Yesterday, our newish boiler gurgled a couple of times and emitted something half way between a roar and a groan. Its blue light flashed. 'I am close to death,' it said, 'forcing me to operate in these Siberian winds was frankly ridiculous.' Then it expired. I tried to resuscitate but its spark had gone. I phoned our heating engineer and left a message, and today left another one. I expect he's busy, and I'm wondering if other people's boilers have suddenly given up the ghost too.
So today I curl up by the fire and catch up with my reading (Modern Korean Fiction edited by Bruce Fulton and Youngmin Kwon) because it is too cold to do anything else. I have cancelled everything. It was -2 last night, and -5 tonight - the coldest days of the year so far - the chill compensated a little by the clarity of the sky and a brightly lit day of long shadows.