Tag Archive | downshifting

Postaday 2011

I read somewhere that content is everything, but I don’t really feel like I’ve much to say today, but don’t want to be out of the Postaday habit.  So  I’ve installed the badge and am posting to say I’ve done so!

High spots today:   Went to the hospital today, feeling rubbish and came away feeling considerably better,  not because of any miracle cure (or even any treatment, come to that) but just by comparison to some of the sights you see.  Feeling humble and lucky in equal measures!

Low spots:  Have realised that I have been keeping the dog shampoo in the bathroom cabinet aside the stockpile of toothpaste, Himself’s razors and to-be-used toiletries whipped from hotel rooms.  I’m not sure what kind of person this makes me.  It is possible that it is actually my brain that is downshifting.

Keeping the homefires burning!

Well, it’s officially moving from autumn to winter.  My gorgeous leaf is still clinging to the tree so I’ve still not succumbed to putting the heating on, despite the protests around me.  As soon as I open my mouth to reply to the protests, their eyes roll and they mutter: “I know, put a jumper on…” so I must be getting through!  However, we are indulging in the luxury of lighting the fires of an evening, to keep the chills at bay!

As well as being a lovely signal for cosy evenings around the fire, it’s also been a chance for me to put to the test my recycled paper logs, the making of which was this summer’s newest hobby.  Actually, although I did make quite a few from time to time, as I became unwell it actually became my son’s new ‘hobby’ the take-up of mysteriously co-incided with each time he was skint and needed a sub:  enter bartering and slave labour as a new means of  organising winter fuel – totally appropriate to the quest of downshifting, me thinks!

Don’t panic or phone child-line, he’s 21, can’t budget to save his life and ran out of pub money.  His logging taught him a hard lesson in life, that’s all (actually not that hard, he was just playing with paper-mache, it was like having my six year old back again)!

My mum was delirious and fastidious about  about dropping off her newspapers and I can’t think of a better use for the Daily Mail than to shred it, soak it in water in an old dustbin for a week and then squeeze the life out of what’s left into a brick shaped lump – Joe and I spent many a happy hour supporting The Mail  through this transformation to something actually useful and of benefit to society!

Tragically, it really appealed to my nesting instinct to organise the drying ‘logs’ into the garage, as you can see:

Logs a-plenty

Incidentally, I do realise that it’s even more tragic to have photographed them!

We haven’t put any into the woodburning stove because although it’s a multi-fuel stove, Himself isn’t happy with the idea of sticking these logs in there (I know, don’t ask me, I think it’s to do with their Mail origins) but this evening I’ve lit the open fire in the dining room, essentially so I can sit and blog at the computer in relative warmth, but in reality so that I can secretly time them as I’m really intrigued as to how long they take, and thus how much money it’s saving.  Truth is, I don’t think it’s saving that much as we’ve got through three of them in about 2 1/2 hours, so that’s under an hour each.  Now the log maker blurb said that each log burns for up to two hours, so I guess the key things are the phrase “up to”and the fact that they are predominantly made with The Mail and therefore aren’t really hot stuff!  Still, for each one that burns merrily for (nearly) an hour, there’s a few lumps of coal less being used, no?  At least so far it’s enough to keep the frosty parts at bay (that’s weather-speak, I don’t mean Himself, obviously)!

Speaking of which, it’ll soon be time for hot water bottles too!




Still no heating on …!

It appears that the insulation is working!  Feeling more than a little bit pleased really, that it’s now the 5th October and I haven’t succumbed to flicking the old ‘heating on’ switch on the boiler!  It’s probably psychosomatic (or some such spelling) but the house does feel warmer since Friday, even though the weather has deteriorated!

We’ve just about put the house back to rights, no mean feat as I was unwell and Himself was, well, Himself really!  He did do the hoovering and chopped some kindling in preparation for lighting fires as a preventative measure against putting the actual radiators on.  Either that or he really wants his crumpets toasting old-style (ooer)!

The idea, be-fitting the whole essence of downshifting and economising in the use of our own (fiscal) and the world’s (environmental) resources, is that we try to get through October without cranking up the boiler, which is fine – the calendar, clocks-going-back deadline.  I’d sort of prefer to let nature set the deadline a bit though.  You see, next door has a cherry tree which overhangs us.  Among all of the run-of-the-mill cherry leaves, there is a fantastic leaf of individual colour and quality.  It seems to be flouting the ‘wait for everyone else’ rule and is flaunting its early-in-the-season colour, and as such is displaying a gorgeous red / orange, quite astonishing among the uniform green of its companions.  My theory is that this leaf is my herald of Autumn and so the heating should not go on until it falls from the tree, thus heralding the onset of winter and ceremonial on-switching of the heating.  So, two deadlines, we shall have to see!

Trying to get a photo of it, but with the effort needed am likely to:

(a) drop camera out of the window (b) fall from window myself (c) both

Incidentally, I found a useful site relating to downshifting etc, which included advice about taking action such as insulation as part of a downshift – in at number two in the charts, no less!  I allowed Himself to have a smug moment at the news!


Dedicated to downshifting

Crickey, it’s the last day of September already, I really should try to get to grips with things properly now.  Health worries have cut across ‘ordinary’ work,  so aiming to at least keep the grey matter and limbs in working order through preparing (on good days) for the downshift of lifestyle that the said ‘health issues’ dictate are very likely to be necessary.

So, today a list of done and doing to prepare for downshifting:

1) Try not to panic about the money (on-going, every hour, making my own head hurt).

2) Join helpful sites such as Money Saving Sxpert (done, very helpful site)!


3) Train Seamus and Boo to eat less expensive dog food – including curbing Seamus’s current appetite socks and slippers (on-going, gradually introducing cheaper brands: food, not socks and slippers).

4) Train Himself and various offspring to eat less expensive  food (on-going, depending on success (1) of may link to (3) above,could save a fortune)!

5) Try to be more self-sufficient (have started on this but this is directly affected by health, on good days I can do very well with this, on bad days there is nothing sufficient about me!)

6) Get this freezing cold house insulated before the winter (all in hand, should be done tomorrow: “yay” to warmth and cutting down on heating bills, “d’oh” to mess and noise to be made between now and newly insulated house! Have been instructed by Himself to shut myself away and shout instructions to the men from the comfort of the sofa – he’d better hope I don’t get too used to that)!

The irony is, of course that being off sick is giving me the time, as and when I feel up to it, to address some of these issues (organising the insulation is a good case in point) in order to prepare for a more frugal lifestyle that may come about because of being less able to work the hours and profession that have had a direct impact on my health.

Having this window of time has been a good chance to stand back and look at what’s important.   I’ve always been a simple pleasures, make do and mend kind of person, so downshifting will just be a chance to be myself, instead of  some exhausted professional robot, I guess.    There are loads of books out there on the subject, so going to add a book list somewhere at some point, if it helps anyone else!

Anyway, October tomorrow, first downshifting Autumn!

BTW: Himself bought me some get-well roses, they’re gorgeous!