Cold weather blues

We woke up this morning to find frost on the inside of some of the saloon windows. Granted, it was -10 C overnight last night (though the “feels like” was closer to -15!), but we keep our thermostat up there set to 5C overnight to try and prevent this sort of thing…

So it’s good that we’d planned ahead during the first cold snap at the end of November and installed some “ghetto double glazing” to those massive saloon windows. For anyone not familiar with Hendrik – she was operating as a summer-only hotel for canoeing holidays up until we bought her three years ago, so there’s scant insulation throughout and only single glazing on all the windows. The saloon is currently the last phase of our (approx 10 year) renovation plans, so the cost of any small improvements made now to the saloon will be divided over a fair number of winters.

The small improvements on heat retention here came in the form of 3mm plexiglass sheets with foam weather stripping stuck around the edges, which were then screwed to the walls around the large saloon windows. We’re not stupid – we know there’s no seal there so it’s not as if this is double-glazing, but at £50 a window (they’re 1m by 1.2m each!), there is a noticeable difference of several degrees in the saloon with them installed, and it means we still get the light through and with no distortion to our view outside. There are tons of better window insulators out there, but none that would retain our light and view like this. And this also means we can just unscrew these in summer to regain the opening of those big windows (which give a beautiful breeze throughout when it’s hot outside!) with only a few tell-tale screw holes remaining.

Over the course of two nights, James got them up and screwed into the walls (our neighbour Sujith was looking pretty grateful for a few extra degrees!)…

James pulling the paper off the plexiglass Sujith and James with the plexiglass

So now the big radiator in the saloon is struggling to keep the temperature at around 15-16C in there rather than 12-13C before the plexiglass was installed. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is the difference between being able to sit comfortably with a sweater in there, vs having to wear a coat and gloves and see your breath eating dinner. At least our bedroom, bathroom, and my sewing room are plenty cosy right now!

TV alert!


Remember back in August when Nigel Slater came round for tea? Well, our episode is finally airing this week, as the last of the season! So if you’re in the UK (or Ireland, or some parts of France and The Netherlands), please tune in to BBC1 on Wednesday 22 December at 20:30 to watch us (In Scotland it’s slightly earlier, 19:05 on BBC2)! We’ll be a 10 minute segment in the middle of the 30min show, so you can see our beautiful moorings and boat in the summertime sunshine. Which is a bit nicer than our deck looks right now!

Snowing on hendrik's deck

- posted by Melissa Fehr on 20 December 2010, 13:29 in