Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alternative warmth....

I have been looking at portable gas heaters today. As my woodburning stove dream is on hold pending a mythical lotto win, (forget the actual price of the stove - it is the chimney thingy and the labour which is astronomical) I decided that one of those gas heaters, where I can get refills for the gas bottles, may work better. I absolutely will not run the risk of another mega gas bill for the central heating in January. Here in the UK, our utility bills - gas and electricity, come quarterly. Last January I nearly had an attack of the vapours when it arrived.

My friend in NZ has these at her home, and they work brilliantly, so I am looking at what is around. This is particularly apt today as it is grey, chilly and damp, and it is the dampness which is the bit which gets to the bones. My bones in particular. My bones are not partial to cold and damp. AND I can move it around to where it is needed, which would be great.

In Switzerland, my sister buys her oil for her heating and hot water once a year. She pays for it, and then there are no unknown costs involved later to cause panic attacks. It is very reassuring to go and look at full tanks, and know you will be warm. Here we are at the mercy of the gas companies. Prices change all the time, and always seem to be spiralling upwards, and never down. When the oil price drops, nothing drops here. The price of petrol for our cars is outrageous. I just paid £1.08 a litre this morning. They have plenty of excuses - oh it is the government tax, oh, we need to improve pipe lines, oh oh oh. Sigh. And the British consumer is actually very docile. I am not of the docile variety. You may have noticed this.

So I am looking at gas heaters. Hah! They will then want to come and check and see if there is something wrong with my meter if it is stunningly low in January, I bet. I will show them my bottles of gas lined up instead, and yes, I know this is probably an expensive way of heating my house, but I will be controlling what I spend or use. I can simply switch it off and wear more clothes if I need to.

Our economy was widely reported to be about to come out of recession last week. The celebrations had begun. Until Friday, that is. That was when the actual figures came out saying that we were still in recession, with a 0.4% further shrinkage of the economy. The worst figures since figures began. Now it appears the economists got it horribly wrong, are possibly totally incompetent or that we are way worse off than the rest of the world. France and Germany came out of recession months ago. Us??? Hahahahhaha. America is doing better too. The UK is still in the quagmire. Unemployment is spiralling too. Gloom, doom and all.

I need chocolate.


Papa Bear said...

Ack! £1.08 a liter? At current rates, that's US $6.66 a gallon, folks! The worst it got here was $4.25 a gallon, in 2006, I think. I remember saying that if it went any higher, I'd have to quit my job, because I couldn't afford the gas to get to work!

Almost no one uses fuel oil for heating here any more. It's too expensive. The cheapest is natural gas, which is piped in to most towns, and even some rural areas. Where that's not available, liquid propane is the next best deal. Wood heat is pleasant, and a nice backup, but only economical if you can grow, cut, split, stack, and season it yourself.

Don't believe the talk about a recovery in the US. That's just Obama and his cheerleaders trying to take credit for something that hasn't happened yet. More people are losing their jobs than finding new ones here. The only reason banks aren't foreclosing on more homes is that they have no one to sell them to. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Needled Mom said...

Yes, don't believe all that you read in your papers, Linds. I realized that on our recent visit to the UK. Unemployment is still very high and no turnaround expected soon.

When we lived in the UK I remember the gas man coming once a month to remove the coins from the meter. He would sit at the table and make piles of the coins then give some back to me and take the rest. Am I dating myself?

You will have to let us know how the new heater works. Yes, you will now have some control, but I would still need chocolate!!!!

Linds said...

Hi Papa Bear -We have natural gas here, but it can be very expensive indeed. It all is. No matter what you choose. My central heating is warm air and the boiler fuelling it is piped gas. Most homes have gas fired radiators in the UK. Wood is cheap and readily available because we live out of town, and that is why so many of my friends are considering or have installed, woodburning stoves. Or rather, multi-fuel burning stoves.

And NM, I remember my mother-in-law collecting 10p pieces for her gas as well! There was always a pile of them on the meter. I think it dates both of us!!

Linda said...

I believe chocolate is the recommended remedy for all these sorts of things Linds!
I think you've got a great idea. The ability to have some measure of control is always a good thing.
Have a restful, blessed weekend.

Dawn said...

Propaganda is alive and well all over the world!