Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Dropping Like a Stone


The thermometer is falling, fast. The lane is icy and we’ve had snow this afternoon.

I’ve been Christmas shopping, there is a very odd, jittery sort of atmosphere in retail land, I’m so very very glad I don’t inhabit that place anymore.

Back in the depths of winter-1


The good news is we had a delivery of heating oil last Saturday. When is comes to buying oil Mr Uhdd is a keen negotiator*, but he was a bit taken aback by  the price quoted by  the oil company CPL, an eye watering 61.95p per litre, they were, he concluded, taking the micky (or words to that effect)  and with a couple more phone calls he secured a delivery of 1000 litres, at 48.95p per litre from Crown Oil. He won’t be asking CPL for a price again;  for whilst there is always a bit of a playoff between oil companies, a penny or two a litre, we can’t help but think CPL were trying to milk the bad weather situation.

The shenanigans of oil companies is nothing new though, ‘Sid the boiler man’ (now sadly retired, we miss him) who used to come and breath new life into our boiler and Aga, was a man of very clear principles. So when he discovered just how much one of his customers was paying for oil, he took no prisoners: the customer, an elderly widow, was anxious about running out of fuel so she had a monitor on her oil tank that automatically told the  oil company when to come and refill it, which they gladly did, at a much higher price than the market rate. Well they did, until Sid got wind of it.

On another occasion it was a customer that fell foul of Sid’s principals. Sid used to service the customers boilers, that heated his palatial home and  glitzy swimming pool, that was until Sid discovered the customer had made his millions from running sex chat lines. ‘I’ll not take dirty money’ said Sid and that was the end of that.

* And as for electricity companies, well, where shall we start with that sack of weasels?

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

13 thoughts on “Dropping Like a Stone

  1. Electricity companies seem to be up to no good on both sides of the Atlantic, vampire weasels that they are! We’re bracing for yet another price hike by Nova Scotia Power in January. At least their record profits are keeping their shareholders warm. Sadly, I’m not one of them 😦 If our changing weather patterns give us a warmer winter than usual, we might get by with paying *only* as much as we did last year.

  2. This is such a great post I hardly know where to begin, but begin I shall.
    (1) That is an extremely handsome bird. Pettable.
    (2) A pox on all oil companies, although I spare a good thought for the Ellsworth Farmers Exchange, where I obtain my propane at a price that is the best they can negotiate for me.
    (3) Sid’s value was above rubies. I had a mechanic like that, and he had a son who worked with him. We all thought we were set for life, with men of character managing our transportation needs. Then the son died in an auto accident and the heart went out of the father and the shop is closed and I am still grieving. There is nothing at all like a family of character at work in a community.
    (4) Privately I think of my former husband as The Weasel. This is uncharitable but there you go. The thought of an entire sack of weasels is a perfect metaphor for everything that’s wrong with the world.

    You’ve cheered me up a lot, Mrs. Uhdd. Thank you. Now I’m going to dust the snow off the woodpile and make a nice fire. More than one way to skin a weasel.

  3. One way to reduce the oil price considerably is to chat up your nearest neighbours – I know they are not THAT near – then negotiate a price for several local deliveries from the same tanker. Does need someone to take charge of the ‘informal co-operative’ to check when others need oil though!
    How I miss my oil-fired Rayburn at this time of year although, now living on the outskirts of a village, I do have gas.

  4. Wonderful shot of the bird.

    We have the same thing going on here with our propane (gas) that we use for heating. M usually find the best deal he can in June when prices are low and pre-pays for what we hope will last for through the winter months when prices are terrible.

  5. Some friends of mine who still live where I grew up have been shocked beyond words at the rise in oil prices for heating. Being nowhere near the gas mains, they have little option. The mother of one just spent her entire Winter Heating Allowance on oil, and it didn’t even fill the tank. She may have no choice but to accept her childrens’ offer to top it up, but what about those who don’t have that choice?

  6. Trying not to fret at the thought of the level in our oil tank, several thousand miles away. We’ve left the heating on (as low as we dared), and the Rayburn chugging away providing background heating, and the Landlord popping in to keep an eye on things and we checked the level in our oil tank (half full) before we left but even so… here’s hoping we hit the happy medium between frozen pipes and a drained oil tank.

  7. I have my gas heat turned down to 67F(19C). I may turn it down even more after I get this month’s bill. The theory is that it cost nothing to put on more clothes. So far it has not gotten really cold here. Evidently last night was a 3-cat night, because when I awoke this morning, one was sleeping on my feet, one with his head on my shoulder, and the third was nestled into the small of my back.
    Don’t even get me started on the oil companies.

  8. Lovely photo, I’m always pleased to see the blackbirds.
    There’s been various articles about oil supplies with, as usual, lots of ‘weasel words’ by suppliers, the government etc.
    It’s snowing and settling here this morning which looks pretty but I’m glad that I don’t have to venture out in it! xx

  9. Pingback: Ouch « Town Mouse

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