Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Preparing for winter part 2

Whilst we don't regularly suffer extreme weather conditions in the UK (last year being an 'extreme' winter for us), we do have four 'proper' seasons. I like winter weather, as long as I am prepared for it. I like the cosy feeling of being wrapped up and impervious to the gales and to the drenching rain. I like being swathed in layers of fabric and hats and gloves and scarves, big chunky boots and socks.

I am shockingly under prepared in the clothing department for winter this year. The dull winter coat that I have sported for the last two years, that I bought out of desperation just as cold weather set in, was never really that warm and never fitted my long top heavy frame properly. Last year's snow and slush was a miserable experience as the icy winds went straight through me - one of the reasons that I couldn't wait for spring to arrive this year. My lovely winter boots that have seen me through the last few years fell completely apart this spring - zip and soles - and the quoted cost of repairing them was astronomical. This year I need to replace almost everything and don't want to succumb to desperation and part with more cash for less value than I have too. 

Whilst Operation Preparing for Winter Part 1 isn't going so well (as you can see from all that still naked glazing and wispy curtains), clothing us is going rather better. I rediscovered the joys of eBay this week and for the princely sum of £21.78 (inclusive of P&P) I have bought my own and the kids' winter coats.

I didn't expect to find a full length wool coat, in my size and in mint condition, within 5 minutes of beginning to look - a coat I actually lusted after brand new a couple of years ago but that was way out of my budget, so this was obviously (obviously) meant to be. It certainly made the frustrating hour I spent recovering my long abandoned eBay and Paypal accounts worthwhile. The Boy is delighted with his faux-sheepskin hooded coat and has been parading around the house in it for much of the day. The Girl's coat is in the post and I am just hoping that she likes purple.  Buying second-hand clothing makes some people squeamish, but when it comes to expensive garments like outerwear that you want to last a few years, it makes perfect sense. It is also the way to go for children - The Boy's first coat cost an arm and a leg new, for just four months of wear. This coat should see me through several years - at least four or five, hopefully more - if I look after it. It is warmer, longer and more attractive than anything I could buy on the high street for the same price, if I could buy anything for the same price. It is definitely worth the time and effort of searching regularly (out of season) for whatever you need.

There is still plenty to be done. I need to dig out and launder the winter accessories. Gloves need to be strung together so that when they are inevitably lost, they are lost in pairs and won't feel lonely. The Girl won't be old enough for shoes and I feel a woolly-bootie craft project coming on. The adults in this house could probably do with some nice warm woolly socks too, though I have never actually finished any of the knitted pairs that I have started and there is no reason to suspect that this year will be any different. I am even considering giving primitive crocheted socks a go as I imagine that they grow faster and less complainingly than their knitted counterparts. Pyjamas and slippers and robes need to be sourced too as we are determined to keep the heating off as much as possible this year. The to-do lists are getting ever longer, but actually this one is much more manageable than the house prep - and the thought of being wrapped up in swathes of warm fabric when this lovely warm weather fades makes me almost excited about the prospect of a cold winter.

And yes, I understand that Sod's law dictates that this will be the mildest winter on record. Better to make hay whilst the sun shines, however, just in case.


  1. The long coat is gorgeous!

  2. The coats looks great. We have a great consignment shop in the area and twice a year they have 50-80% off their remain stock of either winter or summer clothes (in January and August). So in January I stocked up on things for my sons first year (he was born in February) I think I spent about $30 dollars and had most of his cold weather clothes for his first year, getting two winter coats for about $2 US each, both barely worn and good brands too! Coming up in a month are the summer 50-80 sales, and I'll be stocking up with things for next year!
    There's nothing wrong with being a quality snob as long as you're honest about you budget - I only go for quality materials and brands when I'm thrifting and that helps the pennies go even farther!

  3. Better to be over prepared, than under. After all, you can always take off a layer etc, but thats hard to do if not prepared.

  4. The rowans are groaning with berries again this year, so it looks like another cold one.

  5. Thank you, I know I struck particularly lucky with the coat. With the exception of shoes for my big feet, I look for almost everything second-hand first. Out of season or end of season is usually the best time to look. EBay helps with finding quality too, also trips to charity shops in the more upmarket areas of the city.

    As for the Rowans, well there may well be something in that. On holiday in Norfolk last autumn the hedgerows were bursting, more so even than normal (and Norfolk does good hedgerows!) - and look at the winter that followed just one month later.


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