Yesterday was a very odd day indeed.
For the briefest of periods I contemplated having more spare funds in my personal account than I have seen in in the past fifteen years. It was a very brief period wherein I passed from alert, through dreams, to sober reality.
There was already a substantial (for me) sum in the bank from Christmas and I went shopping with that, knowing there was more to come.
What did I buy? I bought not one, but two of Colinette’s Arizona Dream bundles, with the notion of making one into one of the intended throws and the other into a jacket or cardigan for me – I’m thinking of doing some Jane Thornley style free-form knitting for a change. It is my non-calorific reward to myself for losing a stone in weight.
Mr L sent me an eBay URL to a second hand Marshall range. Long time followers will be aware that we removed the old Rayburn last year with the intent of installing a new range and that our desired model was the Marshal Alpha. We have now had sufficient winter without a range in the kitchen to know that we want to be warm next year. Being unsure about the ultimate price of this listing, Mr L went off on one of his periodic research trips and came back a little later with a new suggestion: Let’s get an AGA.
Excuse me? An AGA!
I forget his line of reasoning. It is safe to say that I was stunned. It is probably accurate to summarise thus: a reconditioned AGA is essentially a brand new one, though cheaper. An electric AGA is more economical to run than an oil-fired AGA as the oil models are not modern burners such as the Rayburn and the Marshal use. So why not buy a reconditioned electric AGA as an AGA has always been my dream, and stop cutting corners.
Well, who am I to argue.
It’s not straightforward, as is normally the case when making significant purchases from an outer island of Orkney. It is further complicated by the fact that 30 amp AGAs are seemingly hard to find these days, all the listings are for 13 amp models.
It may sound crazy but we do not need the much vaunted fuel economy of the 13 amp models. We want the “always on” feature that makes an AGA an AGA. The front room is large. It’s in the old stone-built cottage part of the house. We are at home all the time and I cook, daily.
What I want is a warm heart to the house. Once Mr L is fully retired (18 months or thereabouts from now) we anticipate that a range will draw us to live more in the front of the house and take us away from the office at the back. There will be room for me to spin or weave and knitting by the range or the fire at the other end of the room is a distinct possibility.
We would go onto an Economy n tariff for the power, using it sensibly and doing laundry and dishes etcetera overnight and heating the kitchen floor similarly. As we have mild winters, dislike heated bedrooms, Mr L is imminently moving back into this room as a shared office space and the newer part of the house is fully insulated, the central heating would see little use. Add to that the fact that an electric range does not require the same expensive servicing that an oil fired one would (see previous remark about outer island living – and triple the figure you had in your head – at least) and that Mr L can do electrics so can install it and maintain it himself… it all adds up to a more economic model than the Marshall running the central heating option that we had previously pencilled in.
At some future point we would remove the central heating and replace with a few storage heaters that would only see use in our colder winters, a panel heater in the bedroom and an electric towel rail in the bathroom and toilet.
No, the range won’t run when the power is off, but neither will the modern oil-fired range. The AGA is however a large storage heater so when the power goes off, the gentle warmth from the range will keep things cosy for many hours and cooking is also a possibility. This only holds true if the power supply goes down after the range has heated up overnight of course.
So far, so good. I was slightly distracted at this point, admiring yarn packs – choosing and checking pattern requirements etc. Plus being very excited about the lump of cash that had appeared in my account by now.
I also had some maintenance work to do on Sanday Spinners and a Farewell post to write. I was thinking about further yarn purchases, new needles, blending boards and future financial independence…
Mr L returned to say “Let’s get a 4 oven one” and I almost fainted. Every cook’s dream! I am not going to argue the toss on this one. The scale of the 4 oven model would fit the room dimensions so much better and I love cooking on a 4 oven AGA. Mr L tells me that the running cost differential is small – the 2 oven model uses 220 KWh and the 4 oven one needs 240 KWh.
Then it struck me.
I found myself uttering the words almost without thought: “I can give you £n,nnn towards it.”
Bye, bye to all dreams of several yarn-filled years.
Whatever possessed me?
Anyway, with that windfall and my tax rebate (just this moment arrived in our account – very speedy service from HMRC) we would be halfway to the price of a 4 door refurbished AGA, not counting the delivery (which will be horrendous.)
Enquiries have been made with several vendors and we now await the outcome.
So, what colour? I’m backing Red at the moment, which I think will look fantastic against the slate floor. Black is smart but would be very dark in combo with the flooring. White is out, so is the pale blue and the pale green but British Racing Green is a distinct option and so is the dark blue whereas Cream is such a classic… Overall, I want the room to have a very warm and cosy look and feel so I believe that will inform our eventual decision on colour. I see every reason to favour the red! Maybe purple, to go with the new kettle? Or yellow, to bring sunshine into the room?