Thus yesterday my neighbour Robert showed me how to cut off the water supply to our garden sprinklers, and drain down the system.
At the front corner of every property in the neighbourhood is a clutch of service points. I can't call them manhole covers because they're too small for a man.
The larger cover reveals the mains cut off for water supply to the whole house, with a yellow handle, and the water meter.
Last year while still in London Beth and I saw an unoccupied house for sale or rent at the corner of my parents' road which had flooded, with a huge icicle down the side of the house, and water cascading down the stairs (we looked through the letterbox). Luckily we were able to shut off the mains water from outside to prevent further flooding and inform the Estate Agency responsible for the property, but a lot of damage had already been done.
The next cover reveals the cutoff for the garden sprinkler system, and two one-way valves to prevent backflow of water into the mains system. These valves are checked annually to ensure they care still functioning. The tap at the top of the white pipe drains down the system. These are sometimes tucked underground, but ours also acts as a hose connection point.
Soil has washed down into these and other water service holes, so I need to dig them clean at some point. In addition to cutting off the water, we should stuff the holes with cloth or other insulation. Our outside taps we have already covered with specially designed expanded polystyrene boxes, which can be bought at any gardening outlet for a couple of dollars.
Another task we need to tackle is clearing moss off the roof, especially the north facing areas. This is the roof of the toolshed, and you can see the moss collecting at the joints of the composite tiling. The tile is 20-year grade and the roof only 10 years old, but it is wise to keep it in good condition with bi-annual moss clearing. A lot of houses under tall trees have a buildup of leaves and twigs on their roofs, so we're lucky to have no tall trees near the house.
Near the top right of the last photo you might just make out a grey box, which is another outside electric point. This one is placed ready for Christmas lights to be strung round the porch, and though I don't want to go into massive Griswoldry, I think we'll have some outside lights this year.