Two greatest inventions of the last century: Antibiotics and CENTRAL HEATING.
Ours has stopped. For two weeks it was half on, and for the last week it has been totally and unutterably OFF.
How the hell did people cope before radiators? Our house is a windtunnel at the best of times (please, Santa, double glazing, please please please) but without any heating or hot water it has become igloo-esque.
Yes, yes we are all wearing triple layers of clothing – vests under t-shirts under jumpers, tights under trousers (not my husband. I don’t think anyway). But this is HORRIBLE. You feel bundled up, restricted and uncomfortable, and any kind of mild exertion leaves you itchy with sweat – and still cold.
And yes, of course we have portable heaters, and they are rubbish. They have two settings: Lukewarm and off.
The real misery is walking out of a relatively warm room into an icy blast, or waking up to a frozen bedroom and braving a sub-zero bathroom.
So we have been going out a lot and absorbing the warmth from shops and cafes in the hope of somehow radiating it out again when we get home. But there are few things more dreary than coming in from a grey December day to an even greyer house.
You can’t dry anything, so towels stay damp and flannels continue to drip. I put the washing on top of the dishwasher to try and air it (we haven’t yet all gathered around the dishwasher to soak up the escaping hot steam, but it is only a matter of time).
Things feel cold that never usually feel cold: the bannisters, cutlery, soap, the dog.
Something happens to a house when there is no heat. The air gets very still, presumably because there are no warm air currents **science face**. It starts to feel unoccupied and unfriendly, malevolent even…
You lose your energy, you become stiff with sitting hunched up, you try not to move from room to room, you feel the dark roots of depression start to sink into your psyche, like fungal spores slowly spreading.
Only the demigod that is the heating engineer can save me from this icy abyss.