I thought I was tough

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 27th November 2013

Brora fingerless glovesI’m sure it isn’t normal to be sitting at my desk in coat, scarf and my favourite Brora fingerless gloves. But with Arctic-like temperatures and the windows of our Victorian house rattling alarmingly, it’s the only way to keep warm. The ancient radiators come on at four pm but they are fighting a losing battle. To put it bluntly they don’t heat the place up at all.

Up until now I’d always prided myself on being tough. I mean, for three years we lived in a north-facing farmhouse in the shadow of Lancashire’s Pendle Hill with no central heating at all and I coped absolutely fine.

It was the first house my son lived in – which is probably why he’s happy to brave the outdoors in all weathers on his bike. Our only heating was a coal-fired Rayburn that burned so much fuel that we could never leave home for more than three hours at a time. If we did, the Rayburn sulked and went out, meaning that we were not only freezing but we couldn’t cook supper either.

So despite my northern roots I’m clearly turning soft. We are living on the south coast, for goodness sake, which is positively balmy compared to the rest of the country.

I’m not the only one either. When my daughter came home for the weekend with a university essay to write she took to working in the kitchen with two hot water bottles on her lap. Even my husband puts on two jumpers and two pairs of socks the moment he gets home. Neither of us look stylish but it’s the only way to keep warm…

PS. Full marks to the judges of the 2013 Costa Novel Award. I’ve read two of the shortlisted books, Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life and Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave, and loved them both. Now I can’t wait to read the other two contenders, Unexpected Lessons in Love by Bernardine Bishop and All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld.

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