“The basic necessities of life are the most important things”…
In researching whether attracting birds of prey to my land might act as a deterrent to pheasants (sadly they won’t), I came across ‘the bird man’. Mike volunteers for a nature charity in the area and one way and another, I ended up having 10 bird boxes put up around my land to encourage Pied Flycatchers, a diminishing species. It wasn’t on my radar at all but now the boxes are up, I am very pleased to be doing my bit for bio-diversity.
It transpires that Mike can turn his hand to most things and so he is also going to install some insulation in my roof. I don’t use the central heating as it guzzles oil. Instead, I have a Rayburn on all the time and a wood burner at night, so the kitchen and one living room are warm. A few oil filled electric radiators cover other areas such as my office when needed. However, the rest of the house is bone-chillingly cold, especially when the temperature drops below freezing and this isn’t helped by the fact there is absolutely no insulation in a very large loft space. As my bedroom is directly beneath this part of the roof, I sleep under 26 togs of duvet plus two blankets and going to the loo in the night poses the threat of frost-bite!
The basic necessities of life are the most important things in an old property like mine which is also very remote – heat, electricity and water! I have a borehole, solar panels, double glazing, two wood burners, a Rayburn (which also heats the water) and a substantial generator if all else fails. A ground source heat pump is on my wish list in the dim and distant future which could run the radiators and I’d like to be off grid totally for electricity.
So, Mike and I had a ‘cake and coffee’ interlude to discuss insulation options and naturally, we roamed into other areas of conversation. It turns out, he is an interloper like me. He quit the business world and moved to these parts with his wife, eschewing his executive lifestyle in favour of a simpler, more earthy existence. He has been here much longer than me and has met others around and about who have done the same thing. Amusingly, according to Mike, while discussions may have been more high brow in our previous lives, we are all now having the same conversations about how to provide the basic ingredients of our existence. I am not alone!