Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Musings on health, heating and frugality

Tues 23 December 2014

2 degrees

Had trouble sleeping last night as my head was cold.  The floors of our farmhouse are also the ceilings and because no fire was lit in the front room last night, my bedroom didn't get heated.  Spent night wrestling with sheets and pillows and trying to keep my nose warm.

Awoke to sparking silver landscape - so rare now to see for us.  A fine fingernail of moon hung on the tiniest of rouged cloudlets.  Sky the palest of blues.  Windows running with wet.

When the technician came to take the readings for the diagnostic reports, he asked how many stères of wood (one stère is a cubic metre) and couldn't believe it when we said about six.  He said he couldn't possibly prepare a Diagnostic Performance Energetique showing that consumption because it would indicate that the house was thermally efficient, which is it manifestly not.  Our DPE report is therefore vièrge which means no readings could be taken or not enough information available.  The technician said a French couple would easily burn their way through twelve stères during an average year.

Both OH and I come from families where you don't put the heating on until your nose is about to drop off.  I have never known a French family who subscribe to this view point.  Perhaps it is a Northern England thing too.  It is certainly an old persons thing but that is another kettle of fish.  We had not anticipated, on leaving chilly England, that you would need to do much heating at all.  We tend to light the wood burning stove in the front room between November and April and have the upstairs electric heaters on for a brief period before going to bed.  Beds are heaped up with duvets like the Princess and the Pea and there is always the two nighties option.  OH has already started wearing a bonnet but his room is significantly colder.

There is a French version of an Aga in the kitchen diner and this is lit for perhaps a couple of weeks a year when the weather is exceptionally cold - and I am talking under 10 degrees in the house.  When we bought the house, there was only one source of heat and that was an open fire in the front room.  The previous owners (all one family) must have spent the winters of all their lives in front of that fire, when they weren't out looking after the livestock.

OH has developed a pathological dislike of wood burning stoves and says in our next home, there will be no more wood burning.  I love a fire and will continue to have one.  I am however,sick of renovation and would dearly love to build something brand new with everything that works and no painting or fixing needed.  Somewhere with huge plate glass windows and views right over the sea.  A huge kitchen with an island and a massive Swedish style hanging wood burning stove.  And an aquarium wall with shoals of tiny flashing fish and huge brightly coloured ones like diving bells.  And people to look after the shopping, cleaning, washing and lists.  A list free life - free of annoying things that pop up into your head when you are trying to enjoy yourself.  I could give lists to these people and then stop thinking about them myself!!  I am at the moment, the permanent receiver of lists.  Lists are bastards - probably reason why I am feeling so good at the minute is that I have had list free week.  OH loves giving me lists and they always fill an A4 sheet.  How can they always fill an A4 sheet?

The morning's activities included going to the Radiology Centre for OH prostate scan.  Suffice to say it wasn't pleasant for all involved and he made an inordinate amount of fuss about it.  If men were in charge of reproduction of the human race, they would have figured out another way of producing live human beings.

Went to lovely tea rooms in town and was enjoying lovely cup of coffee and chocolate cake (OH had gone into other nearby town to get fuel) when WF rung to say that his interview WAS on the 27th so he could not get to SILs house and would be on his own at Christmas. Told him to ask his friends nearby if he could go and stay with them over Christmas but I bet he won't.  OH reappeared and told WF to prepare and they would do mock interview over Skype tomorrow.  Felt sad.

Went into nearby town myself in the afternoon as had been promised free diary and calendar by an insurance agency with whom I work.  Turned out to be pocket diary.  Lady told me that WF should make up experience on his CV as that was the only way her son managed to get his first job.  French people never ask for references interestingly.  She was surprised to learn that Brits inevitably do.  Bought myself a lovely craft book and did some ordinary shopping.  The supermarket was absolutely heaving and there were some very unhappy children screaming their way around the aisles.

OH made delicious prawn and mussel dish with ginger and chili.  Yum.

Have just discovered Inkscape vector graphics programme so spent hour watching Youtube videos.  Very interesting and not too difficult.