Putting it all in perspective

Last time  lived in Canberra I remembered there used to be two or three days in July where the temperature didn’t rise above 3C. Only two or three days.

On Friday, the entire time we were out at various errands, the temperature didn’t rise above 1C.

Australian houses, Australian domestic architecture in general, is geared towards summer.  Older Australian homes have high ceilings to allow heat to rise away from us.  Windows and doors are positioned so that the slighted breeze will whisk all the accumulated outside and bring the cooler air in.  Great for summer.  Not so great for those two or three days in July.

Many older people around here live in older homes.

Electricity prices in NSW have risen 10% last year, 17% this year. For older people living on pensions, this is a dramatic increase in their heating bills.  Those living in older homes, without adequate insulation simply wont be able to afford to adequately heat them this year.

We already know of some who pile of layers and will only turn the heater on for an hour or two at night because based on last year’s electricity bills, that’s all they can afford.

And that’s on a normal winter’s day.

On Friday, we left the fire banked up before we left. We fed the fire all day when we returned.  We wore jeans and jumper and boots all day, and I still felt cold. My bones ached because I was cold. And that was in the loungeroom where the fire was. I actually dreaded leaving there and walking into the colder bathroom to pee.

But it was one day. Sure it still gets to -5C at night, but it gets back up to 8C or 9C during the day and the house is warm and comfortable again.  I can’t help thinking of all the other people who don’t love in comfortable houses. Who can’t feed their fires. Who don’t have jumpers and boots.

They post the obituaries on the newsagent door around here. I fear it will be busy over the next few weeks as some don’t make it over this latest bout of flu or chest infection or pneumonia …

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