Wednesday, 15 December 2010

It Feels Warm at Only -4C but NOT because I'm a mean Scot!

This morning felt warmer, despite the thermometer on the front windowsill reading -4C. It's now almost 10.45am and there's no sign of sunshine, the place is thick with frost, Itsy Bitsy (young Pekin, son of Mrs Splashy) is looking in my livingroom window and the cat's run off with a mini Christmas tree. But it's still milder weather and the water basins weren't frozen solid. I did have to break the ice and thaw the smaller water feeders first thing, but it didn't take a gallon of hot water to do so - thank goodness! The immersion heater costs a fortune to run!
We've no central heating here, only 3 storage heaters, the open fire and, now, the logburner. Oh, and there's a small, wall-mounted fan in the bathroom that occasionally goes on for 10 minutes in the morning to warm the place. With electricity prices soaring, I have the three storage heaters all set on medium heat with no boost. It seems to keep the edge off things but, even at that, we're getting through nearly £25 per week of electricity. This includes one tank of hot water per day. It's a huge drop on last year's closer to £50 during the prolonged sub-zero temperatures when we were iced in for several weeks. Coal prices have, thankfully, stayed steady. We were able to take advantage of the September special, so a neighbour and I went between us for an extra ten bags of coal to get it at £10.50 per bag. One bag lasts me around 10 - 12 days in this weather but we also have logs to account for, so costs soon mount up during freezing temperatures. I haven't had to light the stove in the kitchen yet because I'm now at the computer - laptop in the livingroom, where the fire is lit. Bliss!
Having just read about the rebellion going on in Greece, as a result of their Government's austerity measures, it got me wondering, yet again, about the future. Is it really worth saving cash in the bank in return for their dishing it out left, right and centre, paying ludicrous sums to their executives, lending to failing businesses and all the time they are being propped up by our taxes? After all, we get very little in return for 'lending' it to the bank. Perhaps the students rallying around the country to demonstrate against the UK tax situation maybe right - the UK Government should be looking closer to home to raise what's needed to provide a decent education and health service at the same time as provide an adequate AND FAIR social security system.  Perhaps our demonstrating students will gather support snowball fashion but what would they do if there was NO CASH to lend them in order that they may study?
Does the UK really want to be renowned, the world over, for frugality? Many Scots have been frugal for many years - the proof has been recorded in history. The 'mean' Scot, the 'canny' Scot... take your pick from many others, the world media still portrays us as MEAN. Personally, I prefer the term 'frugal', as there's nobody I know who would see a friend in need nor would they refuse to share their last pound with someone in the same situation. Speaking of which, here comes another frugal Scot for a frugal computer lesson, so I'd best be off... I'm away to analyse the cost of our daily bread and will be back later with the results. :)
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