Winter joy

It’s strange the things you find to fill your days, the things you find yourself not just doing, but thinking about. Despite the fact that they say that those with MS, have huge issues with heat, I personally, also have huge issues with the cold. For some reason, this winter seems to be hitting me badly, which with a limited budget, means I find myself sitting freezing and too worried about the bills, to do anything about it. It’s rare for it to be this cold so early in the winter, we actually had our first snow the other night, something we don’t normally see before the middle of January. I know for a fact that the sudden change will be without a doubt making me feel it more accurately, but I am laired up with clothes and huddled under my sleeping bag all day long, and still freezing. At the moment, I am wearing my underwear, two pairs of socks, my trousers, a top, three thin cardigans, as thin layers are supposed to be better than thick, the sleeping bag open (safer for standing then having it zipped up) but scrunched into folds around my legs and feet and I am still cold. I don’t know why, but despite sitting in a draft free area, it is my back and my legs that are always the coldest. I have found myself reluctantly turning on the fire in the living room but counting the minutes in fear of the bills, then turning it off again within the hour, still feeling almost as cold as I was before I lit it. I know there has to be an answer, so I set too, thinking about what was needed and how to go about it.

We don’t have central heating, at least not in the way most people think of it. Ours is slightly odd to most but until this year, has been more than ample. We have one storage heater that is in the hallway and if you leave all the doors open, for normal people, it is more than sufficient to heat the entire house. I don’t have a thermometer any longer, but I used to check it closely and we normally have a temperature of 62 degrees throughout, of course, that bit higher in the hall. Over the last few years, we have improved and improved the insulation levels where ever possible and plugged every possible draft, so it should actually be warmer now than it was back then, it’s just I don’t feel it that way. Without a doubt, the worse my mobility has become, the colder I am finding each winter, so now that I hardly move at all, well-being cold isn’t really a surprise. Unfortunately, knowledge doesn’t keep you warm, but I am hopeful that having an active brain, just might.

Clearly, the problem is the fact that we have just one heat sources and that that heat source isn’t mobile. The problem was clear, I had to find a way of moving that heat to where I am sat here behind my desk. I built my desk many years ago, well built, makes it sound as though I started from scratch I didn’t, what I did was far more an alteration of purpose. I had two tables that were the perfect height to work at, both had a shelf half way down, so I removed one and placed them together in an “L” shape. Then I made a new top from pine for them that joined to two together in a way that means they can’t come apart. I then also out of pine, boxed them in along the longest side and what would be the top of the “L”, created a small shelf at the top of the “L” on the inside and waxed the entire thing to make it match the pine throughout the house. My desk along with some bookshelves sits within an alcove at the back of our living room that is raised by about 8 inches, above the rest of the room, forming a workspace that is still part of the room, but separate in feeling. So there is my problem, how to heat this area and keep the heat here, despite the fact that ceiling is 15 feet above me, and there isn’t a wall to stop the heat leaving.

The answer is actually very simple and almost free. So far I have spent only £11 and I’m hopeful I will be wonderfully warm in the very near future. I have bought one of those space blankets, not to wear, but to line the inside of the box-shaped by my desk and the wall and within which I sit. This once stapled in place, will stop as much heat as possible from escaping, they claim to capture 70% of the heat, so hears hoping that is correct. Next, I have bought a large metal tin/box, which will hold a couple of bricks and some sand to fill any gaps. I already own one of those food warmers you might have seen in restaurants which have a couple of tea light candles placed within to keep the food warm. I intend to place the tin and it’s contents on top of the storage heater at night so that it pick up and stores any escaping heat. During the day, I am going to light the tea lights and place them, with the tin on top, on the shelf under the base leg of “L” shaped desk, the candles will help to add more heat, while it radiates its stored heat, into my isolated area. Voila, free heat for the rest of the winter.

I haven’t stopped there, as once I thought of that one, I also came up with a way of getting hot food on the two days that I don’t have help to cook my lunch. I know we don’t think of storage heater as giving out enough food to cook, but they do give out enough to warm. Yesterday, I warmed up to eating temperature a sachet of lentils and salmon and a tin of soup, both safely and to a temperature that made me feel good inside. It doesn’t take much work, just putting a dish with the closed sachet inside, a mug and the tin all on top of the heater, with a hood of tin foil to trap even more heat. After an hour, I shook the tin to mix the heat through, and an hour later, carried it all still sealed and safely on my lap to my desk, where I served up and ate my lunch. As it gets nowhere near boiling there is no danger of the can bursting, but it’s hot enough to be both pleasant and warming. Both the cooker and the microwave are dangerous for me to use these days, not to mention the danger of carrying hot food around the house, and on top of all of that, this is free.

Yes, I am feeling somewhat smug about my ideas, as you get so used to feeling totally useless, that coming up with something that is easy to do and so practical, has been a personal boost. It also proves that despite being a physical wreck and outwardly a gibbering idiot, my brain is still active within its stupid shell. I’m still trying to work out what there is about all of it that Adam doesn’t like, as any time I have mentioned what I am doing, he is distinctly silent about it, in a way that says he doesn’t like it. When I ask him, he still says nothing but hasn’t shown approval towards any of it, in any way what so ever. I’m just hopeful that once I find some warmth again, I will stop hiding in my bed and will feel just that bit more able to do things again. Being this cold has the effect of making me want to stay silent, still and even preferably asleep.


Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 12/11/2014 – Frustration

I know it is totally my own fault and climbing onto my stool and the the worktop, were clearly something I shouldn’t have done on Monday, but my body is really making me pay for it. I don’t know why I was so determined to fix those stupid curtains, it’s not like it hadn’t already waited several months to be fixed, but I was just seeing red and was determined that one from the list of small……