Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Chilly, Chilly is the Evening Time

The snow lies hard as ice on the Downs, and the Social Secretary and I have been out sledging. Bob watched from his window and said we were behaving like big kids. Woohoo!

We don't much mind not having central heating as a rule. Visitors sometimes complain of the cold and sit in their coats looking like soft jessies. This last few days, though, has been something else.

The ice on the inside of the windows has been too tough to scrape with a fingernail, and the Arctic icy draught whistling up between the floorboards has made BT's usual TV watching position, prone on the sitting-room floor, untenable.

The Social Secretary started the rot by moving an old portable set into the kitchen. Then Bob and I, watching the repeat of 'Dead Set' in there last night, had a brainwave and silently carried the sofa in while the SS was having a bath. An occasional table for drinks and the old gimballed paraffin lamp on the wall beside the aga completed the ambience. Much to the dog's delight we are now all more or less living in the only warm room.

It's really rather cosy, and awfully handy for mulled wine.


  1. Don't you at least have double glazing? I don't have much heating, but at least I don't get the ice on the windows. I remember that from when I was a kid though - one of my earliest memories is of seeing scary faces in the window frost. I quite miss it actually, but not enough to take the double glazing out.

  2. Sounds rather nice! All tucked up cosily in one room! Its when you start making beds up in there too that you will know its REALLY cold!
    I can't imagine not having central heating now, and indeed, my house is irritatingly warm in the middle of the night at the moment cos the 'frost control' thermostat turns the heating on as soon as the temperature drops below a cerain point, and I then cant turn it off! But I do remember from my childhood those days of frost on the inside of the windows, and getting dressed under the bedcovers!

  3. I hate to be cold. A house without central heating would be my idea of hell - well except hell is meant to be hot isn't it? Silly me!

    I misread what you wrote - well misunderstood it. I thought that SS was having a bath in the kitchen whilst you moved in the sofa. I imagined her sat in one of those tubs with legs in the middle of the room. I think it was the talk of the ice on the inside of the window that made it all sound Victorian - and they did that in those days, didn't they, took a bath by the fire.

    I love mulled wine.

    Oh and Happy New Year.

  4. Rol, we have some and some. (The house is a bit odd, in that it was three cottages, but over the years we've been here has gradually become one. The resulting 37 odd windows are beyond our means to double-glaze all at once). I suppose the Jack Frost thing doesn't mean anything to lots of kids now.

    Justme, we're nearly at the bed stage. K and Bob have been curled up alternately on it all day!

    RB, there was an old tin bath in one of the sheds here, sadly rusted. Incredibly though, I saw a new one for sale in a hardware shop in town last month. So perhaps there are still people bathing in front of the fire every first Friday of the month.

  5. I lived in a house that was so cold that dew formed on top of the bedcover, a nasty cold wet shock when you woke up!

  6. I used to live in Brighton with a Nigerian friend. She and her family were always cold so when they visited they would all get in the bed together (that could be ten of them, if her dad was there).

    Do you think it'll come to that chez vous?

  7. we've got central heating and it's still bloody cold. I do like the idea of you all being snuggled together in the kitchen though. Do you have an Aga or similar? Long Johns?

    I had to laugh at Reluctant Blogger's comment though.

    Try and keep kitchen-bound

  8. Helen - That must have been awful! (I once made myself a waterproof bag out of heavy-duty polythene, for putting my sleeping bag in, to save carrying a tent on my motorbike. I woke up in the heather sodden with condensation!)

    Lulu - I'm up for it, if you give me their address (I'm not turning down any heat source). You might have been a neighbour of Helen McCookerybook's, if you were there in the right bit of the 80's.

    Fancy - Yes, there is an aged, coal-fired aga. Long John's? No, it's ours. (Actually, the SS was in those today, but don't tell her I said).

  9. All sounds rather ideal to me. We don't have double glazing or central heating where we are now but the house seems to be quite efficient at holding onto its heat. Not so my childhood home which, like your description, had ice on the inside of the windows every winter. My bedroom was like an ice box as a kid and I used to keep warm by piling every item of clothing I had onto the bed at night so I could sleep without freezing to death. Strange the things you miss...

  10. Why . . .you're living in a constricted space? Welcome to the boat life ;->
    Aloha Dear Brother T-

  11. I've done a similar thing with the junk room, which is the only place in the flat where I'm allowed to smoke. It now has a comfortable armchair, a little table and a lamp. It looks not unlike a Victorian gentleman's study (although I am neither). The radiator isn't on in there, which makes it pleasantly bracing when I go in, and prevents me spending all evening in it. I wish I could do the same in the kitchen though - it was the main reasson we bought the flat, because it's big and warn and has a Rayburn - but, weirdly, no windows...

  12. Steve - I do think one sleeps better in a cold room. And yes, I remember putting a rug on my bed.

    Cloudia - I hadn't thought of is a bit like on board life!

    Lucy - Your junk room/study sounds pretty civilised. I grew up with a Rayburn. As far as I remember it loaded through a door on the upper left, and the draft was controlled by a rotating disc down the bottom (now there's five words I never expected to use together).

  13. I already commented I thought but I must have done something wrong. It was to the effect that I was jealous of you sledging and I hope you keep warm now you have made more sensible arrangements!
    Though today is a lot warmer and we have fog at the moment. Not enough to justify the great variety of fog lights I was dazzled by on the way home though!

  14. I remeber the days of ice inside the windows and tin baths in front of the fire! I wouldn't want to go back though! Living in the kitchen when it is cold makes sense - my family spend a lot of time in there as it is a big room, it has a portable tv in it and, most importantly, that is where the food is.

  15. I recall during the winter of 1978/79 that the glass of water by the side of my bed froze and and there was regularly frost on the quilt. Marvellous days.

  16. No central heating and poor glazing ugh! How do you survive?

    Have you got an indoor bathroom?

    Big Jessie x

  17. Sarah - Well, you know that hill; no better piste for miles!

    Completely - It has got us spending more time together...even played 'Risk' the other night.

    Birdwatcher - Now that must have been cold! There is a sort of atavistic satisfaction in coping with the elements, isn't there?

    Laura - That we do have! Got to draw the line somewhere!

  18. You don't have central heating?! Why? Whhhhhhhy?! I have central heating and a fire, and I've still been cold to the point of angry for the last two weeks.

  19. Hattie - I like 'cold to the point of angry'.

    As for CH, it's the way this house has sort of happened, like a very slow accident. There is an aga in the middle. And there's a wood/coal fire at one end which can run some radiators, but it's very thirsty and they're not in the places we use most. And there's a few storage heaters dotted about, which go cold when you most need them. Most of the time it doesn't matter...

  20. Our Rayburn is gas-powered, so doesn't require outside feeding, but when the wind blows down the chimney it blows out the pilot light, so on a particularly breezy day we have to relight it every half hour or so. Fantastic for cooking stews and things that take hours to roast, like pork belly, but no good at all for flash-frying. It does make the kitchen look wonderfully homey though!

  21. It's getting very Little House on the Prairie out there, isn't it?!