Well have you? Have the dark nights and frosty mornings prompted you to light the fire or turn on the central heating? Or, like me, are you still stubbornly refusing to give in to the chill and simply donning extra clothes and digging out that trusty old hot water bottle? - Although in our case 'trusty' isn't the word as 'old faithful' sprung a leak a few nights ago when hubby was using it to ease his back pain (thankfully it was wrapped in a towel at the time, preventing him from being scalded by the hot water) and we've had to invest in a new one this week.
Throughout October, as it began to get colder and the evenings became quite chilly, I adamantly insisted I wasn't putting the central heating on (our only form of heat) until the calendar turned the page and November was well and truly here. Of course with November's arrival I moved the goal posts, scared by the rising gas prices, and vowed it wasn't going on until December. When December rolls around who knows.... will I be brave (or daft) enough to say lets wait until January?
To be honest with you I haven't been cold. Not really. Chilly, yes, but not properly cold. I certainly haven't sat here shivering of an evening and once I'm in bed, snuggled up under the duvet I'm actually quite cosy. My husband's felt the cold more, but I invested in a £3 fleecy throw from ASDA and since he's had that to tuck around his legs, or even sometimes wrap around his shoulders like a big cosy shawl, he's been as warm as toast. It's certainly proved cheaper than feeding the hungry gas meter. I think I'll get another one.
We close the curtains as soon as it starts to get dark, keeping as much heat into our south facing lounge as possible, and have a draft excluder at the door. We focus on keeping that one room as warm as we can. We both have thermals from our working days. I worked outdoors all the time and quickly learnt the trick of layering, and hubby often had to work outdoors too so we invested in decent thermal garments because a) we could afford to and b) they were worth their weight in gold. They still are. We haven't worn them much yet, we'll appreciate them much more when the temperature really drops.
Early nights and late mornings are another way we stay warm. That's not as lazy as staying in bed late sounds, honest, although it feels quite decadent sometimes. Emails, letters, sewing projects etc can all be done just as easily in bed and warm under the duvet as they can up and about and shivering in a chair. Winter just means a bit of a rethink of our routines. I might not like doing things this way but I know when we finally have to give in and start putting extra money on the gas meter that money has got to come from somewhere, and the thing most likely to be hit is the food budget. I'd rather not do that, so I'll use every trick in the book to keep us warm for as long as possible without increasing the gas company's profits.
I'll often go for a brisk walk if I'm starting to feel the chill, up the hill to the cliffs and back is enough to warm me up for ages. It's just a shame that isn't an option for my husband too. I'd love to be able to go for a long walk with him but he can't manage it at a pace to warm him up and the pain is just too much when it's cold and damp.
I haven't yet resorted to wearing gloves and hats around the flat, but there's a first time for everything. I'm not ruling anything out.