Christmas in Culan
December 1, 2021 and the Christmas lights have been switched on in Culan. I know this because there is a display right outside of my office window over Grande Rue and as soon as it became dark, around 4pm, the bright neon almost blinded me.
The Mairie has also put up little wooden Christmas trees by the roadside to bring some festive cheer to a depressed high street.
This week has been all about trying to keep warm in the house. When I arrived back from Zurich last week it was snowing and temperatures have struggled to get above three Celsius.
Without the luxury of central heating we are constantly feeling the cold. I have a radiator in my office so can keep fairly warm while working. We also have an electric wall radiator in the bedroom that takes the chill off and Sadie currently works in the sitting room with the wood burning stove blazing and the cats for company.
Sundry heating is comprised of a rather modern and efficient Japanese paraffin space heater and a new Calor gas heater that we put in the outbuilding while working. Both appliances were left by the previous owner, who now lives in Majorca, where no doubt it’s a lot warmer on winter evenings … we understand now why he moved.
The eventual plan is to install a wood burning stove in the guest house, and perhaps get the ornate stove in our bedroom fitted and working as there already exists a chimney.
For now, we have plenty of wood and fuel, without having to use the electric wall heaters after being hit with a 750-euro electric bill for the year on top of the 1200 euros we have already paid via a monthly debit.
Luckily we can afford it and of course by working from home I save on commuting and other expenses, but it was still quite a hit. France is not immune to the global fuel and energy crisis, but one aspect of this country, which still adheres to some form of socialist principles, is the fact energy companies cannot cut people off who are struggling to pay their bills, and must provide electric for basic needs.
The house is a lot more warmer and cosier than our first winter and we have made it into a home, although there is still have a lot of work to do.
For now we live a simple, good life, and while the woodshed is stocked with logs, we won’t freeze.