“Shit” I whisper through chattering teeth. “Shititscold”. I’ve taken an afternoon nap and reckoned on the heating having come on when I awoke. Which it hasn’t. This leaves me currently hopping from one foot to the other, pulling my socks off the radiator (which is still cold), in a tangle of limbs and hair and 20 layers of jumpers, all still sadly un pre-warmed by the radiator, and instead infused by a specific type of smug leaden iciness.
I turf the cat off the spare bed and steal the blanket, throwing it over my head like a multicoloured woolly batman cape and dramatically swoosh down the stairs, still shivering. The cat, unimpressed, responds by jumping back into the exact same spot, now invitingly free of blanket, and proceeds to shed a thousand black cat hairs onto the previously clean, white duvet cover.
“Shit”. This is my expletive of choice for situations where the temperature of my wonky old house is below the temperature outdoors, which is usually daily during the winter. Being a jumbly cottage with a sad lack of insulation, our kitchen averages a balmy seasonal temperature of between 4 and 9 degrees celsius. (It sometimes gets up to 15C with the heating on all day!) 20 jumpers indeed. We go out in the snow to warm up! I flick the kettle on, direct a vague mind-meld at it to get it to boil quicker, and do a strange sort of hopping dance around the kitchen whilst attempting to find foodstuffs which are a) quick and b) meltingly hot. Failing in this, I shove 2 slices of toast in and swear at them to hurry up and get warm.
The heating comes on.
I direct a full on ‘evil stare’ in the general direction of the boiler and brave the fridge to chug a splodge of milk into my earl grey.
Still covered in cat blanket and dwarfed by old fishing jumpers, I head upstairs, figuring heat rises so it must be the best place to nest for a bit. I wrap my fingers around the mug and sip the tea, blisteringly hot, and scoff down the toast, which is invitingly slathered in peanut butter and jam. This, by the way, is the best, ultimate, and forever winner when it comes to toast toppings.
I feel a tendril of heat start to thread into my fingers and my muscles begin to relax. The shivers subside. I breathe in the fragrant wisps of steam from the old mug, and I smile. I’m warm. I’m happy.