Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter… on cutting costs

‘I like my heat. But after two years of working from home, I’m patrolling the timer like a Rottweiler on an economy drive’

We’ll all be counting our pennies as the cost of living soars© ??  `??_/O?? ?? ??,

Sunday World

Christmas has come early, but it’s only brought Scrooge.

Now that every conversation must include ‘have you seen the price of …?’, cutting domestic costs is about to become an Olympic sport, and the last person to put their heating on wins.

When your electricity bill appears to be charged in Monopoly money and the annual heating bill is close to the debt of a small country, the battle to cut costs now excites a missionary zeal — every day brings new tips on how to reduce your energy usage with a dry towel, a small battery and a feather duster.

I’ve actually found myself timing people in the shower. But at least they were in my shower.

The league table was topped by an eight-minute cleaning session, and only a seagull after an oil spill needs that amount of hot water.

The next longest was six minutes and we’re working towards a personal best of two, unless it involves a leg shave and a hair pack, but the husband has promised to speed them up.

I’ve now turned into an air fryer bore. Anything that’s cookable has ended up in its efficient little heart and comes out better than a spell in our normal oven, which hasn’t been turned on for so long the cat could sleep in there and she’d be perfectly safe. Although so far, she’s not enthusiastic.

It might get a run out over Christmas but I’m already seeing turkey on a barbecue, and batch-cooking everything from stew to rice.

All chargers are now unplugged and the TV isn’t allowed to be left on standby during the day. The downside is it takes a few minutes for its valves to warm up when it’s switched on again. The suggestion to the household that they could do star jumps while the telly gets its act together didn’t go down well.

For the first time ever, I’ve estimated what constitutes a cup of water in the kettle. Who knew that’s what the little gauge on the side is for?

The heating is already strictly rationed. And I like my heat. But after two years of working from home with just several blankets, a big dressing gown and a hot water bottle to stay warm, I’m patrolling the timer like a Rottweiler on an economy drive.

The heating engineer who serviced the boiler recently must have felt like he’d been cross-examined by the time he backed out the door. It turns out hot water makes your boiler work hardest, so handwashing while waiting for the water to heat up has been banned because just using the soap that’s sitting right there is so much cheaper.

Possession of a wood burner now appears boastful when you can heat one room instead of the whole house and throw anything in there. When I’m skip-scouting for waste wood — and it’s not even cold yet — the pursuit of heat may have become a bit obsessive. I’m trying to heed the warning that burners emit more pollution than a HGV lorry by not having a HGV lorry.

The washing machine has also been used on its coolest setting with no discernible outbreaks of plague, which might be rendered useless by the tumble dryer, but we haven’t quite embraced the Stone Age yet.

My big question now is whether any of the above will actually make the slightest difference to our energy bills, and why didn’t I do any of it before.


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