3rd December 2007
I used to watch football from Italy on Channel 4 in the 90's in England, and I was struck by how often you couldn't see one side of the pitch from the other, and also by how often players wore gloves and earmuffs. Now I am beginning to understand why, though I'm still a little perplexed by those earmuffs.
The fogs bring with them a number of changes. The cold is the most obvious change, but it is so much colder than I had ever imagined. We fight over who does the washing up, because the sensation of plunging your hands into hot, soapy water is about as good as it gets here during the Winter. We have tried to increase the amount of heat we produce in the house but, as I now realise, it's not how much heat you produce, it's how much heat you lose that counts. We lose a lot, with our high, uninsulated ceilings making the sky above the house quite warm, but leaving us stone cold.
The days have a different rhythm now; starting with how to get warm in the morning, then the wood run begins, sometimes just schlepping it from one place to another, often chopping it into smaller sizes, always hoping it's the good stuff; not too young, not too wet, not too dry and, preferably oak. In the evenings it's all about keeping the fires going and, finally at bedtime, it's about retaining as much heat as possible until the next morning.
The wise heads around here use inside/outside thermometers to check whether or not you should have the doors and windows open as it's often warmer outside than inside in these big, draughty houses. However, wherever you go and whoever you spaek with, the conversation inevitably turns to heat, or cold, or heating, or insulation. Underfloor, solar, back boilers, wood burners, open fires, geo-thermal, the cost of having the roof done in euros, the cost of not having it done in degrees and unhappiness. It becomes the sole topic of conversation after olives and before Christmas.
The stupidest thing I did today;
Well, this was actually many years ago, but only really affected me today. I was reminded that I had once said that I would never wear thermal underwear...