Winter gets me down so much more indoors than out. Outdoors I enjoy the seasons changing. By the end of summer I'm sick of the heat; by the end of winter I'm longing for warmth.
My house is cold. It's old and it's draughty and we struggle to stay warm. Visitors come but sit uncomfortably at the table in their coats clinging to cups of tea. I'm reluctant to crank up the boiler too much, not just for the cost but because I know, despite being with a green power supplier, there's no such as a renewable gas supply. I can't remove the thought of massive, smoke belching power stations from my mind. The thermostat sits at 18C but it doesn't feel balmy, just tolerable. We wear vests, two pairs of socks, leggings under trousers and my head is rarely without a hat, even at home!
Every winter morning brings the miserable task of wiping wet windows. They're single glazed, the original wood sliding sashes with beautiful coloured leaded lights and I love them. But they're hopelessly impractical for a house full of teenagers and their daily showers. We don't have a tumble dryer either so the wet washing hangs off a series of clothes horses making the dining room look like a laundry. After the cold nights, the moisture collects and glistens like fragile diamonds, tearing down the panes with the merest whisper of movement nearby. The first such night of autumn leaves me with a pit in my stomach knowing I have months ahead...
The Karcher window vac is, to my mind, one of the greatest ever inventions, better than the wheel, the internet and the internal combustion engine combined. Particularly for the Edwardian house owner, it's a godsend. It sucks massive quantities of water off windows, tiles and even bathroom floors and saves it amassing in corners as black mould. It's the one gadget I would not want to be without!
Otherwise, windows are opened during (for the brave) or after showers, lids are used when cooking and clothes are dried on airers and not on the radiators. I use the maximum spin on the washing to fling out as much water in advance as possible. And sneaking the heating up a degree (from 17C) did, I concede, make a difference! I gather dehumidifiers can be effective too, but I don't want to buy another new thing, with all the carbon emissions that that entails, without exhausting every other possibility first!
One day, I will have enough money for beautiful, wooden double glazing. Until then, we can just about cobble together. And when it gets too much? Well, I just escape outdoors and relish the icy blast!
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.