Thursday, 4 December 2008

Coldness ensues.

The dog is a very weird creature, he loves nothing more than chomping through a bowl of ice cubes. We have been known to sacrifice perfectly good G&T destined ice cubes to satiate his habit but the recent cold snap now means that he now has the monopoly on what is a very scarce resource. With glee he will toy with his newly frozen water bowl, taunting it with his nose as the dawn light emerges, daring it resist his attentions.

TLB and I of course have very few options when it comes to ice, we can buy it in bags only to see it dwindle away into slush or we could in theory leave a tray of water out overnight to freeze in the arctic cold that has befallen us. Sadly we are not that organised, though even if we were it would have melted away by the time the sun has passed the yard arm and we were actually allowed to have a booze. So it remains that the dog, each morning will wake up and check his bowl for ice, carefully removing it and then settling down to crunch his way through the cold morsels.

We have not yet gotten to the point where his bowl will freeze inside the tent which is most fortunate as I am not sure I would like my night time drooling to freeze on the pillow and rouse me from my sleep with a jump when I find it breaching the borders of my ear. We have employed a gas heater to subsidise the heat from the stove, not because it is vital but because it is nice to be able to relax without having to huddle too close to the fire.

The quality of wood has become of increasing importance, where before we could get away with slow burning wood, the variance in the combustibility of wood from local wood suppliers has become too hit and miss to risk so I have ordered a quarter of a ton of compressed sawdust blocks from a company on the internet, which should see us through the next couple of months in the utmost comfort. For £150 I am expecting to take delivery of 240kg of consistent, dry, highly flammable bricks which, whilst not having the charming personality of their tree based opposition will guarantee rapid cooking and heating.

Despite the cold TLB and I are very much enjoying freedom from the rigmarole of daily life in a rented house. I hear people at work complaining on a daily basis about the cold and it would seem that us tent dwellers are far from the worst off. Our only real priorities are to ensure we have enough wood and food to survive. Aside from that a small amount of money for our monthly rent and fuel for the car is all that is required to keep us capable of meeting our external responsibilities and thriving. I am currently sat in the tent wearing only a t-shirt and it is perfectly warm, the smell of fajitas cooking on the stove is making me hungry, the celebratory wine I am drinking tastes fantastic and the bed looks very cosy from here.

Bedding has also become a little more of an issue now that winter is upon us proper, the most satisfactory solution we have found is to use a large double sleeping bag (thankyou Mother) and then put my sumptuous goose down duvet inside. We have on occasion found ourselves over heating and had to fold back the top layer of sleeping bag but our feet are never exposed to the cold night air and we can zip ourselves in should we find that things are getting too chilly. Failing that, TLB has remarked that I make an excellent hot water bottle on the coldest of nights and I am very pleased to be of service.

I have made a few investments this month to ensure our continuing comfort. Aside from the gas fire (which was very kindly contributed by a friend) I must confess that I have been getting a slightly bad back from all the crouching and kneeling so I have bought a therma-rest camp chair to ensure that we can both sit in comfort when we need to. It is a bit of a comfort revelation and renders the cushions that we have used to prop ourselves up so far somewhat redundant. It also means that we have a spare bed for when visitors drop in to stay the night which I am sure will be most appreciated. Who'd have thought it, we have a sofa-bed!

For anyone who doubts that it is possible to be warm enough in a tent during the winter, I can very happily inform you that with a little preparation it is perfectly possible to be too hot, despite the limitations of our dwelling. To be honest I am rather looking forward to a decent dusting of snow, it would be the closest thing to curtains we will get and will no doubt provide a superb lie in.

1 comment:

Hayden Davis said...

Howdy guys. I'm glad you are both keeping warm, if a little too at times and that things are going well. Ben..may I recommend a massage. Not from me. But had one recently and feel the better for it. Not that expensive and very satisfying. Cold aching joints are never much fun.

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