06 November, 2018
October has brought an early winter this year with snow already falling in parts of Scotland and the Met Office has warned of a particularly harsh winter to come. They say its due to a slight change in the movement of the jetstream around the UK bringing in arctic weather from the polar vortex into the northern areas of the UK.
The mild winters we normally experience are made possible by the flow of warm air on the southern side of the jetstream which protects the UK from the colder climates that cities on the same latitude would have to endure. For example, cities in Scotland such as Glasgow and Edinburgh share the same latitude as Moscow in Russia, and cities in England such as Leeds and Bradford share the same latitude as Vancouver in Canada. They share the same latitude but certainly would not expect to share the same climate!
It often concerns me that people here in the UK, particularly in England, are not well prepared for the very cold weather. Having worked as a European courier I’ve travelled as far north as Umeå in Sweden and Tromsø in Norway, and from this, I am very aware of the dangers of bad weather conditions on the roads. Previously, I lived in Minnesota USA where temperatures regularly fall below -20℃ and where winter survival skills can be a case of life and death. From these experiences, I have put together a winter survival guide to help keep people safe on the roads this winter here in the UK if indeed the temperatures plummet below what we normally are accustomed to.
Now is the time to check the pressure and tread depth of your tyres. If they are below 4mm it would be a good idea to buy new ones now rather than wait until the spring.
Depth of tyre tread is crucial in maintaining grip and traction on the roads. It’s always very important to check tyre condition during any time of the year because they form the only contact between the vehicle and the road. In the UK, the legal tyre tread depth for cars is 1.6mm and the safety indicator on the actual tyre is 2mm. Running on 2mm tread tyres may well be fine in mild weather but in snow and ice it can be very dangerous.
In countries where snow and ice are much more frequent, such as Germany and Sweden, the legal tyre tread is 4mm and winter tyres (ones showing the snowflake symbol) on all four tyres are a mandatory requirement. Winter tyres give extra grip although they increase fuel consumption so it can be considered overkill to use them on UK roads. Putting 2 winter tyres on the driving wheels of the vehicle would give extra grip, although four all round is best. We have to put them on the courier vans going over to the continent to deliver freight, so keeping 2 sets of wheels per vehicle makes it easier to swap over from winter to summer tyres.
Snow chains are another option although bear in mind, usage will limit the speed of the vehicle to 20-30mph. Conveniently though, they can be fitted on and off existing tyres as and when needed and neatly stowed in the boot. Just be warned that they can be rather tricky to fit and it’s better to practice fitting them in good weather on the driveway than to struggle with cold fingers and a set of instructions in a blizzard.
Keeping warm is critical to survival, so always have a blanket or sleeping bag in the boot of the car just in case roads get blocked and cars stranded on motorways. it can take a long time for the rescue vehicles to come to clear the roads so be prepared to wait.
Check that the heater in the vehicle works as it should and keep spare fuses in case you need to change them. Make sure you have the vehicle manual so you know where the fuse box is! Try to keep at least half a tank of fuel so you can run the engine to keep warm while you wait for help.
Stay in your vehicle if stranded, it will give you protection from the elements. Heavy snow, strong winds and fog can cause bad visibility and whiteouts can be a killer. If you extend your arm out in front of you and can’t see your fingertips then you are experiencing a whiteout. It can be extremely disorientating and often a person will walk around in circles when they are thinking they are walking in a straight line. People have been found frozen to death only a couple of meters outside their own front door so If you find yourself in this situation you will need to know what to do.
Always stay with your vehicle and wait for visibility to clear. If you need to move a short distance, for example from the car park to the front door and you are among a group of people then hold hands to make a chain so no one gets lost. If you are on your own you can tie the end of a ball of string to the wing mirror or other anchor point so that you can make your way back to the safety of your vehicle in case you run into any problems.
Don’t get stuck on your driveway in the morning, make sure you are topped up with antifreeze and have your scrappers and de-icer to hand. Most ready mixed antifreeze will still freeze at very low temperatures so the concentrated version can be useful at times.
If you are having trouble with frozen locks in the morning then pour some hot water over them to loosen them up. Do not pour hot water from the kettle over the windscreen because it can damage the seal.
Most people in Scotland will know that a snow shovel is an essential piece of equipment. During heavy snowfall you can find yourself a meter deep in snow within 20 minutes! A snow shovel will make it possible to clear a path to get onto a main road that has been gritted or cleared.
Don’t forget your phone charger. I have already mentioned fuses but check that your cigarette lighter works. Not only is a mobile phone a means to call for help but you can also keep your friends updated on Facebook while you wait for help.
Always keep water in the vehicle not only in case of a leak but for drinking as well. It’s something we all remember in the summer months but it is important in winter as well. It’s a good idea to keep some food in the vehicle to keep you going in case of an emergency. Salami, jerky, biltong, or keep sweets and chocolates if you like, but don’t forget to stock up if you succumb to a nibble while on your travels.
01 August, 2018
I'm very proud to be invited to become a trustee for Weee Charity. It's a local charity to me in Warrington that aims to prevent and relieve poverty in the local community and the rest of the UK by repairing, reusing, and recycling IT equipment. The charity also helps businesses by providing free data erasing and destruction for old IT equipment and has been endorsed by the Which? consumer publication as being one of the best in the IT recycling industry. You can read more about it here. It's an exciting opportunity for me and I look forward to contributing to their cause.
Computers can get quite technical but I've always loved upcycle projects. Being creative and resourceful are the building blocks for making anything at all. So, for a bit of fun, I've come up with my own upcycle project that just about anyone can do!
For this project I used:
3 Wooden wine cases
28cm wide kitchen cabinet door
A length of 12mm x 32mm timber batten
1 Steel door hinge
Half inch wood screws
A saw and clamp
I've been wondering for a while now what to do with these wooden boxes so here I have made a wine station from stacking them up and adding a hinged top to turn it into a small table and wine store. I had an odd kitchen cabinet door I didn't have a use for so I cut it to size to make the table top. The good thing about using this for the top is that the coasters just slide in which means the lid can be lifted without having to take the coasters off the table. I glued a piece of timber batten to the back of the box to support a door hinge left over from another project and Voilà! A small wine station.
It was a quick and easy project so plenty of time left over to enjoy a glass of wine. Perfect.
01 March, 2018
The snow isn't stopping us! This week, during Beast from the East, we have successfully delivered to the following areas: Coventry Colchester Walsall London Basingstoke Telford Oxford Peterborough Birmingham Northampton.
If you need our help just pick up the phone and call us on 0330 2233076
Click here to see how we can help
04 February, 2017
Where Have All The Icebergs Gone? Iceberg lettuce isn't the only crop, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, rocket, broccoli and baby spinach are also being harvested by alien UFO's across the country. Farmers have reported sightings of strange aircraft hovering over their crops and an increasing problem with crop circles. These fancy circular patterns are found in fields where the space crafts have either needed to land or have hovered for short periods of time.
A pig farmer in Attleborough told us "I did see one come over my farm but I only have pigs here so it just flew away". Other farms haven't been so lucky with Essex being hit the hardest in places such as Chigwell, Basildon, Harwich and Saffron Walden. One man from Chigwell said "They normally only steal a few but this time they took the whole lot".
Thousands of people in the UK are calling for the government to improve the ageing UFO crop stealing defence systems which were a joint UK and US program initiated in 1947 after the Roswell landing. Aliens that crash landed near Roswell USA were found to have had Iceberg lettuce in their stomachs during an autopsy. Parlament in Westminster are at the moment largely occupied with Brexit negotiations and there are currently no plans as yet to fund a war on alien spaceships.
The large supermarkets are tackling the veg crisis by warning their customers of long term shortages and have already started rationing lettuce and broccoli. Most of the vegetable shelves are empty. The last time food was rationed was during World War 2.
This problem is expected to mostly affect vegetarians and vegans throughout the country. An estimated 5.7% of the UK population is vegetarian meaning there are over 3 million vegetarians in the UK today. Not everyone will be affected as there are still many people happy to just eat chips with everything.
TIP: When storing vegetables in the fridge and cupboards, make sure you take all the veg out of the plastic wrappings as soon as you get home because that's what makes the veg go off quick.
02 January, 2017
It's been a successful year for Mailee Express! We've started to see our hard work paying off with an increasing amount of new companies returning to us every month for our same-day courier service. We have organised transport for our clients on small vans to 40ft artics, curtain-sides, flatbeds and drop-sides. From gaining new contacts our network has grown to a substantial team of regular trusted couriers covering the increasing amount of work.
In 2016 we moved a record amount of same-day courier consignments across the UK with a 100% success rate.
Thank you to everyone who has worked for us. The level of service has been top class. I hope you've all enjoyed the Christmas break and we now look forward to an even busier new year ahead. Onwards and upwards my friends.
Keeping warm in a winter garden thanks to the new fully heated glasshouses funded by a two million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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Showcasing art produced by people within a 50 mile radius of Warrington, ranging from students, professionals and upcoming artists
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Located in the amphitheatre at Great Northern, Deansgate, there is now a giant sandpit free for everyone to enjoy.
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