It's cold; it's December. The platoons of house elves I employ (in my mind) to care for my home are screaming: "Boiler down, boiler down."
They've been doing it for ages – 13 days ago, I didn't know what to do in such a situation. Now I have tips, five of them and here they are:
1. In the words of Mel and Sue – Bake
Hot pots, roasts, and cakes, I’ve cooked them all while my heating’s been broken. Not because I’ve had an attack of the Nigellas and come over all domestic goddess, but because home cooked food gives you heat twice over.
Once through central eating. And once in residual oven warmth. Post-cooking leave the oven door open, and curse open-plan living.
2. Embrace layering
Heat tech, thermals, several jumpers, all the socks you own – pile them on. I look like I’m trying to cheat the EasyJet carry on rules, or dressing up as a multi-coloured marshmallow man from the Ghostbusters reboot. I take things off to go out.
3. Pretend you’re a granny
Hot water bottles and electric blankets are your friends. Wrap your knees in a rug.
Hug a cup of tea. I’ve even taken to wearing an apron around the house – it’s one more layer.
4. Do not mention the electricity bill
There is one warm room in our house – my study. That’s heated by a plug-in radiator and it has been on 24 hours for the last 13 days. I may as well have lit a fire and thrown money on it.
5. Do not mention the environment
See point four. We may be cold now, but we are going to burn in hell for the damage we’re doing with fossil fuels.
6. Pretend you’re in a Dickens novel.
How romantic is it to snuggle under quilts, and wear fingerless gloves? And don’t forget heating pans of water for your bath.
With a broken boiler you get all the benefits of Victorian living with none of the child poverty.
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