All our appliances (Aga and Central Heating) run on oil and we were in danger of running out. I ordered it before the Bank Holiday weekend but it didn't come until yesterday. As we were intent on keeping the Aga going for cooking and heating the kitchen, we switched the central heating off. Unfortunately this coincided with the sun going behind a few clouds, so that although we face due South and have large windows, the house got colder and colder. Stove was lit to warm us and I added more cardigans. Last night we were able to bask in the warmth again.
How dependent we have become on things like central heating. As a child all we had was a fire in the living room and hot water bottles for the beds. I don't ever remember being aware of the cold. I do remember that we wore a lot more clothes than we do today!
This morning in the Yorkshire Post there is an article about Hannah Hauxwell (Too Long a Winter - made for TV in the seventies by Barry Cockcroft). For anyone who has not heard of her, she lived high in the fells on a farm - alone - with no source of heating other than a log fire. There she tended her few animals and had an income of about £170 a year! But was content, even though her bath was a bucket in front of the fire.
As a result of the film she was taken to America, to Venice, to Buckingham Palace to a Garden Party (where she said the cakes were dainty but not much use if you had been hard at work all day!) and became a world celebrity. But it made little difference either to her personality or her life style.
She is now 85 and lives in the village of Cotherstone in Teesdale. She can walk into the village with two sticks and says she has good friends, and that is all that
matters. She doesn't watch television - preferring radio. She doesn't bother with the central heating (there is nothing wrong with a good log fire), she doesn't buy new clothes (she has a needle and cotton to repair the ones she has) and although the mattress on her bed is thoroughly worn out - it is nothing that a needle and cotton can't fix.
Reading the article over my breakfast this morning - I wonder if the farmer and I have become softies!