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Winter is here.

Cold weather is forecast.

Snow is predicted.


Pop round and see if they have enough food in - as when there is snow and ice it is dangerous for the elderly and infirm to get out.

Elderly people feel the cold much worse.

Offer to go shopping for them - or even pop in with some porridge pots - tins of soup, anything that is easy to heat up quickly. Have they enough blankets to keep warm under. Is their boiler working okay.


Stuck indoors avoiding the snow and ice. Loneliness is as much a killer as the cold.

If you have an old quilt or any old blankets, offer them to a homeless person - freely and from the heart - as how would you like to be out sleeping rough in this weather. * ( see below )

Here in the south we rarely get snow - maybe once a decade and then it doesn't last.

The further north you go, snow is common - yet every year you hear people complaining when the power goes out - when they have no electric and no heating - cannot get to the shops and have no food in - no candles - nothing - and yet - it's not as if the snow has come as a surprise as ' up north' gets snow most years.

So plan ahead.

Night Lights - or T Lights - are superb BUT ALWAYS put them in a glass container and not just as they are as they get VERY hot and will burn through plastic work tops and cause a fire.

Placing 4 or 5 T Lights under a terracotta pot on a heat proof surface - allowing for air to circulate under - creates a hot surface that helps keep the room warm. I have several at Hamilton Hall and in this cold weather - use on a daily basis.


I keep tons of salt in stock to put around the pavement areas outside Hamilton Hall if and when - as there is a school locally and this helps - and if everyone just did their bit to help - just some solution on the pavement outside their residence - the local council can get on with more important things like clearing roads etc. I recently learned that salt is not good but we use what we have.

I am currently sitting at this computer, - it's Saturday December 2nd 2023 - with thick double lined sweat pants on - a long sleeved T Shirt, a polo shirt with long sleeves and 2 - yes 2 - thick hoodies with both hoods up. The heating goes off at 10.30am as with no one in, I have to save on costs where I can and I will sit here in the freezing cold if it enables me to save a little towards when we do have guests in and we need the place warm. I will go without so we can afford to keep going. My feet are freezing cold almost right up to my knees. My nose is dribbling from the cold and my whole body is on the verge of a great shiver but is just about okay. I have a bowl of hot porridge and a massive mug of hot tea ( the size of 3 normal mugs ) and with the dog cuddled at my feet, just imagine what it will be like if and when the snow comes and the temperature drops some more ??? I have lit a couple of the terracotta pots detailed above in my room - and will snuggle in front of the telly with a quilt and all wrapped up warmer than I am here and now... but with work to do, even indoors, it is c-c-c-cold. I am looking forward ti cuddling up under a quilt and watching STRICTLY tonight.

* A friend of a friend back in the late 80's lost his lover to HIV / AIDS.. He had a big breakdown - lost his job and his income - lost his mortgage and so lost his home. The council was housing him in a hostel but most nights it was full and he was on the streets anyway as there were far too many homeless people to be bedded.

This was brought about by no fault of his own.

He HAD to appear / remain homeless and stay in the hostel - or they would say he was not homeless and be turned down if he stayed a few nights in my house as he would loose his place in the system.

He wasn't a bum. He wasn't a low life or a scrounger. Life had dealt him a blow and it took a long time before the council put him in emergency housing - a flat - and it still took a long time for him to mentally get it together again and get a job and start again. NOT ALL HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE DRUG ADDICTS OR DRUNKS.

I recently gave £10 to a homeless person and I told him that my friends always tell me I shouldn't as all a homeless person will do with the money is buy alcohol and drugs - and I had to point out to the guy that that was what I was going to spend it on anyway - so BIG DEAL - let the homeless man enjoy a few hours of relative peace and get stoned / pissed and good luck to him - as what is he expected to do, save my £10 and put it towards a deposit on a flat ??? Don't even think such silliness. Clearly there is a housing shortage and clearly there are scores sleeping rough - so let's help them in whatever way we can - just be very careful and not dumb - and do not offer someone a bed in your nice warm house as - that can lead to all sorts of problems. I admit when we are empty and there are bedrooms warm - I do think about helping the homeless but - NOT A GOOD IDEA. Leave it to the organisations that do help and why not donate to their work financially.


Share your winter stories with us here.


I got stuck in Rushville, Nebraska one winter time. The weather changed so quickly and the airports were closed, roads were blocked and the snow came up to the roof line at the back of the house but was clear at the front. Nebraska is very flat and the wind piles the snow up against any object and luckily it was the back and not the front of the house. The oil tank was insulated and inside the garage that was heated otherwise the oil would freeze and then - no heating. I stayed inside for 3 weeks and this is the part of America where everyone keeps massive winter stocks in - as when it is that cold, no one wants to venture out and I admire those who do for work etc. and I don't think I have ever watched so much TV in a three week time frame until the roads were cleared and we returned to Denver and eventually flew home to San Francisco where it was glorious weather.

It was great fun being snowed in - but locals put up with this almost every year and if ever there was an excuse to leave and go live some place warmer, this would be it.



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