Baby it’s cold inside
It does get cold in the south of France
First, let me say that I’m not a fan of winter, at least not cold winter. I’m not a fan of really hot summer weather either but that’s another story. People assume that because I’m Canadian I have a tolerance for, even a love of, cold winter weather. I lived in Toronto, it’s not exactly the frozen north. I wasn’t a fan of winter there either.
Wind chill of -13
My Canadian friends are just as bad. When I say how cold it is here they say "that’s nothing, it’s minus a million here" Maybe. But I live in a partly renovated stone cottage with minimal insulation and no central heating.
Right now, at 8.30 am, it’s -5 with a wind chill factor of -13. Until about 2 minutes ago the wind was howling outside. I’m sitting at my desk looking like the Michelin man does Bob Cratchit, layer on layer of clothes, a scarf, and my fingerless gloves. Very appealing look.
Heating the house
It’s a challenge heating the house. Both levels are very open. The only ‘room’ that can be closed off is the bathroom but I can’t spend all my time in there.
Because this was a worker’s cottage the ground floor was used for tool and equipment storage and the first floor was for living. It means that the cheminee – the big traditional fireplace – is on the first floor. It makes for a charming bedroom but it also means I have to carry wood upstairs. My three week flu experience has left me with not a lot of energy and carry wood just doesn’t seem to be an option. and, one of my cats – who hates the cold too – peed in the fireplace so I can’t make a fire until I scrub. (I bought him a litter box yesterday)
So I use space heaters. Other than a fan heater – I hate fan heaters – I think there’s a representative of every variety of space heater in the house.
Various space heaters
In the bathroom and the bedroom I have portable electric oil filled radiators. Very effective in the bathroom but not so effective in the bedroom because of the high ceilings and open space. I also have a mattress heater, it’s like a giant heating pad.
In the office I have a halogen heater. It looks like a rotating pillar fan and has a halogen tube that provides the heat. I’m sure it uses far too much electricity but it is fairly effective.
Downstairs, at the front of the house, I have a petrol -paraffin – heater. It’s pretty good, only smells when you light it or extinguish it, but the radius it heats diminishes as the temperature drops.
At the back, in the kitchen I have an electric convection heater. Also fairly effective but the radius of heat also diminishes as the temperature drops.
Shutters and curtains
Downstairs I have shutters on the front door and window and curtains on both. If it’s a sunny day I keep them open – trying for passive solar heat – until the sun leaves the front of the house. On cloudy cold days I leave them closed and don’t spend any time downstairs because It’s so dark.
It’s supposed to start warming up today and be 10 by Tuesday. For today I’m going to go back to bed, warm up, and then maybe go to Spain for the day. It’s supposed to be 10 in Figueres.