February 26, 2013 by Sian Rowland
Is it me or do we seem to have entered a new ice age? It’s so cold that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has just been airlifted out of my garden suffering from frostbite and urban penguins have kicked out the local foxes.
I’ve been working from home a lot since the beginning of the year which I love but it’s flipping cold. This time last year I was school-based for three days a week and mostly working outside of home for the other two. Schools tend to have very special boilers that have two settings: nuclear fission and off so you’re either sweltering in short sleeves with all the windows open as the radiators blast out enough heat to bathe the building in a Ready Brek glow or your teeth chatter as you take the register. If it’s the latter the teachers will bombard the site manager with so many complaints that they will have to feed the boiler beast and promise never to switch it off again until the summer holidays begin.
At home however, we have a rule for the heating- if there is only one of us in the house during the day, the heating goes off as we just can’t afford the ridiculously high gas bills and it’s silly heating the whole house. I either work from the living room where we have a gas fire or my usual desk with a plug in heater but I have some tips for keeping warm in while the Beast from the East rages outside.
1) Wear more clothes. I’m bored of wearing jumpers and long for days where I can dress in fewer than seventeen layers but needs must. Wear several thinner layers topped by a big woolly cardi and top with a scarf. It it’s really cold, stick on a hat and convince yourself it’s trendy. While you’re at it, invest in some Bob Cratchit fingerless gloves. It’s not sexy or cool but neither is frostbite.
2) Keep moving. The trouble with writing at the computer is that it’s sedentary and freezing. Cleaning the windows works up a good internal heat that lasts for a couple of hours so grab some newspaper and a stepladder and get shining. Think of the bingo wings being wibbled into submission too. Talking of which, when it’s too cold to evens to step outside the front door for a bit of outdoor activity, push back the coffee table, dust off the trainers and do a living room workout. I like to think I’m keeping fit, burning off some calories and working up some heat. I record programmes from Fitness TV and power lunge my way around the room while some shouty instructor asks if I’m feeling the burn yet.
3) Shut the doors. When looking online for some staying warm tips I actually came across this advice. Check the doors and windows in your house, it suggested, and make sure they’re closed. So that’s why I was cold- the windows in the west wing have been open since October. Sheesh. No, shut the internal doors to provide a bit of a buffer and keep what little heat there is wandering off somewhere else.
4) Warm feet. Having looked down my nose at people who walk around wearing Ugg boots in public I’ve given in and bought a pair of furry boots. They’re not Uggs, I’m not that stupid (or rich), they’re cut price sheepskin boots from TK Maxx but they do the job, I admit it. They’re really warm and cosy. I don’t wear them in public though- they’re slippers for goodness sake.
5) Wear fleece. Again, not attractive but warm. Dig out an old fleece and stick it over your seventeen layers. If someone calls round then you can pretend you’ve just been working out. See point 2. If someone calls round and you’re wearing a fleece, scarf, gloves and hat just say you’ve been helping them airlift Sir Ranulph out of your back garden.
Ok spring I think I’m ready for you now.