There are an awful lot of holly berries on the bough this year, which is supposed to mean a bad winter (there is a saying in these parts, 'When hol'berries be rife, best cuddle a wife'.) And now that BT has stocked up on anthracite nuts, candles and paraffin before they run out, he can share his suspicion that when the Russians cut off our oil and gas supplies, we might experience the odd power cut over the coming months. These won't last long, because people will stop buying caviar and listening to Tatu, which should soon bring the Russian economy to its knees. In the meanwhile, BT has jotted down his top ten energy-saving tips which you may find useful.
Pop down to B&Q, buy a small pot of own brand Signal Red Gloss, and paint your radiators red. They will look so warm that you will be able to get away without turning the heating on.
Keep an empty hot water bottle under the bed. If taken short in the night, no need to turn on the lights and lose body-heat going to the bathroom; just use the bottle. It'll warm you for an hour or two afterwards as well.
Make your own organic, warming toothpaste; mix two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with an ounce of grated dried chilli peppers. Add a teaspoon of lime pickle and stir into a paste. Brush teeth and gums vigorously before bed. There's no need for a partner to snuggle up to with this hot number. Be careful to wash your hands afterwards.
Next time you go to the supermarket, ask for some empty boxes. Tell them that you are collecting for 'Warmer Homes for Wensleydale'. When you get back, move the furniture away from the walls and pile the boxes up from floor to ceiling. You'll be surprised at the difference this makes. The extra storage opportunities are a bonus.
On cold nights a cupful of table salt will stop the lavatory from freezing over. Antifreeze will also work, but be sure to flush well before use. (Always check that the pan is not frozen. If it is, a kettle of boiling water will usually resolve the problem).
Cling film is not an effective repair for cracked lavatory pans.
Marmite has unparalleled antifreeze properties. Squeeze some into your car door locks using the back of a teaspoon. It also makes a useful screen-wash.
In cold weather many foods require more energy to consume than they supply. Try to eat a high-energy, low mastication diet involving efficient calorific ingredients such as bananas, Yorkshire Pudding and Maltesers.
Anyone used to swimming in Britain will know that the water feels warmer on a normal, grey summer's day than when the sun is shining. This is because perceived body temperature is relative to ambient temperature. In winter ensure that you regularly lower your blood temperature with a generous intake of alcohol (you may not technically be warmer, but you won't care).
Dig out that old record turntable from the attic and attach a 3 volt bulb to the short pins on the power plug. Set the turntable to thirty-three and a third RPM and invite a friend to spin the turntable vigorously in an anticlockwise direction; this will provide sufficient light for you to top up your guests' glasses.