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Top tips for surviving the winter in the countryside

Winter is creeping up on us, and in the depths of a second lockdown, Claire Markwell of Winkworth Devizes provides her top tips for embracing rural life and surviving winter in the countryside.

log-burner

Claire lives in rural Wiltshire and is an expert at making the most of winter in the countryside.

  • Two words:  Sloe Gin.  Lots of it.  It’ll keep the cold out, I’m sure it’s packed with vitamin C and it tastes delicious
  • Buy your firewood, don’t go collecting your own.  There’s a real danger of physical harm if you start wielding an axe and no one wants to cut off a useful foot.  Buy cut, seasoned wood and feel smug as you gaze at your beautifully stacked log pile
  • Have all your chimneys swept.  It really is important.  Similarly, have your boiler serviced in good time for the onset of winter.
  • Take a picture of your car, by the time we get to next April you’ll have forgotten what the original colour was; it’s muddy in the countryside.
  • Heavy, interlined curtains both look lovely and will help keep out drafts and lower heating bills.
  • Talk to the neighbours, a lot of rural properties won’t have mains gas so many locals gather together to form a buying cartel to get a good deal from the local oil supplier
  • A useful new hobby is stitching draft excluders to run along the bottom of doors.
  • Take up shooting.  Clays or game, it’s a sociable pastime and a lovely reason to get out and enjoy the countryside
  • Stock up on cashmere sweaters; think of it as an investment.  However, beware older properties can be rife with moths.  You have been warned.
  • If you can afford one, consider an AGA, an Everhot is the modern electric equivalent;  either will ensure a cosy kitchen at any time of the day and makes coming home a real pleasure.  Plus think of all those slow cooked casseroles in the bottom oven and all that freshly aired laundry on the top.  It’s a capital investment that will add to the value of your house.
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