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Tom Wrigglesworth on the perils of heating your home

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 March 2017

Tom Wrigglesworth

Tom Wrigglesworth


Tom survives a skiing trip relatively unscathed but returns to find his Sheffield home distinctly chilly.

Hello there! I hope this month’s Yorkshire Life magazine finds you well. In fact, considering I am writing this during the first turbulent, intense and chilling week of President Trump’s stint as President of the United States, it may be more actuate to say I hope this column finds you at all. It doesn’t seem overly pessimistic to at least allow oneself the morbid fantasy that by the time this is published, Yorkshire has been flattened by a nuclear warhead that was fired off in anger following a diplomatic misunderstanding between Mike Pence and Geoff Boycott.

It was recently in the news that our own nuclear deterrent system, Trident, failed a test flight by not following its prescribed course and people from all sides of the debate weighed in to reignite the argument about whether we need such a thing at all. Personally, I’m all for global nuclear disarmament but if we are going to have it, I don’t see a big problem with the fact that ours is partial to firing on the wonk. After all, the scariest kid in my school was not only physically more capable than most of his peers, he also had a very short fuse and a tendency to lash out. This meant when he did inevitably lose his temper, every child within ten meters was a potential target for his blizzard of punches and volleys of abuse. Scaling this up to an international level it seems logical to conclude that the only thing more terrifying than continent melting nuclear missiles is the added element of unpredictability thrown into the mix.

I managed to get away during the opening – and hopefully the most turbulent – period of Donald Trump’s presidency by agreeing to do a few gigs in the Alps. Skiing by day and performing stand up by night. This also gave me a perfect opportunity to test run my new heating system that is magically connected to my phone via a service called ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT). The idea is that if I leave a designated area, in my case South Yorkshire, the system will know that the journey is a significant one and automatically switch my heating off. I’m pretty sure even Gandalf himself can’t boast that level of utter sorcery.

My Dad was typically dismissive of the whole thing, their home heating is activated from September to April by a manual timer which warms the rooms just in time for getting up, and again in the evening. The fact my parents are retired and no longer follow the schedule of a nine-to-fiver hasn’t percolated down to such petty issues of home comfort. On the contrary, any murmur from me claiming the living room is cold doesn’t trigger a review of their thermostatic settings, but rather a suggestion from them that I need to man up or put another jumper on.

On the whole the skiing trip passed without incident, I’m actually proud to say that slipping in a vaguely controlled way down a snowy mountain left me with no injuries whatsoever. However, I still managed to dislocate my knee, bruise the side of my face and dent my pride beyond recognition when I attempted to carry an over-priced plate of chips across a wet restaurant floor while wearing ski boots. Anyone who’s been in this situation will know that they are a death trap of a combination. I’ve a suspicion that the food served in these establishments is so eye poppingly expensive because at least ten percent of purchases involve a clean up job and ten percent of those result in an air ambulance being scrambled to come to the aid of someone who’s smashed their coccyx to smithereens while twenty Euros worth of croque monsieur are splattered across the cutlery and condiment table.

To add insult to injury my central heating system didn’t fire up when I re-entered the assigned zone of South Yorkshire and I limped back to a cold house. My Dad’s response, given as usual without necessarily asking for it, was that it was all my own doing. ‘You should never leave Yorkshire,’ he said. ‘If you’d have stayed put you’d be walking properly in a warm house’. As I staggered off to put another jumper on I couldn’t help thinking he was right.

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