I love snow. Really love it. But only in the appropriate places: The Arctic or The Alps, for example.
A place for everything, they say, and everything in its place. North Dorset, indeed anywhere south of Cumbria, frankly, is not its place.
I hate the disruption to the routines of our lives. I hate the tense drive to work on untreated, rural roads. I hate the general state of anxiety misplaced snow induces in me and in the national consciousness.
And I really, really hate the cold.
Outside right now it’s -4C. That’s just ever so slightly warmer than it is in Vladivostok today. The Russians, however, know how to dress for negative temperatures.
They drape themselves in raccoons, foxes, minks and rabbits for starters, pull on their Cossack boots and top it all off with a fur ushanka. (That’s a hat with ear flaps, in case your Russian is a bit rusty.)
We don’t do actual fur, Cossacks or ushankas in this house, so I’m having to make do with the bobble hat I bought for a fancy dress party, my husband’s walking socks and a pair of recycled cashmere fingerless gloves.
Think Steptoe, but with better teeth.
I have a hot water bottle and the dog on my lap. I am thanking the stars that we finally put in a new boiler last autumn.
As much as it pains me to pay upwards of £5000 on an unseen heating system, it has changed my life.
Before the new, efficient boiler, we had an old, inefficient one. It didn’t have a timer on it, so we had to switch it on manually.
Which meant getting up in the cold, putting it on and going to work just as the thermostat hit ‘tolerable.’
We had a separate immersion heater on all day for hot water, racking up huge electricity bills. And yet there never was enough hot water.
One bath and that was it for the next two hours. Bitter recriminations were brought against members of the family who’d thoughtlessly bathed themselves without first signing it off with the rest of us.
I love my new boiler. My electricity bills have dropped by 59% per month. There is always enough hot water.
I have always been a lover of heat.
As a child, while other kids pulled on their wellies and rushed out to splash in the rain or tear around the playground trying to take off in strong winds, I clamped myself to the nearest radiator and read books or talked to the class gerbils.
I have always gravitated to heat sources.
In 1978, before it became fashionable, my parents bought a ‘project.’ But my mum was no Sarah Beeny and my dad was already working two jobs so the whole renovation took ten years.
For most of those ten years we had icicles on the inside of the windows from November ’til March.
By the time we had carpet and heating throughout, I’d gone to university.
In the place of an actual central heating system we had two lap dogs and a variety of heaters. Some of them had two bars, others three, though not all were guaranteed to work.
And then there was the blow heater.
How I loved my blow heater.
I could sit for hours in a beanbag positioned directly in front of that thing, the hot air blowing up my skirt.
Sometimes it would overheat and switch itself off.
Sometimes I would doze off.
One time I dozed off and it melted my Rubik’s Snake (ha! Deal with that one, Freud!)
I realise, I have been waiting all my life for my new boiler.
I want to invite my friends round to marvel at it. I’ve spent more money on it after all, than on anything else in the house.
“Let me show you my hot boiler,” sounds a bit predatory in 2018 though.