Hmm. I’m pretty sure that it was barely yesterday that we took delivery of three cubic metres of wood which we hoped would – along with the wood we’d gathered ourselves – not just last us out the winter but also give us some spare. How naive we were. It turns out that once you’ve got the woodburner going most of the time and have got used to such luxuries as not being miserably cold most of the time, the wood just sort of melts away. We’ve still got one stack of wood – which is outside under a tarp to try and get it a bit dryer as, when it comes to buying firewood there’s ‘seasoned’ hardwood, and then there’s actual seasoned hardwood, which – like the fabled towers of Shangri-la – is often talked about but very rarely available for purchase. At the present rate of progress, it’s not going to last us that long so we’ve just bought and stacked another trailer-load which ideally we’d be burning in October but I suspect we’ll dip into before spring fully arrives.
Part of the problem, paradoxically, is that the winter has so far been mild enough that what with the Rayburn going as well, we still haven’t really used the central heating this winter so the stove has been our primary source of heating. This should mean that the total cost of heating this year is much lower than before we got the stove (and for a much warmer house, or at least sitting room) but it does raise the question of when do we turn the heating on at all. Last year we didn’t run it at all in the evening, but we did in the mornings because it’s just no fun showering in a bathroom cold enough to generate its own bank of freezing fog. This year we’ve had to make a decision on a case by case basis. At first I thought that if it dropped below freezing outside we’d probably want the heating on but actually we’ve survived a few frosty nights without suffering too much. This morning, though, it was -5°C when we got up and we decided it was time to burn some oil. The conditions in the bathroom suggested a fairly simple ‘should we turn the heating on’ algorithm we can use: if there’s ice on the inside of the windows when we wake up? The heating goes on.