Planning ahead-14th Mar 2022

When I was growing up, my Mom had a little sign on her desk at home that looked something like this:

I think it must have taken it to heart as being prepared ahead of time has always featured heavily in my thinking throughout my life. I just hate the feeling of panic that arises if I have not at least tried to prepare for any eventuality. I do know that I can’t always KNOW what may happen but, I feel that if I have at least THOUGHT about some of the things that MIGHT happen, then I am as prepared as I can be.

Having just said all of that, you might well imagine that I am not in my most comfortable place just now. World events seem to be spinning out of control and I am sure many of us feel very vulnerable. The way I think about this is to examine how much I CAN control and then try and do something about that.

I mentioned the other day about having invested in some thermal underwear. I wasn’t joking.

Woollen base layers

And yes, it is an investment as the black ones are pure wool, the red one is 80% wool and quality has a price tag. But, before you walk away, let me tell you about why I think these are a good idea and how they are cost effective in the long term.

We are children of the 20th Century and I imagine most of the people who might be reading this have been privileged enough to be able to keep warm through the winter months. Oil, gas and electricity had mostly replaced filthy coal as fuels for heating our homes in the UK by the 70s or 80s. These fuels seemed cleaner, were readily available and were also relatively cheap.  We could sit in our homes, dressed in almost summer-like layers of clothing and not give it a thought.

Well, I think the party’s over.

It doesn’t matter what you have been using as fuel to heat your home with until now, the costs are rising at a truly shocking rate and, we have to brace ourselves, may not come down again in the foreseeable future. Madmen with nukes aside, the climate crisis has become the CLIMATE EMERGENCY and we do need to prepare if we can.

The first thing I can think to do to maintain control is: turn the thermostat down.

The second thing I can think to do is: lag the tank-in this case-me.

We all need to be able to carry on with our work and no one wants to dress as though they are going out to walk the dogs in order to stay warm enough indoors when the thermostat is turned down. I was doing some online research as prep for writing this today and ran across the advice in several places that we should all turn out thermostats down from 22 C to 20 degrees Celsius to save fuels and money.

22 degrees?! Are you kidding me? 

We have been at 20 degrees for a while now here at home and even my warmth loving husband had become quite used to it at that temperature. We have now turned it down to 18.5 (just over 65F) and are experimenting with wearing more clothing. This is were the thermals come in.

These garments represent modern technology at its finest and most useful. These are the sorts of technical garments that winter sports-loving people, or people who work outdoors in extreme temperatures, wear and still manage to have  smiles on their faces out in the freezing cold. If you search for “base layer” clothing, this sort of thing will pop up. They are knitted of quite thin jersey material (think t-shirt material with attitude), are very soft and the wool ones (made of merino wool) are not scratchy next to the skin. At lease, that is my experience and I have quite sensitive skin. They are machine washable (not suitable for the tumble dryer though), dry quickly and are available made of various materials. Even though they are thin, they do an amazing job of trapping body heat but with no feeling of OVER-heating. They truly regulate body temperature so I feel just like Goldilocks in mine. I have chosen wool as it is a sustainable, renewable material. I also have some 15 year old silk ones, still going strong- with a few timely mends here and there.

Both of these choices, although sustainable and renewable, would not be acceptable to a Vegan. There are loads of these types of thermals made of polyester and other man-made materials but, as I have mentioned before, these materials sheds tiny, plastic fibres into the washing water and, because the microfibres are SO tiny, they wash straight out and through any water cleansing systems and on out to sea. Have a look here for more info:,to%20several%20negative%20outcomes%20in%20aquatic…%20More%20

The microfibre issue is one I find particularly disturbing so that type of fabric is not for me.

Governments need to get their act together to educate and invest in growing hemp for the astonishing number of uses that natural material can offer us. Remember, you heard it here.

Let’s look at the math of my wool thermals purchase: my three tops cost an average of £45 each. Having three means I have one I am wearing, one being washed, and one ready to wear, wearing them on rotation. If I wear them every day for an average of 160 days a year in the UK, over 15 years, I make that just over 5p a wear over that time frame. I have a feeling that 5p a day is going to be a huge saving on where fuel costs are going to go over the next 15 years.  They will pay for themselves many times over (equals-me less grumpy), I will be warm (equals-me less grumpy) and I am helping the planet (equals-all of us less grumpy). And you can bet if I mend tea towels, I am going to mend these when they pop a hole!

Spring is possibly a good time to buy as people are starting to think about things warming up again. You can bet by NEXT Autumn, people might have cottoned on to these as a money saving concept and the prices will have gone up. Inflation added into that-buy now!

I will wash and dry my woollen ones well (moths love slightly dirty wool clothing) and then store them in the plastic bags they come in through the summer months. At least it’s a useful thing to do with a plastic bag.

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