Things That Start To Happen When The Central Heating Comes Back On

Our central heating kicked in over the weekend and it got me thinking about the things that start to happen when the nights are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air.

Is it too early to start my Christmas shopping yet? I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy the last three months of the year. There’s Halloween, Bonfire Night, cosy nights in front of the television watching Strictly Come Dancing and the first signs of Christmas are already being emailed to me as well as showing signs of appearing in the shops.

Autumn leaves on a path
Autumn leaves. My favourite time of the year.

I always plan to start my Christmas shopping early. I do the same thing every year. The moment the central heating comes on for the first time after the autumn equinox, I tell myself I’m going to sit down and write a gift list and start asking family and friends what they want for Christmas.

Of course, it doesn’t help when my sister-in-law flatly refuses to tell me what she wants for Christmas because she’s not even going to start thinking about Christmas until December 1st! Blimey, by then I will already have got myself an advent calendar and will have eaten the first of the 24 chocolates behind those doors. I did buy her an advent calendar one year, but she ended up giving it away to a five-year-old. Maybe the chocolates inside weren’t to her taste, but I could have sworn they were her favourite. Then again, maybe it was because I gave her the calendar in October?

I’ve also sorted out the coat rack. Gone are the light coloured summer jackets and in are the warm snuggly woollens and waterproofs. Along with my wide-brimmed hat, which stops the sun burning my pale complexion, my shorts and milk bottle coloured legs have been put away for another nine months. I’ve also replaced most of the bottles of sunscreen with various cures for colds, coughs and flu, although left one bottle out in the hope that we’ll have lots of cold sunny days this winter. Yes, I even burn in the winter.

Holly bush
Holly. My favourite plant.

I got quite excited at seeing my winter clothes again. It was like opening the front door to a bunch of long lost friends. I even cuddled one of my winter jumpers (the one with the reindeer and snowflakes) and whispered to it ‘soon, very soon.’

My socks have also made their first appearance for five months, now that I’m back to wearing long trousers. I caught a brief glimpse of last year’s Christmas socks, but it’s not quite time to bring them out just yet. No, they’ll have to wait at least another week!

Last night, for pudding, we had apple and blackberry pie with custard. For me, this is a sure sign that the central heating has come back on. Gone are the bowls of healthy fruit salads, ice cream or the ‘no pudding for me, thank you’ and in comes the jam roly poly, spotted dick, treacle sponge, all served with lashings and lashings of hot custard. Can you guess what my favourite pudding is? It’s not one that I’ve mentioned.

Emma Bridgewater Holly Teapot
My Emma Bridgewater Holly Teapot. It’s quite rare which means it stays on display all year!

What happens in your house when the central heating comes back on? Will anyone admit to already having finished their Christmas shopping?

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  1. Sure sounds like you are ready for the cold winds to blow and the snow to come, Hugh. I am enjoying the fall for now. Don’t like to think of the cold weather just yet. I will begin shopping second week of November for Christmas.
    Love to make pumpkin and apple pies, chocolate chip cookies and Portuguese Bisquits for the holiday even though I can’t eat any of them (gluten allergy). Sigh! I can at least enjoy the smells though of them baking! Yumm! I will make a gluten free dessert for myself so I won’t feel left out. LOL! Being from USA I don’t know any of those desserts you mentioned but I do like custard if I can make it with lactose free milk, another allergy.
    I like to make crockpot meals in the winter months, delicious one dish norishing meals. The house smells so good too! I think I am getting into the cold weather mode too! Haha! 😘

    1. Your house sounds the place to be during the Autumn, Janice. All that homemade baking – wow!

      Those puddings I mentioned are classic British desserts. There are many more. I only have to look at a Jam Roly-Poly and custard and the pounds pile on.

      I love crockpot meals as well. We’ve had a couple this week and they were delicious. I’m very lucky to have an excellent cook for a partner. If it weren’t for him, I’d be living on baked beans on toast!

      Happy Autumn.

      1. Yeah, I hear that. Where I live (Abu Dhabi) we have two seasons. Actually, it’s just a variation of one: hot and dang hot. It does make for an easy wardrobe.

  2. I’ve just come back from Barcelona where it was still 24 degrees, so at the moment it’s a shock to the system. I’m not sure if I’m coming or going, but living alone, other than the clothes, I don’t see much change (oh, and winter tyres). I carry on with salads no matter the weather. I’m tough like that…;) (Oh, and I’m with your sister on Xmas. The later the better).

    1. I can imagine it being quite a shock, Olga, although I do prefer this autumnal weather compared to the very hot and humid days summer can bring.
      Enjoy your salads. I don’t know why, but they just don’t taste the same to me when it’s cold outside. I seem to prefer a big bowl of hot soup.

  3. Oh, I so enjoyed reading this post, Hugh! No, it’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas. Such a joyous time of year. I will admit to having purchased mini China tea sets in an Alice in Wonderland pattern for my two of my little grand-daughters. Couldn’t resist! I love your tea pot-I collect Christmas tea pots, myself. We usually enjoy home-made apple crumb pie for Christmas desert, not to mention all of the cookies I bake. Oh, I can’t wait!!! Thank you, Hugh.

    1. Thank you, Kim. I’ve been delighted with the reaction to this post.

      I’d love to see those Christmas teapots. Do you use them? I have a collection of Christmas mugs and plates. Too many of them to ever all use up. However, my niece uses her Christmas themed mugs all year round. Good for her, not so good for her mum (who is my sister-in-law and won’t talk about Christmas until December 1st!)

      1. After Thanksgiving, I’ll write a post about my holiday tea-pots, Hugh. I display them year-round, and use one or two at Christmastime. They all give me great pleasure. Yours is absolutely lovely!

  4. I have to admit I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I went to Primark the other day and saw all the new winter clothes. Scarfs, jumpers, cardigans, gloves oh my!

    1. I think some of the shops have had their Winter collections out since August! Always make me laugh when it’s hot and sunny the winter clothes are in the shops, and when it’s cold and wet the summer clothes are in the shops. There must be some crazy method behind it.

    1. Good for her, Andrew. I admire people who do that. It’s the best time to do it, although the sales do seem to start a few weeks before Christmas now.
      I’ve never been to Trecco Bay. Bring some extra layers with you. You’ll need them.

  5. I loved every word of this post. It made me laugh. I turned on my heat when my nose started to run from the cold inside. Kept thinking a few weeks ago I would have given anything for the AC to cool it down to that temp. Now it’s too cold? I LOVE fall and winter but the holidays are work for me. I have to have all my gifts made by Christmas so I have already started now that the many birthdays are done. Christmas baking will start next weekend. My daughter comes and we do it together. I gift the neighbors and friends with baked goods too. Winter clothes are my favorite as I can hide a few more pounds in them which can’t be hidden in summer wear. Cold weather does bring out the desire for comfort foods and a little brandy. 🙂 Yes, I’ve started the little bit of Christmas shopping I’m going to do. If putting it in your Amazon cart counts. 🙂 Have a wonderful Autumn. Thanks for the smiles.

    1. That’s such a lovely opening in a comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed my post.

      How lovely that your daughter also joins you when the Christmas baking starts. It’s things like this that bring people together which we should encourage a lot more of. I love that you also do your gift making over a long stretch of time so that there is no last minute panicking. Leaving it in the Amazon cart? At least you have made a start. Some of us wait until December (when the shops are busier).

      Enjoy the cooler days and chilly nights. At least I can now sleep under the covers.

  6. What happens in our house when the central heating comes on? A lot of moaning normally – I hate the cold! having said that, I went sailing at the weekend and was cursing that I’d worn long trousers, so I don’t think it’s that cold yet. And, to be fair, there are the up sides you mentioned: Halloween and Christmas.

    1. More like chilly rather than cold, Graham. The real cold is often reserved for January and February, although I seem to remember it once snowing in May!
      I’ve already got the treats for Halloween (and hoping and praying that nobody calls, so I can have the lot!). 👻

      1. We don’t worry about waiting for Halloween to get the treats in – that’s why I’m steadily working towards Type 2 diabetes.
        As it happens, for some reason our street makes a real fuss on Halloween, so we have to stock up big time. We are also not averse to dressing up so we can answer the door in costume – vampire, ghost and skeleton spring immediately to mind, and that was just me. We have a steady stream of kids (also dressed up), often with parents (a surprising number of which are also dressed up) accompanying them from around 5pm till after eight. It’s great fun, and a lovely forerunner to Christmas.

        1. Trouble is, Graeme, if it’s in the house, I’ve got to eat it!!

          Halloween in your street sounds like great fun. I always used to dress up in black-tie and love splattering my white shirt with real fake blood. I’ll have to dig out some photos and frighten the life out of you all.

          I agree. It’s a lovely run up to Christmas. I also enjoy bonfire night, but Toby (our dog) isn’t so keen on it.

  7. I am your sister in law. You are FAR too enthusiastic. Hate winter. Hate the dark. Hate Christmas. and on that cheery note…! lol. I do however love your enthusiasm, in a weird way :p ❤ ❤

    1. Hate is such a strong word, but I get where you’re coming from. I don’t like the heat or humidity of Summer. I’ve always been a big fan of both Autumn and Winter. Maybe because I’m a Christmas Winter baby? 🎅
      My enthusiasm is one of my strongest points…when I allow it to be.
      Thanks, Sacha. No point buying you a Christmas present then? 🤔

      1. Haha, okay fine, dislike! It’s actually mostly the driving that gets my goat. It’s always us, some christmases we have racked up 1000 miles!!!! It’s not a rest and I end up not enjoying it

  8. Sounds to me like you’re getting quite excited, Hugh! But pleeeaaase don’t mention the C word until after Halloween.. I dont think I can stand it! Too much to do between now and then. Dont know how its all going to fit in. Have to admit, I do enjoy it once H is out of the way… 1st Dec is ample time. And this year we are flying to Bristol between C and NY for a wedding!

    1. Okay, no more mention about custard, I promise, Ali. 😀

      Sounds like you’ve got a busy time ahead of you. However, I do like a Winter wedding. I bet the decorations will be absolutely stunning. Mustn’t outshine the bride, though.

  9. Too soon. Too soon. We celebrate Thanksgiving this upcoming weekend, then Halloween and a whole bunch of other things afterwards–all waayy before Christmas. No point rushing things, especially another years passing.
    😀 🙂 😉

    1. Well, Happy Thanksgiving, Tess. You’ve reminded me to look out for a turkey this weekend. My niece seems to love eating Christmas dinner anytime of the year. I’ve even got a homemade Christmas pudding from last year. They seem to get a lot better with age.

  10. Haha–no WAY have I even started my Christmas shopping. I did have a dream that it was right before Christmas and I hadn’t even started yet. I usually do most of it online on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I prefer to just have it all appear on my doorstep! It’s in the 80s here during the day and the 50s at night, so we have to use BOTH the heat and air every day. It feels wrong to do that, but that’s the only choice when the weather is weird.


    1. I’ve often had that same nightmare, Stephanie. I think it’s one of the most terrifying nightmares somebody who loves Christmas can have. Brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

      We’ve had some lovely sunny warm days recently, so the central heating clicks off. However, the mornings are cold so it clicks on just after 6am.

      That’s a great time to do your Christmas shopping. I know a few people who do their Christmas shopping during the summer sales. Then they just sit back and watch the rest of us panic when December arrives.

  11. I’m with your sister-in-law, don’t even think about Christmas until December. Dessert? I had you down as a treacle tart kinda guy!

  12. This is a wonderful post, Hugh! Autumn is my favorite season. However, here it is always so fleeting… and I fear that this year, if I blink I will miss it. You are truly in the spirit of fall. Thanks for sharing it. Mega hugs.

  13. Fun post, Hugh. I miss the weather in those seasons. We’re in India and don’t have central heating. I have a small floor heater. Other than a few cold months in the teens Centigrade here, it’s either hot or rainy. 🙂 — Suzanne

  14. I love the colours of autumn but I don’t enjoy the knowledge winter is almost here. As for being organised for Christmas – I start to think about it in plenty of time but it always ends up a last minute rush.

    1. I don’t mind the Winter, Mary. It may have something to do with being a winter baby, but I’ve never been one for the baking heat and humidity that the summer can sometimes bring. However, Autumn has always been my favourite time of year. I think it has to be the prettiest seasons of all with the colour display from the trees and bushes (proving the Autumnal storms don’t get them first!).

  15. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Hugh asking what switching on your central heating heralds in your household.. in ours it will be a moment of faith as it is all new and apart for the initial test has not been used since… will be interesting.. and I have located the Christmas tree and decorations amongst all our belongings still in the living room waiting to be unpacked and they are safely stored upstairs ready for action.

  16. I agree with you about this time of year. Autumn and spring are my two favorite seasons. One of the best things of all for me is the return of pockets. Having to wear a jacket gives me a lot of pocket options, which means I don’t have to carry a bag about everywhere. 🙂

    1. I have a summer manbag. I hate carrying it but, given the lack of pockets, it’s a must have unless I want the few pockets I do have to almost be pulling my shorts halfway down my behind. The days of me displaying the top half of my underwear (like many young men seem to do these days) are long gone. In fact, I’m not really sure we did that kind of thing back then.

  17. Wonderful autumn post Hugh. Yes, the socks are back on here too, and so are the fuzzy sweatpants for my autumn/winter writing attire, lol. I love fall, the colours, the crisp air and stews and soups are back on tap! ❤

    1. Thank you, Debby. Yesterday, my partner served a salad for lunch. If looks could kill! I wanted a bowl of steaming hot soup and chunks of sourdough. 😋
      Autumn is my favourite season. It won’t be long before she dazzles us with her colours again.

  18. What a fun post! We won’t have the heat on until towards the end of this month, but I’m already planning Christmas presents. I need to order my cards soon, so I don’t get behind!

  19. You crack me up, Hugh! We might have frost here Thursday or Friday night! My garden will be toast! I have pulled out my winter clothes also. November 1 st, we are here for a year already! We love it. My neighbor is a bigger Christmas person than you! I can’t wait to share her decorations! I love your teapot! Wish we could have proper British tea together! 💖☕️

    1. My goodness. How time flies, Colleen. Can’t believe it has almost been a year since you moved home from Floria.

      Some parts of northern UK have already had frosts, but none here in Wales yet. However, I don’t think it will be far off. It’s usually the trigger for John to replace all the summer plants with winter flowering plants. Put them in too early and they can bolt and then look stringy all winter. Not a good look.

      I look forward to seeing some photos of your neighbours Christmas decorations. And don’t forget to post some photos of the first snow of the season. ❄️

  20. Hugh, your enthusiasm for Christmas is heart-warming and reminds me of my childhood. I’ve always lived in the southern hemisphere, so it’s summer when we celebrate Christmas. Last year, my first Christmas in Australia was even hotter than the previous Christmases in Africa.

    However, I had one idyllic Christmas in Switzerland in my early 20s and it was the stuff of dreams: thick snow, warm fireplace, skiing, hot chocolate, gluhwein, fondue, and even a ride in a sleigh, complete with jingling bells!

    My favourite pudding is steamed Christmas pudding with loads of brandy butter melting into it – is that by any chance your favourite?

    1. Thank you, Susan.

      My sister moved to Brisbane about 15 years ago but always says how she misses it being cold at Christmas. A white Christmas in the UK is very rare. In the years I’ve been on this planet I’ve only ever witnessed a few of them.

      Congratulations on guessing the correct answer to my question. Yes, it’s Christmas Pudding. 😋

  21. My wife wears her Christmas socks all year ’round! Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year too. I can’t get enough of those leafy scenes on crisp mornings. Perfect 🙂

  22. What a wonderful post. I never thought about the central heat as an indicator, but you are right. Our central heat runs for about a month. Time for soup and big hunks of sourdough bread. Cake with all its heaviness is back on the menu. The smell of cookies and roasted foul fills the house. Let’s not forget the warm drinks (Irish coffee, Bourbon, and Gin on the rocks, Port wine) We have a fireplace and love to set it ablaze. Gee Hugh, you got my mind in the mood, but I have to wait until early February.

    1. I’m guessing the days and nights are getting a little cooler in your part of the world, John? Perhaps it’s when the air-con is switched off that is the indicator for getting those wooly jumpers out?
      Sourdough is something I love. Especially big chunks of it being dipped into a bowl of hot soup. Never try it with custard, though 😱

  23. For me, autumn always means I can start making huge pots of yummy soups and stews again – I make loads at a time and freeze it up in portions so we’ve effectively got home-made ready-meals for days when we’re both out at work 🙂

  24. ASDA and Morrison’s have mince pies, some accidentally made their way into my basket last week. A lot of shops are nearly fully geared up with their Christmas stock, some alongside their Halloween goods. I haven’t found anyone waiting until Halloween is over. Yes, I’ve bought my first couple of presents, I have a long list and I like to spread the cost. Hopefully December won’t find me unprepared.
    My favourite pud is either rhubarb pie and custard or rhubarb crumble and custard though I can be moved by a nice homemade trifle. Are we getting nearer your favourite yet Hugh?

    1. Some shops seem to be way ahead of the rest, David. However, I don’t blame them. Some of the stores in London opened their Christmas departments in August! And who can blame them when they have customers who want to start shopping early for Christmas. Spreading the cost over many months is such an excellent way to ensure it’s not as stressful as many people make it.
      I do love trifle, but it’s not my favourite, David.
      Hugs to you.

  25. Hugh, you really got me already into that Christmas atmosphere although I still try to inhale the last warm rays and charge my batteries to make it over the cold season. What a truly heartwarming post, Hugh! Lovely!

      1. You are lucky, Hugh! But I really see what you mean. In some way I feel great about that too. That cozyness that has us again. Last week I wrote a draft for a Monday post which touches this too. It will be published next Monday. Riding on the same wave 😄

  26. I wear Christmas socks all year round (but generally only around the house). You reminded me I’ve got to clean the filter on the furnace.
    Hum, I’m not a pudding expert so I’ll guess – chocolate?

  27. Love this, Hugh! This is absolutely my favorite time of year! It is actually cool here in Northern California, although some 80 degree days are coming back (normal for October). But a few leaves are falling, there is a chill in the morning air. Haven’t turned on the heat yet, in the house, but I did this morning in the car! Went out and bought the yummy pumpkin spice air fresheners from Bath and Body Works. Of course the Pumpkin Spice creamer started last month. Addiction to Fall? why yes, yes, I am, LOL!

    1. Thanks, Terri. I think there are many of us who prefer this time of the year. For me, the British summer has become unbearable with its heat and humidity, although it was cooler but wetter this year. Then there’s the insect bites and the not being able to get to sleep because of the heat, and the guys who insist on wearing socks with open toed sandals, not to mention Cricket! 😱
      We’re currently haveing some beautiful warm sunny Autumn days, followed by chilly nights. The trees are just beginning to change colour and the light in the morning and the late afternoon is amazing. What’s not to like about those kinds of days?

  28. I think perhaps your favourite dessert is apple crumble or crisp. I know it is not a pudding but it is my British hubby’s favourite dessert. it is obvious you enjoy fall and winter, and the Christmas season. We live most of the time in Spain right now and I must say I don’t miss the cold winters of Canada, although I am returning for November and part of December so I better get used to it again!! The fall colours are lovely.

    1. A good guess, Darlene, but afraid not my favourite. Yes, I’ve always enjoyed both Autumn and Winter. I do ask myself if it has anything to do with being born in the Winter, but I’m not so sure about that. I’ve always been truly amazed by the colours the Autumn brings. During my younger years the Britsih Summers were always very pleasant, but these days they bring both heat and humidity which I’m not a fan of. I do still wonder why homes in the UK don’t have any air-con. It would probably make them more bearable.

  29. There have been times when our Christmas shopping has been done by this time of year but not often and not this year.
    I love the fall, though I miss summer and I’m not a fan of winter. Fall seems like such a short season from a weather standpoint but it does have its upside, especially the colors.
    Like you, I enjoy these last three months. Thanksgiving ( in this country) is now tied with Christmas as my favorite holiday because it’s so simple. No gifts or running around, only family, food and football. What more can one ask for?😊

    1. Yes, I agree about the colours, George. Fortunately, Autumn lasts a little longer here in the UK. We don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK, but I spent it in the U.S.A a few years ago and enjoyed it very much (especially watching the Macy’s Parade in NYC). It was very cold but well worth the three hours of standing around drinking hot chocolate.

  30. Too soon for me to see Christmas stuff, I love the autumn holidays, and we pass them over too quickly here. With the cooler weather comes a lot more baking, long-cooking meals, sweaters, bonfires, craft sales, flea markets, pumpkin-spiced everything, but my favorite thing of all…I sleep so much better under covers !! ☺

    1. I with you on the better sleeping, Van. It’s one of the reasons why I dislike Summer. Humidity and I just do not mix, especially given that 99% of home in the Uk don’t have air con. That and how I burn at the slightest hint of going outside in the Summer sun. At least in Winter, I can stay outside a little longer.

  31. I am also excited about the changing outdoor and indoor temperatures, changing leaves , changing foods and changing of seasonal clothes!! You just got me even more excited too for Christmas and all the other great holidays of the last 4 months!

        1. Being chilled on a hot summer’s day would make the British summers more bearable. Unfortunately, us Brits still don’t believe in having air-con in our homes. Hopefully, one day, that will change. Until then, I firmly remain a fan of the Autumn and Winter. Christmas Pud? Yum!

  32. Sounds delightful! Here, the Halloween decorating and celebrating has to come before Christmas (it’s how my sister rolls). Once we have reached November 1st, THEN we can talk, decorate and even think about Christmas. Kudos to you for your energy and enthusiasm… Favorite pudding? Oh my, I will guess something with coconut?

    1. Arr, thanks, Annette. You know, once October 1st comes along, it’s as if somebody has given me an extra helping of golden syrup on top of my porridge oats, and I leap in sheer delight and can’t seem to sit down until the sugar fix has worn off. I’ve always been a planner, so October 1st always gets me thinking about what I’m going to get to buy as Christmas gifts.
      I do love coconut. In fact, we have a great coconut and jam sponge which is so mouthwatering on its own or with lashings of custard. Good guess, but not my favourite pudding, though. 😀

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