More on ice: as a lubricant and as an adhesive

It’s now St Stephen’s Day (26th December or “Boxing Day” England). Christmas night was very cold here in Ireland. The thermometer in my car indicated -7 degrees Celcius, and the one associated with the house (which has a rather sheltered external sensor) said -5. Whichever way you look at it, that’s darned cold.

Although we had no snow falling, Christmas day started out “white”. Then the air temperature started to rise and the rain started to fall, softening and washing a way most of the snow that was lying on the ground. Unfortunately the ground temperature did not rise that much, and in places the rain turned into sheets of ice, making any movement outside potentially hazardous. My mother-in-law (who lives a few miles away) reported that it took her nearly one and a half hours to return the 3 or so miles from Mass because during the service the roads had become to treacherous.

Today we woke to find that it had rained again in the night and that the drive and any paths around our house were covered with a thin film of ice. This is bad enough where the ice is visible and appears slick. In places like that, the need for caution is obvious. Much worse are the places where the ground appears to be clear of ice but is in face very slippery. Conditions under foot could reasonably be described as “treacherous”. A further surprise awaited me when I tried to open the garage door (roller shutter), to bring some peat briquettes in for the fire. The door was completely stuck! Once I had freed it (with the help of a kettle of boiling water), I found that the rubber seal at the base had been stuck to the ground by a film of ice (and only for a foot or so of its length. It just shows how strong ice is).

In conclusion; it’s nasty outside, it’s warm inside, I’m staying put for the rest of the day!

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