Brrr… my arm has turned to ice!

Tuffy-Cat and I have been hibernating in the office all morning, the two oil heaters working hard to transform it from a chilly damp space into a toasty warm one. While I am beavering away at the computer, multi-tasking as usual, the Fluff-ball is, as usual for her, fast asleep. (Never mind ‘cat-naps’. What a misnomer. Let me assure you that her cat-naps last waaaaay longer than 5 to 10 minutes.)

She is pressed tightly against one of the two oil heaters, paws tucked almost underneath the heater to ensure all-round warmth optimisation.

Tuffy’s favourite spot

Occasionally, and quite inevitably, she singes her sensitive nose, eliciting a startled sneeze, complete with flattened ears. After a few frantic heat-dissipating licks with her adorable pink tongue, she does a few slow, slow, sinuously winding circuits of her snuggle-sock, rolling herself into a tighter and tighter ball, before plunking herself down in exactly the same position as before. Nose against the heater. Ay. Will she ever learn?

A loud thunk on the roof, followed by a rolling sound, and a dull thud on the lawn at the back, interrupts my concentration. Another thunk.

“What on earth?”

A home invasion?

The most recent strategy of thieves in our neighbourhood is to lift off roof tiles and to climb in through the roof, because there’s less likely to be motion sensors up there, and because they can quickly access any alarm wires and snip them. Clever, isn’t it?

Rain, wind and wet leaves everywhere…

Better go check. Luckily, there is a lull in the rain. I put on my bright red slip-on boots, and clump outside. The sound of claws scrabbling up a tree trunk signals that the culprit was a squirrel, who has accidentally dropped a pine cone on the roof, and scampered down to retrieve it before the competition has time to snag it.

Phew. Well, that’s a relief. I prefer squirrels any day.

While I am outside – gosh, it seems like I haven’t been outside in a long time! – I notice that the creepy-crawly in the pool is floating motionless in the water. The pump is still chugging away, though, but it doesn’t sound at all happy. Straining, almost.

Hm, not good.

I don’t think the weir is supposed to be this full of leaves….

I open the weir.


Oh gosh.

I don’t think it’s supposed to be this full of leaves. I hope it’s not broken. And the blue leaf-catcher is so tightly packed with leaves, that it’s a miracle it is still floating. Oh dear. I guess I’d better deal with this.

The diligent leaf catcher has caught just about as many leaves as it can possibly catch!

I walk over to the outside electrical box and switch it off. Then I fetch myself a towel from outside to kneel on, because the paving around the pool is wet-wet-wet. I brace myself and dip my right arm into the — ow-ow-ow-ow!!! —- freeeeeeezing cold water of the pool to unclip the leaf-catcher. I shake it out on the compost heap, and — yeeeeeek! — reconnect it to the plastic pipe.

Oh man. This water is seriously cold.

Holding my breath, I dip my right arm into the arctic waters at the weir to loosen the creepy-crawly pipe, before quickly withdrawing my arm. Ooof. I think it’s going numb. Oh well, maybe I won’t feel the cold then.

I scoop out some of the leaves until I can see the blue lid peeking emerging from the murky depths

Another deep breath, as I reach in all the way to remove the blue lid from above the basket. I can’t even see the basket beneath, the weir is so full of leaves. I wait for the leaves to settle again, working up the courage to lift out the white mesh basket. Right, here we go!!!

I’m pretty sure there’s a white plastic basket underneath all that…

H-o-o-kay. T-t-t-t-teeth chat-t-tering, I empty the basket onto the compost heap too, before briefly turning on the pump to clean the weir of the leaves that I wasn’t able to scoop out by hand. They’ll get trapped in the next filter anyway.

It’s amazing that the plastic basket hasn’t split apart, it’s so jam-packed with leaves!

I put everything back in the right sequence, plug in the creepy-crawly, and turn on the pump again.

Aaaaahh…. (Sigh of relief.) It’s working again.

A sudden flurry of raindrops reminds me that this was just a lull in the rain! Get inside quickly!

Droplets of rain hang on for as long as they can… before tumbling to the ground and becoming one with the earth… like we all will one day…

6 thoughts on “Brrr… my arm has turned to ice!

  1. Your kitty is adorable and funny. They are such creatures of habit, aren’t they?

    Here’s a question for you, surely to do with my lack of knowledge about your climate, but why is your pool still filtering for the winter? You don’t shut it down for the winter? Once fall begins here in Massachusetts, pools are usually too cold to be of any fun anymore and we cover them up and shut down the pump.

    • Hello Karma – Tuffy says thank you for the appreciation!

      Um yes, we actually don’t use our pool at all, except for a short time in summer. I’m such a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures. I try, I honestly try, to swim in it more often, but man alive, when the water is colder than about 20°C [which it usually is, unless it’s the height of summer], I really struggle. In our first year in our house, I kept asking hubby to install a solar pool-heating system with pipes going across the roof, but it was too much PT to arrange, and so we swim maybe .. um… 10 times a year? Pathetic. Perhaps I need to get a wetsuit?

      So yes, you are right, we should definitely close up the pool during autumn and winter. But we don’t have a pool cover (another one of those ‘we really should get that sorted’ things that every home owner has at some stage). We do let the pump run far less in winter, but find that we can’t leave it off entirely, or the water turns green within a week… and then it’s even more work to get it back to clean blue; no doubt you know the drill: – throw in bags of salt – it’s a partly salt-water partly chlorine pool – don’t ask 😉 – then pool acid – then soda ash – then algaecide – then four-in-one – then more salt – then swear a lot… – let the pump run for an entire day – and finally it’s blue again, just before your patience runs out and you want to fill the whole thing in to turn it into a vegetable garden!

      Honestly, pools require way too much work for too little reward.

    • So does she! Actually, it started off as something I called a ‘Snuggle-stocking’ (see here and here), but Tuffy just couldn’t get the hang of crawling *inside* it. Unlike some cats, she is not an ‘under-the-duvet’ snuggler, and in fact becomes a little peevish when we tuck the blanket over-and-around her. So, over the years, the snuggle-stocking has become flatter and flatter, but she loves it. 🙂

  2. I am sometimes awakened in the early morning with what sounds like someone running across my roof, but then I wake up enough to remember that it’s just the fat red squirrels taking a shortcut from one tree to another! Luckily I don’t have to worry about home invasions and I’m sorry it’s an issue for you. Your kitty is a doll!

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