The temperature outside this morning was 6º, the coldest yet. Hubby put the heating on for fifteen minutes to take the chill off the boat, then went up to have a shower, leaving Maggie and I in bed.
Basin 2 February 2015
I found myself thinking back to my childhood, in the days when we didn’t have central heating and getting up on a weekday was a chore.
The council house in which I was born 60 odd years ago had an open fire in the lounge, but no other heating. Hot water was by means of an immersion heater on the water tank in the airing cupboard in my parent’s bedroom, so if we wanted a bath, that had to put on for longer, something as I kid I took for granted.
In the winter, we would have flannelette sheets, blankets, eiderdowns and quilts (no such thing as a duvet in our house), and so the weight on the bed was comforting as well as warm.
On really cold nights, we’d wrap our nighties in hot water bottles half an hour before bedtime and drink our hot ovaltine whilst waiting for them to warm up.
Next day, I’d wake up thinking if I got out of bed carefully and quickly made it, then the warmth would still be waiting for me at night. It never happened (well, I was very young).
We didn’t have an electric fire in our bedroom as kids, so once out of bed and duly washed, it didn’t take us long to get dressed and downstairs for breakfast.
Thick creamy porridge was nearly always on the go in a big saucepan, after which we’d be bundled up in woolly hats, mittens, scarves and winter coats for the walk to school.
Things were so different for kids then, my Mum didn’t drive (then or now), and my Dad had long since left for work, so for kids with little legs, it seemed miles. I’ve been back since and it was a surprising mile long walk from our house to the school gates.
I suppose that’s one of the reasons why life here on the boat wasn’t too much of a culture shock when we arrived two years ago. We were already living frugally on a limited budget, so that definitely helped from a financial point of view, but manual heating controls, hot water preparation and conservation came as second nature with relative ease.
It is rumoured that this winter is going to be extremely long and cold.
We have a winter king size duvet (15 tog) on the bed, but also extra blankets and of course my crocheted bedspreads are easily accessible should we need additional layers.
Our two oil filled radiators will be adequate most of the time provided the electricity doesn’t fail and our central heating is economical to run if we need to ‘top up’ on boat heat.
We are well insulated, and once we get the windows filmed, that will help keep the condensation at bay. Rather than double-sided tape, it would appear our velcro on the houdini hatch is a winner.
Guess what we’re likely to be doing tomorrow?