Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back to reality

The house is in a topsy turvy state. Not by accident I have to say, but generally because we are having some heating installed. Not that we are likely to use it a lot, but thanks to a grant we were able to have it installed in the house.The floorboards are up, each room has had its furniture put aside and the children have been very careful not to thread on nails etc. You may wonder why we are having heating installed when we are trying to downshift and reduce our use of fossil fuels. Well, about 3 weeks of each year we really do feel the cold and are chilled to the bone. I found out that we could apply for a grant to have heating installed and well, if you get an offer like that, why turn it down? My Dh suggested that it would increase the value of the house and would be less offputting to future occupiers. It will not be a regular used appliance but more like a back up system when all other options leave us cold. I am comfortable with a low temperature in the house, I love a woodstove in the evening and I am not adverse to wearing woolly jumpers and socks, even fingerless mittens to keep warm. I am happy to sit in the lounge with my feet up the sofa, covered in a quilt, indulging in a hot cup of tea and reading a good book. That sounds healthy. I have difficulty during 3 weeks of the year, where the temperature goes below freezing and you wake up with a dampness in the air, ice on the inside of the windows and no matter how you try to stay warm, the house is invaded with a dampness that pervades your bones and seems to stick. The british climate is not friendly to people in the long-term. The wonderful days of fall are followed by dark, damp, dreary days in January and February. Its not the same when you have a blue sky and a cracking frost, that lifts the soul up and invites you to go for a long walk, breathing in clear air and watching your breath make small smoke in front of you. The weather I am talking about is a depressing, dark, gloomy, damp foggy day when all the lights need to be on, the dampness invades your home and spirits. On days like that I am hoping that by keeping the temperature constant and drying a bit of the dampness out of the air, quality of life will be increased. I will still wear the socks, the woolly jumper, start a woodstove fire in the afternoon and light candles to perfume the air but will not feel it necessary to iron my sheets before going to bed. There is something comforting in going to bed with a hot water bottle, under a large quilt but dampness is another matter.

In the garden, we are continuing to tidy up, cut shrubs and build a large bonfire of all the branches that we cannot shred and reuse. Large branches are cut for firewood, smaller ones shredded as mulch, and the ones left over are built up to be a large bonfire for November the 5th when it is Bonfire Night.

Tonight on Halloween, we carved mini pumpkins and put little lights in them on the windowsills. The larger pumpkins are still in the polytunnel and will be eaten as the season progresses. We do not celebrate as people do in the USA, Halloween is a smaller venture here but nevertheless it signifies a recognition that the dark days of winter are on its way, so a little fun and joviality is called for. We do celebrate as a family but do not actually buy into the commercialism of it anymore. I can look scary anyday if I put my mind to it! We did talk about what the children wanted to happen as we enter winter and the biggest request was for home made waffles when they return from school and it is dark outside. On days, when spirits need lifting, boys carrying schoolbags will be greeted with the smell of freshly baked waffles as well as large steaming mugs of hot chocolate. A feeling of coming home is as simple as that, and as easily created.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there

Just recently found your blog and am enjoying it immensely. I really like the idea of discussing on Halloween what you would like to happen during winter. Thanks for sharing it - I think I'll try to make that part of my annual traditions in future.