This week we turned the heating. Our house is an old terrace built at a time when rooms were large, ceilings high, and insulation knowledge and material poor. We’ve used a lot of creative energy and better knowledge and material to patch up some of the worst challenges within the limitations of a Grade II-listing and our budget: we’ve draft-proofed doors, ventrollaed window frames, perspexed window glasses, put up curtains, celotexed floors and got fancy new ‘RTV’s (which does always sound a bit like some high-speed train). As part of out 10:10 pledge we’ve also agreed on going for extra layers of clothing or a blanket before turning the heating on.
But this week we all felt the cold had finally won, the cold that’s relentless like a car alarm going off at night, and creepy like a spider, always finding a way in and through any protection no matter how carefully assembled. I know it’s got me when my body starts contracting as if trying to make itself as small as humanly possible in order to have the least possible surface exposed to the cold. My barometer is the pain in my body from tightening up and that point had been reached. And felt ever more poignant after this warm summer that went on forever and allowed my body to fully spread out like a Chinese fan.
One day towards the end of summer I had a hospital appointment that involved measuring me; the doctor measured me 3 times to be absolutely sure and each time my height came to 174cm. 2cm longer than I ever was since I’ve been measured, which goes back at least some 20 years when I applied for my first pass port…
This is not just the transformation of one hot summer but also the incredible result of 3 years of doing Alexander Technique, and my Alexander teacher and I had a good laugh about it in my class this week. Now my challenge for the winter will be to not shrivel back into my old diminished me.