Until this weekend I'd not been able to get up to Norbury Junction since mid-December and, to be honest, given the ice, snow and record sub-zero temperatures we've had since then I was a little worried as to what I would find.
Last winter a couple of days of below-freezing weather saw off my water heater so I was wondering what three weeks of the same would bring.
Most of the ice had gone by the time we got there on Saturday afternoon, although the basin was still frozen over and there was still some ice on the cut at the mooring.
I've just finished reading a book about the sinking of the Titanic, so I decided to postpone the planned trip down to the sanitary station to empty the toilet cassette and went and got the drinking water on foot instead.
The first job was to light the fire and get some warmth into the boat and here I made a very basic mistake. Despite reading on Canal World Forum about someone cracking their stove glass by warming up a very cold stove too quickly I managed to do exactly the same thing myself. Curiously, the crack that developed seemed to be within the glass rather than on either of the surfaces, but just to be on the same side we replaced it with the extra spare I had fortuitously bought "just in case" last time we broke it. The only other damage seemed to be some water (or more likely, snow) had found its way through the pigeon box onto the bed, soaking the duvet. We decided we were overdue for a new one anyway! All pipes, pumps and, particularly, water heaters seemed OK although I won't know for certain until I re-fill the water system in the Spring. Fortunately, on my last visit in December I had decided to drain the pipes and water tank even though there was then no sign - or forecast - of the severe weather to come.
What had been a pleasant sunny morning changed into a winter's afternoon as the fog rolled in at Norbury so I fired up the engine to get us some power(being pleased to note that it started first time) and we hunkered down for our 299th evening aboard Starcross - and soon getting so warm we had to go round opening windows!