Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Bed Socks & Bottles
It was bitter last night. That's how my father would describe a cold day in Cork when it hovered around 1 degree Celsius. Last night here? It was -5C but that "RealFeels" sticker, because of the high winds, had it at -17C.
Electricity costs a fortune here so alternative energy supplementation ranges from propane to wood. I have wood in conjunction with electricity in the upper reaches of the house. To use electricity exclusively would see me in the poorhouse or not eating. Ever. The plight of many senior women living on their own doing an eke. My ongoing gig as writing instructor sees the fees I collect weekly from that paying for another load of wood next week. Local economy at its finest. Black economy too. It has to be. The guy who is presently lumbering my wood and is cutting and cleaving it, was laid off from his iron ore job in Labrador and is eking too. He had to return here, at the age of 50, to live with his mother and subsist on a union pittance when his EI ran out.
When one gets cash out here on the Edge, it is socked away and never sees a bank. We all do it. Chatting with a banker in town, I discovered that he does it too - on the QT. Collect cash for banking advice on the side, disburse cash to handyman for new bathroom. We all live under the table to a huge degree. And none of us live extravagantly. I hated myself when I had to go to online Walmart for free shopping deliveries but I had no choice. Funny how we can preach for years but when the wallet is thinned right out we have to bow at the altar of the corporate enemy. But I do shop local too. I love my wee local grocery store.
But to these elder arms, nothing beats coffee and dog-food and flour and sugar and paper products in bulk delivered free right to my door.
Which brings me back to the title of the post.
My mother would send me off to bed on cold nights or with a tough period, warm, with a hot water bottle, especially knitted bed socks and a crocheted bed jacket when I was a teenager.
So last night? Under the duvet, I reverted to these comforting items.
Toasty, warm and safe from the howling blizzard outside.
When many aren't.