Having lived in the North we thought we were pretty hardy but this recent cold snap has had us shivering despite now living in the much milder South West. Even with the heating on all day our big vicarage doesn’t really get warm (partly because, as the man who did the boiler MOT cheerfully told us, the radiators in every room are placed in the most ineffective place for actually heating the room.) But never fear, I have thought of some perks CSs get to enjoy living in a cold house.
1. Weight loss – just think of all the calories your body is burning to keep warm! No need to diet or exercise, you can just shiver your way to a slimmer waistline.
2. Food hygiene – it doesn’t matter if you forget to put the leftovers in the fridge, they will be kept at a perfectly safe temperature wherever you’ve left them in the kitchen.
3. Beverage cooling – your tipple of choice will be perfectly chilled anywhere in the house so you no longer need to waste time and energy traipsing back and forth to the fridge for a refill.
4. Hardy children – your offspring will be tough as nails, you could be raising the next Ranulph Fiennes.
5. Unwanted visitors – nobody will want to linger longer than necessary so you will get lots of peace and quiet in the winter months.
In all seriousness though, a challenging aspect of vicarage life is that the house and the clergy stipend are not a very good match, especially if you are in an old house. If you don’t have a decent second income it can be difficult to cover the heating costs especially if the house is used for church business and has to be kept warm for the comfort of visitors. If you really are suffering don’t do so in silence. It may be that the diocese needs to make improvements to the house or the PCC could help out with the cost of heating. As my other half likes to say “shy bairns get nowt” so it is always worth seeing what help is out there especially if anyone in your household has health issues. If your house is not fit for purpose keep pushing for it to be sorted until it is. Clergy will be less effective in their ministry if they are worried about their family freezing and it is these sort of pressures which can drain the CS enthusiasm for ministry life. There is nothing wrong with wanting your house to be at a decent temperature!