Thursday, 26 May 2016
Preparing for winter.
When we moved in, we set up a housekeeping account which we use for any house related income and outgoings. One of the unknowns that I try to budget for is heating oil. Each month we put away £125, ready to fill the tank when we need to. It also pays for our coal. The amount we have left in the tank, we’re hoping, will last us until the end of August and then the money we’ve saved will buy us 1000 litres of oil and also another car full of coal. This is the start of our preparing for winter.We have log burners which we use as a heating source for the main house, but they aren’t linked to the central heating system so they only warm the room they’re in, plus a bit of escape heat into the corridors. Our heating in the new house isn’t great, it merely takes the chill off and given that our house is 100’s of years old, it’s glacial inside during Winter, so taking the chill off simply brings it up to a zero temperature opposed to a positive temperature (or so it feels like). Therefore I begrudge putting the heating on as I don’t think we’re benefitting enough from the amount of oil we’re using. We do however have the Aga which is on constantly and heats the kitchen so it is lovely and toasty. We’ve taken the decision not to turn it off for the summer. We use the two plates on the top to dry a multitude of clothes, boil the kettle and keep it warm, toast our bread, cook our eggs, plus use the main ovens for all of our meals. At present, with oil prices being so low when we last bought oil in January, this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, however if oil prices go back up to their sky high 50p+ a litre then we would switch it off over the summer. Maybe.
Another expense of the Aga is to get it serviced twice a year. Now I don’t know if this is overkill, but that’s what we were advised. It’s an old solid fuel conversion which now runs on the oil and it’s circa 45 years old so I want to take good care of it. The service is £80 a time *gulp*.
In other planning ahead news, we’re having a housewarming party now the main jobs are done and the weather is being kinder to us. We’re combining this with my son’s 6th birthday which has resulted in catering for around 100 guests! I am really looking forward to it but by the same token must plan, plan, plan. I’ve been good and accepted all help where it’s been offered, from bringing food & drink, to coming to help set up the night before and also an offer of a gazeebo to be prepared for the weather, umbrellas, tables for food and so on. We have some lovely, helpful friends which we would struggle without, so thumbs up for them!
Throwing a party means that this month’s grocery budget will be stretched out to cater for everything, however I think we can do it and I love a good challenge (plus it’s 'Bring your own boose' so that expense is gone straight away!).
Finally for today, dare I say this, once we’ve had the party, I shall be planning for Christmas. Now don’t shoot me, I love Christmas. However this year is obviously hugely important as it’s our first Christmas in the new home. We’re inviting all of our family over who want to come and I’ll do a traditional Christmas lunch for everyone, play games, have family time, drink mulled wine and generally enjoy how blessed we are. I would like December to be full of Christmas cheer and that does not include stressing over cards, gifts and food. I would like to do a get together/open house for the neighbours and some close friends but I need to think about how I’d manage that to keep numbers down, where do you draw the line!?