Over the last couple of weeks we have been having the ‘shall we put the heating on?’ debate. Normally I am begging to make the place a little warmer, not this year though. Whilst I might be a little cool I am determined to make the oil go further as the cost of filling up our modest tank is over £500. It is interesting to reflect that under three years ago it cost us £300 plus to fill the tank. I do feel a little guilty as I am not the one to get up first and poor Wilf is left wondering around a rather nippy old cottage. Part of our problem is that being an old farm cottage windows are both small and scarce and the house being mainly stone requires to be warmed up to stay dry and snug. I have a super dressing gown that is really thick and fluffy to help me keep warm when I plod downstairs in the morning, I can now see why gentlemen used to wear housecoats in days gone by.
I have recently been told (by whom I cannot remember but I think a neighbour) that they used to use pine cones as kindling. This makes sense as I have seen baskets of pine cones by fire places over the years which I thought were just ornamental. I used to collect cones when we went on walks and once Wilf collected a bag of extra large fir cones that I bring out at Christmas and arrange in a bowl, I will now have an excuse to hunt the forest floors and fill up our kindling basket, they will look so pretty and I imagine smell nice when burning.
In the day when we work at home we can light the wood burner in the dining room and in the evening we use the multi-fuel burner in the living room. Bed time is now accompanied by one of those things that looks like a hot water bottle but is full of rice and goes in the microwave, much safer than the old boiling water type. I find it hard to put anything with a face in the microwave so even though I have a very nice teddy version of the same thing he remains uncooked.
We invested in two pure Welsh wool blankets, one for the bed and one for the sofa as they are amazingly warm and cozy. We are using a summer quilt topped with one of these blankets and are very snug and warm at night. The sofa blanket gets regular use as well now the evenings are becoming chilly.
During the day I put on a cardigan or jumper and have started to rescue some of my favourites by de-fluffing them and press ganging them back into service. The de-fluffer cost me £1 from Wilkinsons, it is not a miracle cure for fluff balls but with a bit of patience I have rescued a rather nice cream mohair cardigan and a thick wool cardi from M & S. Both were new last winter but looked only fit to be used as extra dog blankets – Vickie and Bertie aren’t fashion conscious and don’t mind the odd cast off to line their beds with.
The last remaining problem is the damp the cottage is suffering. The nice summer months that we have so missed this year usually dry the place out and it’s only when we get to mid winter that I have problems with damp spores. Wilf noticed some on the wall behind a chair in the bedroom the other day so I need to go up there with a diluted bleach mixture and send them packing.
We are putting our planning application in today for an extension to the house. It would give us a new kitchen and dining room whilst also giving us the opportunity to insulate as much of the old cottage as we can and also re-render the external walls that face the worst of the weather and currently don’t appear to be waterproofed. Fingers crossed!