Extra blankets and late night loads of laundry are one thing in an energy cost crisis, writes Moreen Simpson, but going without hot water is a step too far.
So, how’s your energy price-bustin’ goin’ ?
Me about to head off for coffee at a pal’s hoosie the other morning, she called with instructions: “Bring yer ain hot water bottle and fleecy blanket. It’s baltic here.” I assured her I’d be fine in my quilted jacket and furry boots. But, I could have done with that bottle… and it’s nae even proper winter yet.
My washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher are on only during my cheapo overnight leccy rate. I know, I shouldn’t use the tumbler at all, but I really canna be fashed surrounded by racks o’ sodden knickers.
I’ve no smart meter, so nae idea how much power I’m using. I keep delaying the time I’m forced to switch on the central heating in the evening. Then, so relieved to be toasty, neep-heid that I am, I fall asleep and wake up to a room like a sauna – the gas meter presumably on speed-swivel.
My hot water is on a separate switch; I’m gradually cutting down the time it’s on to give me just enough for a shower and a few warm drappies during the day.
Tell the truth, I wonder why I’m going to all this faff, since my EDF rate has been on a two-year fix, until February, and I still get the government’s £400 relief between October and March. Feel like a right swick.
Some like it hotter than freezing
Disaster struck Sunday morning when I trundled into my shower, stuck my headie under the spray and… scraiaiaik! Like a scene oot o’ Psycho.
Hands ower my peer facie, gasp, pant, dirl, canna breath. Stabs of horrifyingly icy water. Offskied the flow and ootskied the cubicle.
Fit in the name of the wee man had happened to the hot? I’d definitely switched it on the night before. Had I economised too much? Bunged it on again, waited another hour in my weet dressing goon, and – still iceberg land.
I panicked. My morning shower is the only thing which brings me back to human form from the bent and aching craiter which rolls oot o’ bed. Like Jekyll and Hyde. How could I survive on just clootie dichts at the sink?
I dinna dee baltic
Onto the phone to Bruce, my trusty plumber of more than 30 years. Left text message and (tearful) voicemail. No response. Left another message at tea-time. Hallelujah, the phone rang about 8pm.
This gruff voice came: “Hello, Moreen…” I jumped in: “Oh, Bruuuuce, thanks so much for getting back to me. Is there any chance you can look at my water?”
Silence, then, annoyed response: “You think I’m a Bruce? A mannie? It’s Agnes!”
Oh, shshsave a bandie. Here’s me: “Soo sorry, but you do sound a bit… gravelly.” Here’s her: “That’s coz I’ve got Covid.” I was really tempted to ask: “But can you fix my pipes?”
All ended well when Bruce phoned at 7am Monday, in at 8.15am. Declared Mo needed a new motor. Did a temporary repair, and I was being transformed in that hot shower by 9am. Cost or not, I definitely dinna dee baltic.
Moreen Simpson is a former assistant editor of the Evening Express and The Press & Journal, and started her journalism career in 1970