The Pyrenees on Tuesday


As most of you will know by now, most of Europe has been in the grip of a Siberian cold front. In France, this is the longest lasting cold spell of this intensity since 1996 or 1997 and,  no one was really prepared for it. Certainly WE were not prepared!

Here in the Possum Kingdom, some of our temperatures, including windchill, were down to -20 C during the night. And, for this California girl, that is COLD!!! It has been so cold that we have taken to using the car to get the dogs to a place where they can do their thing swiftly, then return to the relative warmth of their chauffeur driven chariot. And, they don’t complain!!!

In fact, since the snow over the weekend, we’ve HAD to walk them this way, because the salt and cold temperatures were so uncomfortable for them that they would suddenly just stop walking and hold a paw up in the air in confusion and discomfort. What’s a doggie-mom to do? I dug the car out and away we went.

Here at our little nest, our boiler has been going almost non-stop, and we keep the thermostat at 17 C, which is way below the local average. We even had to fill up on oil several weeks earlier than we usually do; but we couldn’t take the risk of running out, which is not only uncomfortable, but bad for the boiler as well.

On top of that we’ve been using our fireplace as both supplemental heat and emotional comfort. The dogs are thrilled and argue over who gets the best spot for napping:

Shmoo won this time!

I still remember how afraid our dear Diva Maggie McMiggins was of the fire. Clearly, neither of the current two canine residents share that concern.

But all is not warmth and happiness here. Our doorbell appears to have frozen and no longer works. I brought it inside, because people kept pressing it and assuming we weren’t home when we didn’t answer. It works fine inside, so I’m hoping once there’s a thaw it will be back to its chiming self.

Then, yesterday, I was in the midst of  doing laundry when the washer started flashing the error code that means something is blocked. I assumed it was the usual dog hair or occasional escaped sock problem. The unfortunate part is that to find out, you have to open the filter at the bottom of the machine, which pours water out all over the floor of the garage. Only this time, I did it and didn’t find any blockage. I looked more closely at the booklet and saw it could also be the drain causing the problem. When I went to check the drain, I realized that the water had frozen solidly inside it! No wonder it wasn’t going anywhere. So, I drained enough water to get my sheets out, then finished rinsing them in a basin in the sink, just like Grandma! Now, we just have to wait for the pipes to defrost.

And, just to be clear, this is a pipe that is INSIDE my house in the garage. Now, that is cold!

There have been several articles in the local paper about various disasters caused by this cold wave, including the probable devastation of most of the current vegetable crops and, truly sadly, hundreds of deaths of the Flamingos in Narbonne. The poor things are not built to cope with this kind of cold.

Good news is that the temperatures are starting to rise a bit. Right now it is +2 C, which is the warmest it has been in well over a week. We’re even supposed to have rain, as opposed to snow, sometime next week.

One thing  you’ve got to say; when winter decided to visit, it did it in a big way!

Ciao for now.