Today I used this old friend to unblock Day 9's new best friend. It wasn't exactly highly skilled plumbing or even interesting DIY, but it was satisfying nevertheless.
Someone (maybe Bill Bryson) commented that the irony of the British obsession with weather is that we don't really have any - the variations are minor and severe weather of all types is actually very rare. That may be changing, but it often seems like extreme weather is the norm here. We have gone straight from wind-chill warnings to winter-storm warnings to flood warnings to fire warnings. Last night there was a severe thunderstorm warning for an area near here for a specific time (a half hour start/finish window) and sure enough at that time almost to the minute our house suddenly sounded like it was being blown down - in fact the only casualties were the garden swing (toppled over) and the girls' plastic chairs and table (blown across the garden) but it was quite exciting-sounding for a few minutes.
The truth of the matter is probably that it is the comfortable unpredictability that is the British staple. Here we have weather that is at times very uncomfortable but fairly predictable (a few days in advance anyway). Just like in the UK, commenting on the weather is a universal ice-breaker in small-talk and the normal reaction to the changeability is very British too - "That's life in Upstate New York for you!"
In fact today's weather was remarkably unremarkable: mid 60s, cloudy with sunny spells. Yesterday however was the hottest April 23rd for more than a century, reaching 87 °F. I bet all the snow ploughs are still on standby though - that's Upstate New York for you!