Attempts to Keep Warm

By | 21 Jan 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinter has definitely arrived in Burgundy.

To be fair, that’s what it should do at this time of year, and we have had the occasional sunny day which made everything feel a lot warmer than it actually was, but most of the time it has been overcast, and often with hard frost that lasts most of the morning and a damp fog that lasts all day, and today it snowed.

The car registered -3C even if the internet weather for the area states it is -2C.  I realise this is nothing compared to many people’s winters, but that sort of cold is something I don’t particularly care for, especially as I’m still in the main house that doesn’t have central heating and still has a leaky roof and chimneys.  It’s that combination of being slightly damp with the cold and the grey skies that particularly makes it seem worse than it is.

I’ve been thinking about heading for the mountains, which are not far away.   Despite the snow it’ll be warmer as chalets tend to be overheated and most hotels will have saunas.

To top it all, the last couple of days I’ve also had large chunks of the day without electricity as I had (without thinking ahead) arranged for that to be worked on due to the frequent fuse blowing while I had the electric heaters on and while the builder was trying to drill/saw/playing his radio loud enough for the street to sing along to.

It’s a complicated three-phase electric arrangement here, touching all the buildings, and the whole thing needs to be updated from the ceramic fuses currently there, that are, more disturbingly, melting and leaving burn marks on the wood board when they are not blowing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the meter needs to be updated, which was the judgement of the meter reader, but a call to EDF headquarters put me right on that: they will not pay to update it unless it doesn’t work (i.e. probably only if they think I’m getting some electricity for free).

Being used to a different system, I really don’t like their way of supplying utilities here.  Your standing charge depends on how much electricity or gas you think you’ll need/use.  On top of that is the charge for the units used and every visit by them to make any change incurs another charge, and of course any change to your supply requires a visit.  Seems terribly inefficient to me.

Luckily, on H’s last visit he fixed me up with an old gas cylinder heater – a dusty, noisy device that blows a constant raspberry at the room – without which I would be very cold and would probably have to find a sympathetic all day café to sit in.  Can’t think of one around here where I could do that though, the local one closes between 12 and 4pm.

Without electricity there’s also no phone, no internet and no radio, which all make me feel cut off too.

But what I miss most during the cut periods is the ability to make a cup of tea. 

Normally I would have a cup on the go, of various stages of warmth, most of the day.   I’ve no thermos here and there’s no point in buying another one unless the cuts continue all week.  I will ask for notice of when cuts are coming so that I can put the kettle on and then insulate it to keep the heat for later use.

Meanwhile, I tried to heat some water on my flower pot heater.

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This is something I had previously set up for the loo as there are no sockets in that room, nor in the corridor.  I got the idea from browsing through Pinterest and then I got the info on what to do from here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Flower-Pots-Tea-Lights-Heater/

and saw a different version here:

http://tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-make-a-candle-heater.htm

The verdict?

Well, I started off with a small cold room that one could see one’s breath in and afterwards I still had a small cold room I could seem my breath in.

I tried the version with the 2 flowerpots and used 5 or 6 tea lights, but I don’t really see the point – it had 2 masses to heat up first.  Yes, some heat came out of the hole at the top but I didn’t need that to specifically happen.  The big pot never got very hot, nor did the room.

Nice idea, but I think adding the pots didn’t add anything to the heat of the candles nor the room.  The candles did allow me a little light to see during the cut though.

Back to my important cup of tea – unsurprisingly, the tea lights didn’t give enough heat to warm a cup of water.

I also tried the top of the gas heater for warming a cup, and guess what?

That didn’t work either (although better than the candles).

Electricity back on at night, so at least I’ll have my heated blanket to warm up for bed.

A recent visit to the lingerie department of M&S in the UK showed me that waist-high knickers are back in – it seems inspiration has been taken from the stylish 50s lingerie, although looking stylish in underwear is probably also about the body underneath it.  Anyway, I’m happy to go with it – waist-high is warm.

Yay for big knickers!

And the dog is being well walked too.

One thought on “Attempts to Keep Warm

  1. Pingback: It’s Christmas 2015 – Bah Humbug! | Back to Burgundy

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