of the window from our Christmas picture, and a picture of how close it is to get to the Primary school from our house!! Now all you have to do is to work out which is which!!


Asha said...

You can mix stamps and I have done it before.They didn't come back to me,so I guess it is okay!:D
I saw the snow at Chris's,it's not much but hey! Schools's off!More work for mommies!;D

Sally Lomax said...

I like it though really Asha! It's less effort than all that running around. England is so funny in snow. We come to a standstill with the slightest hint of it, especially in the South! I was brought up in the Peak District in Derbyshire (North of England) from 5 to 13 and THERE it REALLY snows. 2 or 3 foot is quite normal. But people drive around, because with every snow fall out come the gritter lorries in force...........

Beccy said...

We've had the gritter lorries but no snow....yet....i'm forever hopeful....fingers crossed....

Ignorminious said...

At least you have trip switches. Back home we have old fashioned fuses. They don't go often but when they do it's a pain in the arse to get it sorted.

Our heating works fine. Sadly my house mates have somewhat different views on appropriate indoor temperatures to myself, so it tends to stay switched off most of the time.

Sally Lomax said...

That's funny Beccy, that they send out the gritter lorries before the snow! Although actually, on reflection, perhaps it's quite sensible. Prevention rather than cure!!

Nothing worse than being cold Ignorminious! Can you accidentally turn it up when no-ones looking??

Ailsa said...

Dear Sally,

Thanks for a great blog. I started reading it about a month ago and love reading about the everyday goings on in England.

I read about your blog on petite-anglaise and have become addicted.

Having lived in Denmark for 22 years I find it amusing when England comes to a stand still because of a few inches of snow. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a day at home in front of the fire ..

My mum often complains about the price of postage in England - but it is SO CHEAP compared to the prices here in DK.

Sally Lomax said...

Oh Thank you Ailsa!! I agree about the standstill mode!!


The very nice man said...

Sally, I need to have a serious word with you, love!
I really love reading your blog and all your daily challenges. Just one thing I need to ask:
Where are all the pictures??
Are you telling me you have no camera or you don't know how to post pictures.
I need to know as pictures would make your blog perfect!

Sally Lomax said...

Very Nice Man

Well you wouldn't believe it, but I did try to take a photo yesterday of SNOW. However the camera batteries had run out, and so as soon as someone sensible arrives home to babysit the little ones, to save dragging them out to the shops with me in the snow, I will buy some more and will post some pictures!!!!


john.g. said...

Women!Hair flatteners.....and now fuses! Whatever next? Are you sure it wasn`t the hair flatteners that tripped the fuses? lol.

ChrisB said...

Sally this reminds me of the electricity stikes back in the 70's or early 80's I think. Eating by candle light and going to bed dressed in so many clothes as we had no other heating. Girls thought it was fun at the time.
Postage prices are a pet hate woud you believe I posted a magazine to sam only this week and it nearly £5 ( about £2 more than the mag.cost)

I've been out spreading the salt on our front steps it would be just my luck to have the 'postie' slip and find I'm being sued.

Ailsa said...

Wasn't it the coal strikes in the early 70's. I have a distant (fond)memory of only going to infants school every other day

Sally Lomax said...

John G - Wouldn't be surprised!

Chris and Ailsa -

I remember doing my art homework of all things in candlelight. I think it looked much better for the lack of light really. Drawing wasn't my best thing!

It became so much of our lives that winter that we didn't think anything of it. Just another powercut day.......

Beccy said...

Like the photos!

The very nice man said...

Pictures!! Hoohoo!!
How lovely! Well done, Sally!!

ChrisB said...

The pics are great Sally now we know where you have been hiding

Sally Lomax said...

Thank you for the nice comments about the pictures.

Chris - the camera!


Sally Lomax said...

Sorry Chris! Thought you said "now we know what you have been hiding." But you wrote "Where"

Just for clarification purposes, i was hiding the camera, but not hiding in it!!


Momo said...

for sure pictures made your post a perfect one...though I guess you are fed up with that much snow!

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Momo!

Sadly the snow has now all gone!! Back to green - and dirty green at that. It all looks so dull in the post snow days!!