By / 14th June, 2014 / Ponden life / Off

Pondenhall_blog_woodpileJune 12, 2014

When we moved into the house 16 years ago it’s fair to say it was very, very cold… That winter we had a tarpaulin instead of a roof, since the building work on the new roof had gone on and on, through autumn, and well into the windy, wuthering weather of a Pennine winter. One night we got back late from a very posh do to find the tarpaulin had blown off in a high wind and was heading at some speed towards Lancashire… Rain was pouring through the naked rafters and filling up the house fast, so, at 2am, in ballgown and black tie, we set to with mops and buckets to sop up the worst of it. That was the beginning of our coldest ever winter.

Nights were perishing, even cocooned in bed in woolly hats and fingerless gloves, wound into a selection of duvets. We warmed 2p pieces – like Kay and Gerda in The Snow Queen – to make peepholes in the ice on the inside of the windows. We were using Calor gas stoves in a couple of rooms, but the warmth never reached further than a couple of feet from the stove, and you can’t spend your day anchored to a Calor-gas cylinder. Though we did try, to be fair…

Pondenhall_logburner

Over the years to come we installed underfloor heating beneath the ground floor-flags, which hadn’t been moved since being laid in 1634. Underfloor heating revolutionised our lives, and downstairs was suddenly warm and cosy – you could use all the rooms! Upstairs, though, remained unheated until very recently, when, mindful of our poor guests visiting through the winter, we installed some extremely beautiful and powerful Swedish wood-burning stoves that kick out 7KW of heat.

Now we have our logs delivered by Tommy from Bingley Logs – two tonnes at a time – and this morning spent a very satisfying couple of hours wheeling and stacking this lot, ready to carry up to the bedrooms.

And when those logs are in the stove, and it’s burning away merrily on the hearth, it looks like this – the height of cosiness. Ponden Hall is finally warm, and it feels wonderful.
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