As we have mentioned before Ian is very proud of the wood burning stove we have in our living room, both because he installed it and because it provides us with free heating and cooking potential!
When we say free, we do amazingly mean free, we have not bought a single log for our fire in all the time that we have had it. Whether the wood has been scavenged from skips (of course with the owner’s permission), fallen branches, ripped out of our house during the renovations or donated by Grandpas Gray or Pugh we have managed to power our little stove for absolutely no cost.
This last winter, however, has been a bit of shock to Ian, having a little person to look after he has actually had to put the heating on (low) every night to make sure her little room was warm enough, he has made sure that every other non-essential (basically every one that is not in a bedroom) is switched off. We have a radiator in our kitchen that was put on to test when we first moved in but has not been on since, the theory being that if you are in the kitchen long enough to get cold you must be cooking and therefore will be warmed up that way! The only silver lining to having to pay for heating has been that our bedroom has also been more toasty than normal, we decided that if we are firing up the boiler for one radiator an extra one will not make that much difference!
When we say we have heated the house over the last few years for no cost, we have of course bought firelighters (although even these we have managed to cut back on) and there was once a time when Ian purchased 3 bags of coal for the princely sum of £20. A couple of coal bag donations from Grandad Gray included we have perhaps had six bags of coal in the last three years, but more of that in a second…….
Knowing that Becksie would be home during the day and that with Lizzie about the house would need be nice and toasty for more hours of the day, in the autumn Ian went to great lengths to collect up and chop as much wood as possible, his wood shed bursting to the seams with wood ready to burn. Top up donations and collections of wood have kept the shed ticking over nicely, but we are breathing a sigh of relief that we are getting into the (hopefully) warmer weather as the wood shed is looking very depleted indeed!
Back to the coal; Becksie made a rare foray into Ian’s shed the other day, and there amongst the ‘useful items’ were three and a half large green bags…..
“What’s in those bags Ian? “
“I thought we didn’t have any coal”
“Well we do have some but we don’t want to use it all at once”
“How long have we had that?”
“A couple of years”
It just goes to show that you can perhaps be too frugal!! Wood is now a more valuable commodity in our shed than coal, definitely time to get stockpiling wood for next winter, who knows perhaps Ian might even let us burn a bit of coal to go with it!