Every year I end up having the same competition with myself. The rules are simple. Rule 1 – The central heating is not going on until October! And rule 2 – The central heating is definitely not going on until October!
Autumnal chit chats with friends always spark the same conversation – have you put yours on yet?
“No, I am waiting ‘til October, how about you...” and so on.
No one knows why we play this game as there is no prize for the eventual teeth-chattering winner. Well anyway, it’s a game I certainly never win. The switch is always flicked way before the arrival of the big O.
For me there are two small reasons why the heating always goes on – my two little boys, gawd bless ‘em.
Parental guilt means I don’t want them to get cold at night. Pre-children I would happily leave the heating off till November and do battle with the big chill. I would sling on an extra layer, pull on some extra thick socks and drag the duvet down from the bedroom and sit in front of the telly, snug as.
And selfishness. For when they do get cold at night, it disturbs them and they will make their way swiftly out of their bedrooms and across the landing in the pitch black.
And when they finally arrive at destination mum and dad’s room, therein will start a new game.
You know the one – the ritual whereby the child stares at their sleeping mother or father (in my case it’s always the mother) until they jolt awake from their slumber suddenly aware that someone is watching them.
No words are spoken during this particular game until you wake up with a scream and in turn startle the child who then begins to wail.
Cue the waking of the whole house.
Now nothing is more important to me than my sleep, dear reader. I can assure you, I don’t want to get up in the morning, bleary eyed from hours of attempting to put the said starer back to bed.
Right that is it, I tell my husband as the month turns to September, the heating is going on!
Nah, he replies, we can wait just a bit longer. Chuck on a jumper and buy a thicker quilt. Now he wants to play the heating game! So before I know it, I am hitting the shops hunting for said thicker duvet.
After a mind numbing afternoon deciding which duvet will do (will it be the autumn 10.5 one or should I go the whole hog and get the winter 13) I buy them.
I introduce the new ‘presents’ to Dunn the younger who loves it but hasn’t a clue what it is and Dunn the elder who frankly doesn’t care. “That’s a rubbish present”, he proclaims, before flouncing off.
The rest of the day is spent removing old summer quilts, washing them and shoving them in any available space left in the house for such items.
I then ceremoniously place the fluffy new duvets on the beds – 10.5 tog by the way – and I am by now feeling rather proud of myself. October here I come.
But as that night draws in, I start to worry – parental guilt rears its head again.
The temperature in the house has definitely dropped – this I know as I am toying with the idea of reaching to the back of the wardrobe for the frightful dressing gown I bought in a hurry.
Then I put the heating on as well.
But this is where it starts to get tricky.
The eldest then wanders in at should-be-asleep-o’clock and stares me out until I wake. “Mummy I’m soooo hot!”