As I write this, the temperature outside is zero degrees F. That’s thirty two degrees below freezing for us Europeans! Our heat pump is going flat out and just managing to hold 68 degrees in the bookstore. On days like this we don’t expect many customers. Everyone is huddled inside, the local schools and colleges closed because of the ice rinks that used to be roads.
Wendy and I have moved our center of today’s operations upstairs to the Second Story Cafe where it’s just a bit warmer (two degrees, to be precise). She is writing in the guest room and I am running the bookstore from a cafe table.
Locals tell us that the last few weeks are the coldest they can remember for a long time and I believe it. Even for a weathered Scotsman like me, this is freakishly cold.
Winters in Scotland…. ah, I thought I’d left them behind. I often tell folk that summers here are considerably warmer, but winters are much the same. This is not what I’m used to. Also, these really cold spells seem worse because the summers are so hot to me, creating more of a contrast. Then, too, the bookstore is in a big old house with drafty windows and doors. In Scotland, I believe the houses were better equipped to handle cold weather.
Amidst the polar vortex onslaught, this place still manages to be an oasis (or perhaps an arctic camp) for some of our hardier customers. Our excellent chef Kelley has slept in the guest room these past two nights, to be sure of opening for hot breakfasts, and people are showing up, cold, wet and hungry for these and her bowls of warming lunch soups. Even our defiantly outdoor cat Beulah has given in and taken up residence (also in the guest room, fighting for bed space with Kelley) until things improve.
So we wait, hopefully and patiently, for the promised return more normal temperatures by the end of the weekend, and–less hopefully–for our January power bill. But I do think about grabbing Wendy and making a trip to Scotland soon, just to warm up. It might prove cheaper than heating the bookstore.