I can honestly say that a UK winter is nothing compared to a winter in Taihape with no insulation or central heating! In fact, we reminisce fondly of London winters and that trusty central heating. With the southerly blast hitting us straight off those melting Antarctic icebergs, we have gone into hibernation mode.
The key is never letting the fire die out. After being away for the weekend, we got home last Sunday and it was miserable: it was warmer outside than in. Our days centre round the chilling trips outside to replenish the wood stack, the morning stoking of the fire, the occasional rush home at lunch time to put another block of wood on and the satisfying glow as we get it roaring every night.
For some weeks, every evening we have left the snug cocoon of our wood-fire heated lounge with icepicks to make it down the hallway to our bedroom. We would have our oil heater cranking but this didn't make much difference to the chilly temperatures down there. Realising that we were stuck on being 'normal', when 'normal' didn't make sense, we had the genius idea of moving our bed in to the lounge. Some people spend thousands creating an extra bedroom - we now have 3 spare bedrooms and sleep snuggly every night to the warm glow of the fire. It does feel a little Charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory, but hey - we're warm!
Now all that remains is for a heavy snowfall to close school. They had four days last year when school was closed due to snow, so we are hoping to beat that this winter!