Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Here's a thing I don't recommend - having your central heating pack up just as the temperature starts plunging towards zero. Having behaved eccentrically for some while, our system finally gave up in the middle of last week, and (I'll spare you the details of the ensuing saga) was still out of action yesterday. Only one room of the house could be effectively heated, by means of a ferociously effective Chinese log-effect fire, and the rest of the draughty old place was probably a touch colder than the inside of the fridge. As the laptop lives in a now unheated room, there was no question of blogging or any such activity yesterday - not only were my fingers not working, but my brain too seemed to have succumbed. I had forgotten how numbing in every way deep, persistent cold is - it makes everything, physical and mental, fainter, more distant, more sluggish, so that the mind barely functions, and can think of little but the quest for warmth. The only cure - as to so many things - was to take a walk. A brisk march out to a local bird reserve in the making - gravel pits which are not yet worked out - got the chi, as well as the blood, flowing, and temporarily restored my spirits with its glimpses of watery, wintry beauty - the sky in the water, the distant trees, the crows mustering to roost as the light faded. I returned to the icebox house heartened and cheered and indeed feeling properly warm for the first time. Sadly, this did not last... However, the good news is that today, at last, the heating has been fixed. I'll never take it for granted again. Well, I shall of course, but I know I shouldn't.