Nearly back to square one

So we are back to a full lockdown, with the significant difference that vaccinations are starting to happen even up here. With a predominantly white and elderly population locally, take up is likely to be high, as it has been with the flu vaccine.

As well as my usual activities, this is a time of year when I have to invest quite heavily in wood fuel for my solid fuel burner, which provides both hot water and central heating. There has been quite a lot of publicity about the disadvantages of wood fuel stoves, but I have always bought kiln dried wood, and this year increasingly heatlogs . Delivery can be a problem when you live at the bottom of a private track which is itself at the bottom of a steep narrow dead end lane, but I have worked out ways of getting supplies into the back of the car . Loose logs are far too much effort, so I buy bags or nets of various kinds, which I can get into the house from the car by wheelbarrow. A good keep fit exercise in itself. In North Wales there appears to have been a big increase in demand this winter, but I have now got enough to last me until the Spring. If I had known 20 years ago what I know now, I would have set up an air or ground source heatpump, but that’s idle speculation until the system needs replacing.

It is not only bulky items that can generate delivery issues. Like so many others, I am making more use of orders online. Drivers under pressure can resort to several strategies to avoid coming down to the house. This was one delivery of frozen meat recently, a polystyrene box put in the top of my wheelie bin, by my letter box, a hundred and thirty metres from my house. Fortunately I had an email confirming delivery, but had to walk up and collect it in the dark and the rain, before the bin was emptied the following day.

When drivers do take the trouble to come to the house, they can arrive in vehicles too large for the purpose, and have trouble getting back to the road. One recently tried to reverse up, but only the post van and its regular driver has the expertise to pull off that trick. This driver had to call for recovery before I was able to get him down again and turn round to get up frontwise. Some damage to the track resulted. Occasionally a driver will realise that he can’t get down, and spends five minutes walking down with the consignment. The most extreme delivery last year was of three small electrical items which came in a virtually empty 18 tonne van.


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