This week as I continue my energy saving challenge I am carrying out two experiments: a day without gas and a day without electricity. My aim is to discover just how reliant we are on these energy supplies, and what it feels like to do without them, as many people struggling to pay their fuel bills have little choice but to do.
Yesterday I conducted my first task, spending 24 hours without using our gas supply. “This will be the easiest one,” I thought, but I was wrong there! On Monday morning as I emerged bleary-eyed from bed, it was dark, miserable and freezing cold. So, on automatic pilot, the first thing I did was reach for the central heating controls. Then I shrank back, remembering they were out of bounds. My heart sank. Recent days have been relatively warm once they’ve got going. I’ve even been able to sit outside at lunchtime, albeit in a coat, but unfortunately yesterday wasn’t one of them. At least I was able to use the electric shower, though. I wrapped up warmly and put my fake Ugg boots on to try and keep my feet warm. Luckily I have a tiny electric fan heater which I put on in my office, but I tried to use it sparingly.
At lunchtime, though, when I stepped out of my lukewarm office into the rest of the house the cold hit me like a wall. In fact it was so nippy that I got into bed for half an hour to warm up! As I couldn’t use the gas hob to cook lunch, I made some toast using the electric toaster and heated up some tinned soup in the microwave. It was ok but I’m not a big fan of microwave cooking, I tend to use it to defrost things or make baked potatoes.
And as the afternoon grew colder I got so fed up that I jumped in the car and drove around a bit to warm up and relieve the glum feeling that was setting in. Normally I would have gone for a walk but it was lashing with rain. I was tempted to seek refuge at my neighbour’s house but felt it would be cheating to make use of her central heating.
When DJ got home even he – who unlike me doesn’t feel the cold – remarked on how chilly the house was and put his fleece on. Teatime raised a new conundrum. What would we have to eat as we couldn’t use the gas hob? We were flummoxed. I’d considered making something the day before and heating it up in the microwave, but decided this was cheating. The barbecue was a possibility, but with the rain lashing down outside it didn’t appeal.
We could have a salad but with the temperature dropping, we wanted something warm and stodgy but there was nothing suitable to cook in the microwave. Then DJ remembered the oven is electric and our spirits rose. We could make a flan, cook potato wedges or toad in the hole. Hooray for hot food! But some of the flan ingredients needed to be fried and while we could cook the toad in the oven, we’d need to cook the onion gravy on the hob. The microwave was a possibility, but it just wouldn’t taste the same. Eventually we decided on oven-roasted vegetables with couscous, which we made by boiling a kettle of water and mixing the water and the couscous together in a bowl.
Dinner cheered us up no end, but washing up with lukewarm water wasn’t fun. Frankly, it was a relief when bedtime rolled around so we could huddle together and warm up.
Later in the week I’ll be trying life without electricity. Wish me luck!
Have you had to do without gas or electricity? How did you cope? Leave a comment and let me know.