Friday, November 17, 2006


Our new boiler is still in its cardboard container. It isn't hooked up to the radiators that we bought and are on the walls. We were hoping that the heating system would be all connected and pressure tested in August.

Based on the above happening, we knocked that hole through the front room, connecting the extension with the rest of the house. It is now mid-November, the door that should be in the new doorway isn't there and the heating system is still in non-functioning pieces.

It was about 50 F in the house when I got home from work.

I promptly lit the fire in the new stove out in the extension, lit the open fire here by the computer and tended to the fire in the stove that was ticking away while we were out.

The radiators are now all going but nothing is making a dent in the cold just yet. MAN! I can't wait for this to be finished!

We've actually been colder than this before.

When we first bought Whitelees, we though we would die of exposure in the house that first winter.

It was a hard winter. We didn't realize how crap the windows would be at keeping the weather out. The houseplants that didn't die from frost damage had their leaves flapping in the draught. There was frost on the inside of those bad windows too. The olive oil went cloudy in the kitchen cupboard and the dishwashing soap jelled up. I used to have to warm up the soap in the dishwater to get it to a squirting consistency. My mother visited us that first winter. She said that she had never been so cold IN a house before. She keeps her house cool by choice, but that was outrageous!

After surviving that first winter, we got all new windows around the entire house. Henry's mother (God rest her soul) paid for these new windows.

The next winter was bearable. We weren't quite as cold but nobody could say that we were warm. The following spring was when we installed cavity wall insulation around the house and we were set, good double glazed windows combined with extra insulation!

Winters following, we stayed pretty warm. As long as the coal fire in the stove doesn't go out, the radiators stayed warm. I am a master at banking up a coal fire so that it is still alive in the morning. All I have to do is shake the ash down a bit, add more coal, open the flu a bit and we're away.

The old coal stove runs six radiators and heats the domestic hot water. It doesn't do this with any great efficiency any more. Its old. We knew that the added burden of 100% more living space was going to be more than our old system could take. This is being confirmed by the fact that we are freezing!

We try to keep the doors closed to the un-needed part of the house and conserve the heat in the areas where we are.


Now that I've been home a couple of hours, and the fires I lit have had a chance to bite into the cold in the house, the thermometer says that it is 60 F in the hallway. I can live with that.


Kell said...

I'm shivering just reading this post! I would freeze there because I have no idea how to keep a coal stove lit. I can't even get a fire going because every fireplace we've had had a gas starter. Spoiled, I'm very spoiled.

Peggy said...

Kell - if you got this cold, you'd get good at lighting fires and keeping them going very quickly. The fact that you have to go outside to get kindling is a very good incentive to keeping the bastard thing lit!

claude said...

I don't know how you can live with it! I fear being cold just like I fear being too hot.
I agree with Kell, I too am spoiled.h

Bob said...

Check Joes blog out he's further up than you and had snow today.

Tink said...

You make me feel like a complete wuss. I get the shivers if it drops below 70. Oy.

Peggy said...

There is snow in the highlands! (Thanks for the lead on that one Bob) I actually love snow. I can't get enough of the stuff. Sadly however, we just have sleet.

Tink, you'd never survive in Scotland. Only visit in July/August. It has been know to stay in the 70's for entire weeks then!

Xtreme English said...

ah yes, your first winter....after the first hour in your place, i asked where the nearest used clothing store was, and we took a quick trip to oxfam in lockerbie (?). i bought three sweaters for a pound apiece, put them all on in the shop, and wore them day and night. i did not take them off except to take a shower until i got back to the good old overheated u.s. of a. Bless Vickie indeed for the new windows all around. your house was enchanting, despite the cold. as it says in macbeth, "the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses." or something like that. sweet, fresh air, sweet family--wee george was maybe 18 months old? "Do you want more juice, George?" "Aye."--sweet neighbors and friends. i remember sitting in the back room by a roaring fire looking through seed catalogues with you and sharing a jar or two of the famous grouse.

Peggy said...

Yes indeed! There is a darned good REASON why whiskey was invented here! Survival!