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Jan 28, 2009


Announcement: "The cold weather is back." Why would I say that in the middle of Winter? Surely, it has been cold since the beginning of the season? Well, not exactly. We had a break for about two weeks, when it stopped snowing and warmed up. How wonderful! I love the snow, but I do love to see the green grass again, and feel the warm sun on my skin. Yesterday, however, the real Winter weather returned. The air is moving down again from the North. It is icy. A tiny amount of snow fell during the day. Everything was cold and quiet again outside. Well, we went to bed, thinking nothing more about the weather. When we woke up it was freezing in the house. Our heater had broken down. Before the kids woke up, I built a fire in the fireplace, and my husband brought in an electric heater from the garage. That helped to warm the rooms so I could get the children off to school comfortably. I even turned the oven on for a short while to heat up the kitchen. It was, actually, a bit exciting, like we were camping. When things like that happen, it makes you appreciate electricity and how it makes life easy.

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: announcement, not exactly, to warm up, tiny, freezing, to brake down, fireplace.

Verbs: to brake (brake, broke, broken), to wake up (wake, woke, woken).

* Would: Why would you say that? ( can mean "Why are you saying that?" or "Why did you say that?" )  Why would he spend all of the money in one store? I would run if I could. Would you pass me the salt, please?


I had a flash back this morning. I remembered my father's house in Scotland, and how he chooses to heat it. It is a two hundred year old building that used to house monks. The kitchen, as in many old farm houses, is central to the house. Though there are fireplaces in each room, the kitchen fireplace is active most of the day, and highly useful. Dad's routine in the morning is to get a fire going, using scrunched up newspapers, small bits of wood, and then logs. The heat quickly fills up the kitchen dining area. Then, the water tank, which is located somewhere above the fireplace on the second floor, heats up and provides plenty of warm water. Of course, my father and his wife have electrical heating and all the modern amenities, but they choose to have fire as a main heat source. Their previous house, in the South of England was the same, but two hundred years older. They renovated it, putting in radiators which were heated by the fireplace. It all worked really well. The reason I thought about this is because our electrical heating system broke down last night, and we don't have a backup. The house was very chilly this morning, so I lit a fire, turned on the oven, and got my children off to school quickly. How we take our amenities for granted! The ease of flicking a switch at a whim can make us lazy. Let's hope that the workmen get here soon...

 Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: a flash back, to house, central, fireplace, routine, to scrunch up, water tank, amenities, a heat/ light source, to renovate, a backup, chilly.

Verbs: To backup. We only have gas in our house, and no other backup. Why didn't you back me up in the argument?

To get .... going/ on.  Let's get a fire going/on. She will get the dinner going/on as soon as she's ready. (Both colloquial British).