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This year’s winter preparations

Posted by on Monday 17 October 2011 in meta | 7 comments

Yesterday I picked up my crochet hook for the first time in six? seven? months. I can’t stand the feeling of yarn between my fingers during the summer, and the early warm spring this year meant my crochet embargo started earlier than normal this year. Yesterday though, I found my favourite bamboo hook and grabbed a misc selection of DK yarn to crochet a stripey draught excluding snake. Flames flickering behind the stove glass, cats liberally applied around my lap/feet and yarn in my fingers — forget autumn, winter feels like it’s already here for Team Peach.

Due to meh-ness and illness in September, I’m a bit behind on my winter preparations – still a few things to do before the season really sets in. Some people are saying it’s going to be as bad as last year, some people are saying it’s going to be worse and start earlier. I have no idea but I’d rather prepare just in case.

Us & the animals

1. Wash all our winter coats, scarfs & gloves I’m really kicking myself that I forgot to do them during that heatwave week last month, when I washed absolutely everything else in the house made from fabric. My coats (my everyday winter coat and my really big heavy one) might have to be dry-cleaned, I’m not sure. I hate dry-cleaning for many reasons but if I get another year or so out of the old coats, it’ll be worth it.

2. Check we have sufficient quantities of warm socks etc I think we do, and John tells me his vests (which nearly all predate our nearly 10 year relationship) are fine too – worth checking though. I might get a pair of long johns/leggings for under my jeans for dog walking rather than just wearing tights (I hate tights).

3. Make a giant bean bag for the office So the spoilt, spoilt cats & dog can sit near the stove in comfort ;)

4. Make sure we have good supplies of our store cupboard essentials & animal food Supplies being cut off further upstream is always possible in bad weather but a more likely issue is us being too lazy/cold to fancy going to the shops.


I wrote a list of house “to-do”s before last winter and while big renovation things have taken a LOT longer to do than I thought (and some not happened at all), we did most of the things on my list. Most recently, we’ve replaced our old falling down single-glazed sun-porch so it’s now less draughty, better insulated & not leaking — it’ll now provide a really useful “air lock” for the front door to stop lots of cold air shooting around the house.

1. Curtains for bedroom One thing from last year’s list that I still haven’t done. We don’t use curtains in the bedroom for most of the year – it faces east into a wood so isn’t overlooked and the morning sun is lovely – but really need decent ones in the winter for heat retention.

2. Check if the thicker duvet needs washing & if so, wash We’ve got an “all seasons” duvet (a thin duvet & a thicker one that click together to make an uber-one). The thin one is still warm enough for now but won’t be for much longer.

3. Curtains for living room We were supposed to renovate the living room before last this winter and replace the shoddy, never-used curtains then – but it hasn’t happened yet. It *might* happen in the next couple of months but if not, we need to get better, usable curtains for in there and/or fix up the shoddy ones so they’re actually practical to use.

4. Buy a new (bigger) slow cooker The ceramic dish of my old one broke and I’m going to take this as an opportunity to buy the bigger slow cooker I should have bought in the first place. We can’t get through winter without casseroles, stock for soup & rice pudding!

5. Fit door handle on the landing door If we shut the door to stop heat into escaping to the (unused for most of the winter) attic room, it’s bloomin’ hard to open again at the moment! Fitting a door handle means we can close off that draught-causing heat sink.

Edited to add:
6. Sweep chimneys This was on John’s to-do list so I forgot it earlier. Think we’re going to get someone in this time to see whether we’ll be able to manage it ourselves in the future.


1. Tidy up greenhouse & take remaining greenhouse plants into house for overwintering There are a few of tomatoes left to pick and then those plants need removing. I’m going to try overwintering chillis in the new sun-porch and the kitchen this year so they need to go into the house ASAP.

2. Pop all containers holding soft fruit & delicate herbs into the greenhouse To protect the plants & the pots (especially the terracotta ones). Will do some “fleecing” too.

3. “Roof” a section of the chicken run The wet weather of the last few weeks has convinced me that they need more covered areas (they already have some but more would be better). Have to do it in a spot that I can easily reach to clear snow though.

4. Secure gangly in-ground soft-fruit bushes Our raspberries & some of the blackcurrants are a bit lanky. They need securing so they don’t get blown over & broken.

5. Sort out the wood pile, cut more “easy grab” logs & fill kindling bin I think we have enough wood for the winter, we just need to make it a little more … user-friendly. Right now, I’m happy to poke around out there and cut stuff as needed, but if it gets as chilly as last year, we might not be so keen…

Eep! lots to do!

What have you got to do before winter properly starts?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Maria

    I had an ‘I love Louisa’ moment purely because you hate tights – I hate tights too!

    On the list – yeah, that’s a fair amount of things to do. You have reminded me things I have yet to do before our winter. Yesterday I did the summer-to-winter wardrobe swap (not all my clothes fit into the wardrobe in my bedroom, and the ‘other’ season, whichever one that is, has to go in the spare room cupboard). Much trogging up and down stairs, but satisfying, and had a bit of a clean-out while I was at it – the charity shop will benefit, and if I can see what I’ve actually got more easily, I will wear more of it!

  2. Millie

    I’ve got to make a curtain for the garage door. The garage adjoins our house and has a side door into the hallway, and a draft blows through in the winter. I meant to do it in the summer but I never got round to it. I can feel the draft as I type this!

  3. Rachel

    Our major ‘to do’ before winter is: Install central heating. We have a plumber booked in for next week and quite a lot to do before then, including replacing all the floors in the house – eek! Can’t really see beyond that at the moment…

  4. bookstorebabe

    I’ve got to pull everything out of the closets and dresser, tackle the mountain of laundry, and purge. Funny, I wasn’t going to take the only buy a few articles of clothing challenge. And I’ve only bought maybe 8 things this year!
    Need to shrink wrap some windows. The back windows will have old comforters/blankets added over the curtains.
    And I really need to trim back overgrown brush in the yard. Between having both no free time and a bad knee for a couple of months, the yard’s farther behind than usual.

  5. Maria

    PS – can we have your reasons for hating dry-cleaning? I’m guessing that they include (at least): a)because it is so unfrugal and expensive, and b)it is environmentally unfriendly (use of chemicals)

  6. louisa

    Maria – hurrah, another tights hater :) I have one pair I can just about tolerate because they’re mostly cotton but nylon ones, ick. On the dry cleaning issue, yes, those are the main ones plus the side issue of the extra effort it takes to get them cleaned (I mean deviating from my usual laundry cycle).

    Millie – hope the draft inspires you to do it ASAP!

    Rachel – quite a major to-do! hope it goes well!

    bookstorebabe – perhaps you should retroactively take the challenge ;) good luck with the purging and hope your knee is better soon.

  7. Su

    Another hater of tights here! It’s the awful ‘cheese grater’ effect they have on your feet, they hurt!

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