It's ironic the way things happen in life. We have lived in this house for two and a half years and have an arrangement with an oil supply company that means they top up the oil tank to supply the boiler with oil proactively. We don't contact them, their computer estimates when we need it and they deliver accordingly. Or not. Unfortunately their computer miscalculated and the oil has run out or very nearly done so. Despite endeavouring to circumnavigate the automated system we have had some difficulty organising a reactive delivery.
We discovered the oil was extremely low at the weekend. These things always happen at the weekend. My son was given the task of working out the volume of the full segment of the predominantly empty, cylinder-shaped tank (glad it wasn't me that got that task - mathematics is not my strong point) and how many days heating we had left. He estimated three or four. That was Saturday. No oil is now visible in the gauge at all. I ring the oil company (again) to investigate and inquire anxiously what will happen if the tank runs completely dry. The answer is one that chills the blood more quickly than the prospect of no central heating. Worse than Ronald Reagan's "We're from the government and we're here to help" which he deemed the nine scariest words in the English language. "If that happens," the cheery lady on the end of the phone chirps, "You'll need an engineer to come out and restart the boiler."
A heating engineer. In a very cold week in January. One of those "am" or "pm" phantoms that usually have to be chased a number of times prior to an authenticated sighting. OK. I decide to turn off the heating entirely. Today is cold. In fact the weather forecast tells me it is the coldest week of the winter so far. I don't need the weather forecast to tell me that actually. Look at what was on my windscreen this morning.
But hey! man (or woman) does not live by central heating alone and one can be too dependent on these gizmos.
So in the absence of central heating,
1 I have laid the open fire in the sitting room that normally doesn't get lit during the week and will be working in there for a change once the sun goes down and the temperature drops. It will be rather nice. When H gets back from school he can do his prep in there too which will be much more companionable than him sitting on his own at his desk upstairs and me in my study on my own downstairs.
2 The oven is working fine - it's electric - (today I am quite grateful that I don't have an oil-fired Aga) so I have made flapjack to accompany steaming cups of tea during the afternoon and there is an enormous chicken casserole in there as I write to provide internal central heating this evening. I love flapjack and don't need any excuse to make it but today I feel it is morally justified.
3 Mrs Mudd's jumper has emerged from my jumper chest. Mrs Mudd's jumper is venerable - at least 15 years old. He is made from thick Swaledale wool and is extremely warm. He is known as "Mrs Mudd's jumper" because when I bought him from a little shop in Muker in Swaledale, he bore a label saying "Made by Mrs Mudd."I don't know who Mrs Mudd is but her knitting is the business and I bless her every time it's seriously cold and I wear her handiwork. Today it is seriously cold. Encased in Mrs Mudd's jumper, I am, however, seriously warm.
4 I have discovered that I can get by without central heating (for a while, at least).
Our grandparents got by perfectly well without central heating. It may not always have been fun but people managed. Winter was cold and you wrapped up. You didn't get chilled by doing silly things like going out with wet hair or wandering around in thin shirts in January. You cooked and ate food that warmed you from the inside. You gathered around the open fire or the stove companionably and sociably. Perhaps I am discovering that I can not just "get by" without central heating but my day is better and and has a warmer glow than if the radiators were like furnaces.
I notice all these photos share a colour palette of mostly winter whites and neutrals - not intentional - just how they came out. Winter serendipity!
I hope your day has had a warm glow in it too, even if, like me, you have no heating!