With rising energy bills and the rumour, despite all appearances to the contrary, this is in fact Summer, we have not had the central heating on for some time.
The upshot of this is you can easily become chilled to the bone if you fail to wear the correct layers of clothing for each particular room in the house.
Ours is an old stone terraced building which, unusually, has the entrance on the middle floor. From the roadside it looks like a standard 2 floor house where you enter at ground level, but once in you can descend to the living room, which is level with the garden a whole storey lower.
This room has the coldness of an old cellar. Facing northwest it only receives the sun’s rays for a few minutes after 8.30pm for about 4 weeks either side of the summer solstice, if there's a break in the clouds. It could be the greatest heat wave known to man outside, but unless you are wrapped in at least a t-shirt, shirt, thick fleece and a blanket, you will suffer hypothermia within 37 minutes.
Rising to entrance level, two thirds of the way up the stairs, in fact, you will need to discard the blanket and your fleece. Upon reaching the hall you can also abandon your woolly hat and gloves.
If you wish to enter the kitchen, remove your shirt too; nothing more than a thin top is required, especially if any cooking has been happening in the previous 3 days. And if the oven is on you may well be tempted to just strip off and enjoy a sauna (do be prepared to place some level of clothing back on before eating hot food though; splashes of hot soup onto your delicate areas is something to be avoided). If you wish to cool down you will need to leave room. The window was painted shut by the previous occupants and is unable to be opened.
Maggie’s studio, at the front of the house is deceptive. You can wander in wearing a couple of layers and assume everything is fine, but if you are asked to exert yourself, perhaps by helping to move the worktable into the middle of the room, or reach up for a book about felt-making on the top shelf at the back of the bookcase, you will find yourself suddenly dripping in sweat. Stand still and you’ll be OK; move and you’ll overheat.
At the top of the house are the bedrooms and my study.
The bedrooms are always too warm; especially our bedroom, directly above the kitchen. Even in the heart of winter the radiator stays on minimum.
By contrast, my study, just across the wee landing, is the only place in the house without a radiator and I don’t think has been warm since at least 1849. I keep my biggest, thickest fleece solely for this room, with a pair of woollen gloves at the ready, worn at the fingertips from typing on this laptop.
It has taken nearly three Summers to learn the seasonal nuances of the thermodynamics of our house, but I have now strategically placed layers of clothing on each floor to add or remove, depending on the direction I’m heading.
My son, on the other hand, just sits in his t-shirt no matter which room he’s in. But then he is 13, so has a metabolism to put a hummingbird to shame.