The first sign of winter is not frost, not falling leaves, not dark nights. For me, the first sign of winter is the central heating breakdown.
Outside, the temperature has dropped and the early morning light is soft and grey. Inside, the radiator in my bedroom has stopped working.
I huddle under the duvet and try to imagine how chilly this 100+ year old terrace house must have been when bedrooms were heated by tiny fires in cast iron grates.
And this was probably only in times of illness. Ice would have formed inside the windows and clothes would have been damp and unwelcoming. We are told that we were hardier then. I don’t believe it.
I phone the plumber’s office and am told to bleed the radiator and top up the boiler. This is impossible with VI and, anyway, on past experience, I know it won’t work. So now I have to wait until next week when the plumber can come out and wonder if it would be extravagant to plug in supplementary heating in the bedroom. Then again, the rest of the house is warm and I can sleep in another room.
Why am I complaining?
With increasing energy prices what is an annoyance for me becomes a crisis for many people. This will apply to the very young, the old, the disabled and the unemployed.
Who would have thought that 100 years on, here in Britain, people will die of cold this winter?
Just finishing listening to The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and read by Suni Malhutra. This elegant and atmospheric book is set against the background of India’s independence. Two brothers Uday and Subhash grow up in Calcutta. As adults Uday stays in Calcutta and Subhash moves into an academic life in Rhode Island, USA. This brief description does not do justice to the detail of the novel. This is definitely one of my books of the year.
It is cold and dank out there but, as usual, T’ai Chi went ahead and cheered us all up. Amongst the growing group, there are now three of us born in 1936. Gossip topics this week were mainly sore backs and Mark’s three-legged rescue greyhound’s difficulties in running around corners. The T’ai Chi was good too!
Praise where it’s due. I went to PC World, Battery Park, Selly Oak and explained my VI difficulties to a very young man who instantly understand and, without being patronising, guided me to the simplest and least expensive printers. It transpired that he had been out of work for some time and had only been there three days. I wish him luck.