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How far into autumn can I get before I put the heating on?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 October 2017

Hoar frost: It's not cold, just bracing. This is Norfolk, you know.

Hoar frost: It's not cold, just bracing. This is Norfolk, you know.

(c) copyright citizenside.com

It is THE big question.

Not “will America go to war with North Korea?” And not “should Teresa May resign?”

It’s not even “brown or red sauce on a bacon sandwich?” (Brown is the answer, by the way.)

The really big question is this: “When should I put my heating on?”

Thankfully, it’s not a problem for those of you who retired early with a fat pension. You can flee the frost by flying to find some winter warmth.

You might spare a thought for the generations that will forever be trying to work off your debts, but it’s highly unlikely (unless the thought is: “A bit of hard work never did me any harm”, while sipping a G&T and patronising a waiter).

Those of you who choose to remain in England and brave the weather deserve our respect, of course.

If the ultimate hell descends and the underfloor heating fails in your detached, double-glazed, insulated house, you could always use your £300 winter fuel allowance to light a fire.

But enough of the justifiable bitterness, back to the point.

I take great pride in my ability to go deep into autumn before I turn on the heating.

I’m currently engaged in a game of “who blinks first?” with the heating control panel in my dining room.

This morning, my resolve was tested.

I was woken early by a chilling touch from the hand of Bathroom Draught. I tucked everything under the duvet and warmed up.

But at some point I’d have to get up. I felt like Shackleton inside a tent on a chilly day in the Antarctic (the similarities are remarkable, except that if I put my toe out from under the duvet, it’d get a bit cold, while if he stuck his leg out of the tent, it’d freeze off or be pecked by a penguin (not bitten off by a polar bear: I’m sure you know why...)).

Anyway, I heroically made it out of bed, braving the horror of goosebumps and cold bathroom floor tiles.

I’m now sitting in my lounge in a big woolly jumper and a woolly hat. Other clothes are also being worn, but they’re extras in this drama.

That’s my standard tactic at this time of year – wearing warm clothes.

When the temperature drops further, I take it to the next level and put a duvet over me on the settee while I’m watching Strictly.

It appears to be working.

The other day I got an email from E.on, telling me my monthly gas direct debit is dropping from £58 to £18.

I could ask which innumerate finger-counter calculated the original tariff, but I prefer to focus on how I am single-handedly saving Planet Earth.

No car, no heating – I could be a poster-boy for the Green Party, but I really don’t like linen shirts.

Not everybody has the courage or constitution to laugh in the face of cold.

I know one person, who shall remain nameless but who works about the length of a medium-sized radiator away from me, who cannot even laugh in the face of warm, mild or toasty.

I swear a weather front develops between us most days, as the hot air from her heater meets the cold air from my desk fan(s).

Two different climates exist in a small area, and the colleague on the desk in between often experiences light drizzle.

As back-up, with the heater wind-burning her legs, on some days she wears a thick coat and a hat while working.

I’m guessing her home heating has been on since August, if indeed it has ever been switched off.

Such fragility is beyond my understanding. I grew up in Cromer, where the north wind comes direct from the North Pole. And I played youth football in blizzards, with my legs turning purple.

That’s why I feel ready to challenge myself this year by reaching November before I put on the heating.

Does anyone else fancy the challenge?

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