A broken boiler and imminent landlord inspection brings a chill to the farm on the M62

With the plummeting temperatures it was only apt, of course, that our boiler should pack in.

It's a chilly time at the farm on the M62

Bearable for the first couple of days as thankfully we have a log burner but after several unsuccessful visits from the plumber, it was fast becoming a real pain. Leaving the warmth of downstairs and the cheery glow of the fire, heading upstairs feels like an expedition to the North Pole.

All of a sudden, a night on the sofa looks appealing as the mind-numbing cold in the bedrooms leaves me shivering away all night. John-William, who has a built-in furnace, loves the “fresh air” as he calls it.

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The colder, the better. Paul, although begrudgingly admits it is rather “keen” upstairs, has his own insulation and like his son is a bona fide soap dodger, so the lack of any heating or hot water is neither here nor there!

As we’re tenants at Stott Hall Farm, our landlords do annual checks of the property to ensure it is structurally sound. At nearly 300 years old and built on a peat bog the maintenance required is ongoing.

Unfortunately, at some point during its long and interesting history someone decided to paint the house and adjoining barns white, adding to the list of jobs for Paul and I.

The wooden window frames are due to be replaced and now thanks to an overly keen boy and his ball, the workshop window and the pane of glass in the front door are in need of urgent repair! He, of course, denied all knowledge of how the breakages occurred, swore blind the wind, the dog, the tractor, a rogue sheep, anything but him was responsible.

Eventually after us pointing out that the workshop window had a football shaped hole in it and the golf ball he’d been playing with was lying next to the broken glass of the door he tearfully admitted he was to blame.

Huge tears started to course down his cheeks, accompanied by great racking sobs and pleas of “don’t be cross with me”.

It was unfortunate that both incidents occurred just before our landlords came to do a property inspection which only added to the tears and remorse. Like most things when you’re eight, the drama was quickly forgotten after a few chocolate biscuits plus a surprise gift of an Advent calendar in the post.

Our yard has been full of diggers and workmen this week. The cow shed below both carriageways is finally getting it’s own power supply. Once the shed lighting is completed the power will continue down the drive to the gates at the bottom next to the road.

No more battling with the padlock in the dark or sitting in the car waiting for a break in the torrential rain before attempting to gain access to your home. The idea of having electric gates seems far too extravagant for us, but the electricity supply will allow us to have CCTV and lighting which will hopefully put a stop to the endless fly tipping.

We seem to have had more than our fair share of rubbish and unwanted visitors so these essential works can’t come soon enough.