12 April 2022

Victorian life continued

A while ago, I decided to switch off my boiler. I figured I should be able to heat my house sufficiently with wood. This only works because it is already spring; in the dead of winter I would end up first running around like a maniac keeping the log burners stocked up, while still not having a particularly warm house except for the maximum two rooms that actually have log burners, and then I would probably run out of wood soon. And I made the decision when the weather was good, after which, of course, the weather turned. But I persisted! It is rather cold in the kitchen, as there is no log burner there, and all the heat from the fire on the ground floor goes up. I keep the door of the bedroom closed so it doesn't get any heating. And the office is not warm, but if you have the fire on downstairs, some of the warmth travels up the stairs and at least makes it doable to work in it.

I also tried to reduce my use of drinking water by using the water from my fairly recently installed water butt as much as I can. The plants don't need drinking water, and neither does the loo. I had already been using the water from the dehumidifier to sometimes flush the loo. And I used the water that came out of the shower before it would get warm as well. But since about a year I have been showering cold, so I don't do that anymore. And now that I have a water butt, I can just go outside with a big watering can and grab 10 L of water. I still sometimes flush conventionally, but I am sure I save a lot of drinking water by just using rainwater. 

Altogether I am sure I am now using very little gas (the gas hob still uses it) and little water. But it does mean I have to regularly go to the garage to get a basket of firewood. And I have to regularly go and fetch water from the water butt. It makes me feel quite Victorian! This must have been normal for a long time. Indoor plumbing already existed when my house was built, but I don't think it would have already been available in village like mine. Outside toilets were, as far as I know, still the norm back then. A local source suggests that by the 1850s, plans emerged from getting drinking water, sewers, et cetera to town. The source doesn't mention when these plans were realised. But yes, the earliest inhabitants of my house (built in the 1840s) will have had to lug water in from outside! And I am travelling in their footsteps.

I had also restricted myself to the log burner in the living room. The other room is just less crucial. But when it became weekend I decided to treat myself and light both. Also because I never had, and it seemed just like a missed opportunity! I also had done a round of laundry, and it wasn't the kind of day on which you then hang it out outside with any success, so lighting a fire would help with drying that. So for the first time, they were both burning! It was quite snug. But it did require quite some checking and restocking.

I will have to switch the boiler back on it some point. I will have guests! And what I can do myself I don't necessarily think I can do to other people. But for now I am actually enjoying my old-fashioned life, schlepping wood and water around several times a day. There is something about lighting a fire before breakfast and then having your cereals in front of the crackling flames! But it will be nice when heating isn't necessary at all anymore for a few months. And then I will still have to make a decision about what to do in the long run

Panorama picture of both log burners on at the same time

I had to clean out the stove in the living room... it is clear I burn a lot of building waste

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