So it’s winter here in the Southern Hemisphere.
I know this, intellectually. But there’s still something shocking about walking outside and discovering icy rain and cold wind and temperatures in the 30s…
I’m not going to lie. After the winter we had in Delaware, when it seemed to be freezing from November through March, it’s a little rough.
The temperatures outside are chilly; indeed, the cashiers and clerks and every day people I speak with are quite perturbed by their unseasonably cold weather. Last night some icy pellets fell from the sky and this caused even greater concern. Apparently snow only falls and sticks once every couple of years in Christchurch. When that happens the buses stop running, the schools close, and people don’t report for work.
When I say that we had 18 measureable snowfalls two winters ago they look rather horrified.
But the outdoor temperatures are nothing we can’t handle. It’s the inside chill that gets me down. Everyone we’ve talked to has agreed that New Zealand builders did not have a lot of foresight about how to best insulate houses against the elements. Most houses, ours included, don’t have central heating; instead homeowners rely on fireplaces, electric heaters, heated blankets, or just layering to deal with the bone-numbing cold.
We’ve been here just over a week, and were getting frustrated about the inadequate home heating situation. In addition, James’ employer generously covers up to NZ$200 per month for electric, but the paperwork also warns that that amount likely won’t cover all the heating costs if tenants run the heaters a lot.
Enter the pellet stove.
My parents have a pellet stove in their home that heats it to toasty in the long winter months, so this is a familiar option for home heating. Tonight we bought pellets and got a nice fire going. Now we’re roasting at a balmy 66 degrees in the living room!
And I’ve already set my bed warmer so that when I slide between the sheets in a few minutes, I won’t even get goosebumps.