With the snow and the sub-zero temperatures this is not a weekend to be without heating and hot water. And yet there I was on Saturday morning, boiling the kettle again and again in a bid to get enough warm water in the bath tub to wash my hair in. It turns out, that as well as making the lack of heating particularly unpleasant, the snow has given Eon an excuse not to come and repair it. This morning I managed to drag myself out from the (only relative) warmth of my duvet just long enough to make a mug of tea and refill my hot water bottle, before hastily retreating back under the covers. I had written the blog post below a few days ago and had planned to take my netbook somewhere with free wifi today in order to post it and also do some necessary internet stuff I’d been saving up. But looking out of the window at the ever increasing amount of snow I really couldn’t face leaving the house. If I was cold under a duvet, why would I want to go outside? I settled instead for reading my book in bed; the blog could wait for another day. Then the electricity went out. Typical, I thought, squinting to read the words on the page. I quickly realised I that needed to get up and brave the elements in search of somewhere warm with electricity and internet access.
Getting ready to go out it struck me how badly designed modern houses really are for living without, or with reduced, power. It was a bright enough day outside and yet because of the small size and ill-advised placement of the windows, I couldn’t really see what I was doing without the lights on. A few simple changes could probably dramatically reduce the need for energy I thought as I struggled to work out which was my toothbrush.
I was pleasantly surprised at the temperature outside, and as I was walking briskly I actually warmed up a bit on my way into town. The first thing I did when I got into the Wethersoon’s pub was go to the bathroom and wash my hands and face with warm water. The second thing I did was wonder if it was too early to start drinking alcohol, but in the end I settled for a tea. Perhaps mistakenly, the first thing I did was set my facebook status to “Kate has had what can only be described as One of Those Weeks, leaving her with no heating, no electricity, and probably no job after January.” [More about the job situation later]. Five minutes later I had a phone call from a concerned friend who I had to reassure that I was okay. In fact, I was feeling happier than I had done in days, weeks even.
Part of this was probably to do with feeling properly warm for the first time in a while. But actually there was something about sitting in a cafe, writing and people watching, that made me feel calm and contented. Removing myself from my usual situation (it was neither my house or the office that I work in) had given me the space and distance to think. I was able to get a bit of perspective on my situation and see it more objectively. I realised that actually I don’t have a lot to worry about. Whatever happens about my job (or my heating) I’ll survive and be laughing about it all in a few months time.
When we got the news that the charity which I work for had lost the source of 60% of it’s income, most of us started to panic. One of my colleagues remarked that every crisis brings with it a lot of opportunity, and that this could actually be a good thing. Nonsense, I thought. How am I going to pay my rent? But actually I think he might have a point. For instance, today I sat in a cafe/pub all morning and had the most amazing cooked breakfast. I never would have been able to justify going out for breakfast if we had heating and power at the house, but it made me feel really good. I probably would have spent the day watching Frasier and Friends repeats on the television and snacking on biscuits. Instead, I’ve had an hours walk, an amazing breakfast and been inspired to write something. So there you go.