All of us are suddenly reminded of existential matters. Have we got enough food in? Enough fuel? Is the heating working alright? Can we afford the extra money we have to spend heating our houses?
We've spent time and money in the last few years making sure our insulation is up to standard. We continue to reduce our carbon emissions. Warm Front loft insulation. No double-glazing yet. Due to the age of our house, the damp course had broken down so we had to prioritise spending on an air-brick damp-proofing system. It takes at least six months to kick in and until it does, we're limited in what we can do in the house.
We investigated solar power to replace our boiler, but we don't have a water tank in the loft so a system like Solar Twin is not feasible for us at the moment. We installed an A-rated energy efficient Worcester boiler five years ago. Our chimney is not big enough for a wood-burner so we still have our coal fire too. A great comfort in this weather - it is helping the house to dry out - but as far as carbon emissions are concerned, of course we're going to have to get rid of it at some point. Not this year though, we've missed our (finance and tolerance level) window to get the work done. I'm secretly glad as it is so cheery right now. But coal deliveries are to say the least, uncertain at the moment. I'm comforted that we have several possible sources of of heating.
A journey to the local shops has been difficult here. The pavements were frozen for a long time and even in Doc Martens you're risking a broken arm or wrist if you fall. (And I did - thankfully not serious). These issues are particularly critical if you have a disability. Buses in to town were never very reliable but at least the main roads to town are cleared and you see buses now.