Sunday, 16 November 2014

Getting all moist again

The heating is now on, the windows drip with condensation in the morning, and that fusty niff is back in the bedrooms, so it can only mean one thing. Winter is upon us once again.
I don't really have a problem with winter itself. I prefer it to summer when it's baking hot and all I want to do is hide in the fridge with the beer and not come out until it's all over.
I love a cold crisp winter's day when you can wrap up in a big coat and a thick wooly hat that itches like hell and leaves a huge red band across your forehead when you take it off. I love it when everything turns white and you can go off for a walk feeling the grass crunch under your feet and icicles forming at the tip of your nose.
But as always there's the need to take the rough with the smooth.

My house is an absolute bugger for damp problems in the winter, and having talked to many people about this it would seem I'm not alone. Even those who live in modern houses have their tales of woe despite my assumptions that a more recent build would have been designed to counter such things. Apparently not.
The bedrooms are the worst affected, with great puddles of condensate accumulated on the window sills in the morning, stains on the walls where moisture has run down leaving tell-tale marks that look like tiny snails have been having a midnight downhill race, and the ominous growth of nasty black stuff on the ceiling.
No matter how much we mop up, bleach the ceiling, and run around with a spray bottle of Febreze, we still end up walking into the house to be confronted with that slight underlying whiff of mould that usually results in an emergency Tesco run to stock up on air fresheners.
I even tried repainting the boy's room (which is the worst affected) using kitchen & bathroom paint, but the only difference is that instead of soaking the paint, the water just runs down the wall and creates a damp patch on the carpet.
The situation isn't helped by having freshly washed laundry and towels hanging about the place, but as putting them on the washing line just makes them cold and damp rather than warm and damp, there's little choice in the matter.
Today I threw caution to the wind and bought a dehumidifier in the hope that the extra cost in electricity will be justified by it being a useful weapon in the ongoing war against the damp.
Time will tell.

Winter also brings with it the days of going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark; forcing yourself to go out for a short walk at lunchtime just to get a bit of vitamin D.
Soon it'll be cold enough to be out there scraping the windscreen in the morning, freezing your fingertips so that they've barely thawed by the time you've got to work. That is of course assuming that you make it to work at all, because you take your life in your own hands with all the idiot tank drivers out there - the wankers who are just too damn lazy to clear their windows properly before setting off, preferring to navigate by the 'force' and one small patch of windscreen about the size of a postcard.

 In the meantime there's always the good stuff about winter to reflect upon, like the leaves having fallen from the trees and bushes at the roadside so you can see further round the bends. It's always nicer to vegetate on the sofa in the evening once everything has been done, without the sun still being up and about trying to convince you that you really ought to be doing something other than winding down for bed. It's just not the same being tucked up in bed a bit early with a large glass of red and a bacon sandwich if it's accompanied by the sounds of kids playing and the tosser up the road pressure-washing his bloody motocross bike for hours on end yet again. Far better for everyone else in the world to be indoors watching Newsnight or something while you eat, drink, and do squidgy things until the knowledge that you still need to be up for work again the next morning persuades you to turn off the light and get some shut-eye.
Winter is about being cosy. Knowing that if it gets a bit nippy you can always throw on another layer, unlike those hot summer days where you can only take off so many layers to try and cool off before somebody calls the police who charge you with indecent exposure.
Just like everyone else, I know I'll end up grumbling about it because that's what we do in this country.
Gone are the days when we were a global superpower with colonies wherever the indigenous people were armed with nothing more than pointed sticks and therefore provided little in the way of resistance. Gone too are those days of England being a dominant centre of manufacturing excellence, since most of the factories have been shut down in favour of cheap labour in the far east.
All we have left to be proud of is the NHS (despite being so desperately underfunded), moaning about the weather, and having the ability to laugh at ourselves.

Posh bacon sarnie. It's a winter evening thing.