One of my earliest memories of the approach of winter was the ‘changing of the curtains’. Every October/ November, depending on the weather, we would help our mother remove all the pretty, lightweight window curtains to hang heavy, thick and in some cases blankets type curtains at the windows instead. These were darker warmer colours, the sort of colour that wouldn’t show the soot when the fires were lit.
We didn’t have central heating, only one of my friends did.
Then all the light, lightweight curtains were laundered by hand, in the kitchen sink. We’d then hung them to dry on the garden lines. These were then bought in after lunch and hung on large airers that hung from the he ceiling. It was about this time that the fires were lit.
I used to love this time of year. The smell of the newly lit fire in the front room with a guard in front to stop the sparks from leaving the fire place and me from the flames.
In the back room the multi- fuel stove was lit and the water, that had spent the summer in its boiler behind, would warm and bubble up to the holding tank in the room above, in the airing cupboard. By amazing science, that warm water would rise, the cold water would fall in a return pipe to the boiler below. No pump, just pure magic to a small child.
Even more magical was the golden bath of hot, orange rusty water, which was a treat for me and my siblings as we shared the water to save precious pennies. It was only rusty for that first night, but it was wonderful because we knew it wouldn’t run out like the summer water heated by the immersion heater. This rust possibly wasn’t that good for us but we survived and it was for us the start of cosy winter days. The start of Christmas baking and dark warm evenings by the fire.
My current home is fully centrally heated, with modern thick double glazing. But this year I’ve decided to double up. I’ve decided to hang an extra pair of curtains at our windows, just for the winter months.
I’ve bought mainly on ‘that’ auction site, nice ones, mostly secondhand and all in very good condition I hang them like extra liners, on the same rail as my normal curtains, just doubling up. I’m amazed at how warm this has made our home. The required temperature is acquired much quicker and the house stays warmer during the evening and nighttime for longer. Saving money, easily more than the extra curtains cost.
I honestly think we have forgotten that just because we have double glazing and central heating that we don’t need to use thick curtains. I guess it’s like wearing a hat and scarf for a walk, even though we might have the latest high-tech coat.