Cold apprenticeship

TropicalI read yesterday that 1st October is ‘Central Heating Day’ because it’s the day when many turn their central heating back on.  Now I must say, if that’s true, I don’t understand that kind of pedantic thinking.  Yesterday was glorious and I had the windows and doors open all day, (clearly no point in sticking the heating on just because of a calendar date then) but I’m only too aware that tomorrow may bring eskimo chills, with winds whipping down from the north.  Then I’ll have no hesitation in flipping the switch for a bit of warmth blasting throughout the house.

There is a trend to make people like me feel a little guilty about seemingly unthinkingly flipping the central heating switch.  I have to say, however, you’re not going to easily persuade me to go around in ever increasing layers of woolly pullies as the winter sets in, rather than basking in a generally gloriously warm and welcoming atmosphere.  My home is insulated, doubled glazed and I’ve just gone and ordered some new thickly interlined curtains for the cold months ahead.  I feel I’m being a pretty good citizen therefore and, more to the point, I’m old enough to remember the days pre-central heating and dearly hope never to have to live like that again.

Cold, 2Sure, you can sit around with extra layers on and even blankets over your knees, but when the atmosphere of the whole house chills down things start to become damp and inhospitable.  Getting ready for bed becomes a question of superquick timing to get under the covers as quickly as possible and then curling up like a pill bug until the bed warms up.  On top of that, those bed covers can, in themselves, be slightly damp if you are unlucky enough to live in something like an old granite building (as I once did).  Going to the loo in the night has to be done at speed, so as to not lose too much body heat and getting up in the morning?  Well, there is the real killer.  You’re all toasty under the covers but the almost numbing cold on your nose tells you that ‘out there’ is a different matter.  If you think it’s bad getting up to a 6.30 alarm on a cold winter’s morning now, trust me, that is pure luxury compared to hauling yourself out of the warmth of bed, into the the cold and then stripping off for a wash in an even colder bathroom.  As a child I developed a technique for blasting through to the bathroom for as quick a wash as I could reasonably manage, positioning myself as much as possible under the small electric ceiling heater, and then hopping back into my hopefully still warm bed to put on my school uniform.  Yes, that’s right.  In the very coldest months I actually dressed for the day in bed.

Worst memory of cold winters gone?  That’s a toss up between the damp sheets on the damp bed in the damp granite property I just mentioned and a mercifully short stint in a big empty guest house during the bleak winter months where it was so cold that my breath steamed just standing in the bedroom.

So, it’s October now and very shortly I expect to see articles telling me that I rely too much on central heating.  Maybe so, but you know what?   I feel I’ve done my cold-damp-apprenticeship and I’d like to enjoy a few more winters in the welcoming warmth of my home … before my pension fails to cover my fuel bills and I’ll be full circle, freezing my buns off again.



Filed under environment, Home

11 responses to “Cold apprenticeship

  1. Living in cold, damp and rainy Scotland with a husband who suggests “I put another jumper on” if cold, which seems to be the Scottish way, I really relate to this post! *L*

    My central heating is on AND I have thick socks and another jumper on too. ;O)

    Dropped by from SITS. x

  2. Oh I hate the cold and it doesn’t even cool down that much where I am 😉 My apartment has high ceilings and incredibly thick walls and is cool to cold all year ’round, so I think nothing of being an Environmental Bandit and turning the heater on in winter to stave off my goosebumps. I figure I can offset my heater usage against the hotter months, when I have no need for airconditioning, lol.

  3. I turn on the furnace as soon as it’s necessary in order to stay comfortable in the house. I’m all for conserving energy, but don’t think we should have to bundle in layers and hunker down under blankets just to sit and relax in our own home.

  4. A cold house is soooo uncomfortable. We keep it low to save on heating costs, so I always bundle up and I picked up one of those little heaters for the bathroom so I don’t step out all nekked into a cold room. Then I load up on the blankets.

    Of course, I am also the person who as my son puts it, ‘wears a jacket unless it is over 90 degrees’ 😀

  5. Your post is the very reason I don’t live in the north anymore. I hate the cold. But I LOVE the little bundle-up blanket person picture you have with this post! That’s ME!

  6. I had to laugh when reading your timely post–last night we had a cold snap here and it was one cold sleep since we had not turned our heater on.

    Today, I did the routine maintenance thing for the heater and it is balmy now. After my effort, I am sure the outside temps will now soar to record highs.

  7. My house is always freezing. I turn the heater on all the time. Ours is not central. I’d feel guilty, but I do what I can in other ways and we can’t be perfect.

  8. We did the same way as you. Opened all the windows and even our front door to enjoy all the cool autumn breeze! I love this time of year until of course it gets colder then I’m wishing for summer.

  9. Man, I hate the cold. It would be THE reason to leave NY. So not looking forward to Nov- April.

    Stay warm lad!

  10. Here in upstate NY we have 6 months of hot hot summer and 6 months of cold cold winter. But we try to not turn our heat on til November 1st. Some years we make it, some years we cave!

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