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I did worry the other day when we had the first real cold snap since summer finished. For most of last year, I was on crutches and the usual firewood collecting (along with a lot of other things) was not done and I eyed my dry firewood pile up with dismay. It is not large and it certainly is not big enough to keep me warm for all of this coming winter.

Turning a heater on is not an option for me and I know the firewood I have is going to be far more useful later in the year when it will be needed to do two jobs for the same heat ... keeping me warm and helping to maintain a dry house. At this time of the year, the house is dry and fresh because it's still hot enough to have the doors and windows open during the day and I couldn't justify burning fuel to do just one job.

But it was a cold snap - below five degrees - veritably freezing. It was going to be a three-cats-on-the-bed night and I was chilly. I thought of a chap I had met who avoided the power problem by heading to bed but that wasn't going to work because I had 'stuff to do'. Yet I really didn't want to burn any of my precious supply just to keep me warm for a couple of hours.

And then the solution appeared as I checked the wardrobe for something warmer to wear. There, tucked in the back waiting for winter, was my ski gear. Why not I thought and, ten minutes later, I was dressed for the snow. I was snug, warm, elegantly attired and definitely feeling in a holiday mood as I slayed (excuse the pun) the evening's tasks. It was also good to be more efficient with an otherwise expensive, but little used, asset.

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