My woollen fishermen’s polo neck made its first appearance of the year last Saturday when I felt the first winter chill.
I was brought up in a tenement in Kirkton in Dundee where cold was a constant companion.
There was a coal fire in the living room but with no central heating, double glazing or insulation, winters meant chilly bedrooms.
An extra blanket or, on really Arctic nights, my old school Gloverall duffle coat were thrown over the candlewick – younger readers, what’s a candlewick?
There were no number 14 tog duvets back then, to maintain warmth.
When I hear folk pining for the good old days, I count myself out.
Don’t get me wrong, my upbringing was a very happy one.
Carefree summers playing football in the street, nabbling at the berries, plundering for apples; and as teen years crept in, the mysterious arts of courting were learned and honed up the closey.
But I’m not one of the “life was much better in my younger day” brigade.
Modern standards of living have eclipsed the miserable comforts of the past by miles and I appreciate every single improvement.
Rising bills could bring back bad old days
Like many others in the then-new schemes, we had no shower.
We did have a dodgy rubber contraption bought from the Littlewoods clubbie book which fitted badly on to the taps, and was guaranteed to fly off and soak everything within sight as you struggled to stay upright in the bath fighting to control it.
It also posed a serious scald risk trying to maintain the balance between hot and cold taps.
We’d no fridge until we moved into a brand spanking new multi-storey at the now demolished Bucklemaker Court, when my folks returned years later to the ancestral lands in the Hilltown.
There, with spectacular views over the city, we enjoyed a toasty existence thanks to storage heating.
And, nine storeys up, double-glazed windows kept the chilly winter winds howling up the Tay at bay.
My scheme upbringing left me with an aversion to the cold.
I heard no happier sound as a boy than the coal man emptying the chirls into our bunker on the middle landing in the tenement.
So for me, affordable heating is a crucial element of civilised existence.
For many folk, though, the looming energy crisis threatens a throwback to the bad old days where their double glazing might end up streaming with condensation like a fishmonger’s window if they can’t heat their rooms.
Liz Truss must find a fix for energy bills
Annual household bills with normal levels of usage will be limited for two years to £2,500 with the government’s Energy Price Guarantee.
For 2022/23 the price cap will be £2,100 because of the £400 already promised by the government to each household in the UK, to be paid directly to energy companies from October to March next year.
With the Queen’s funeral over, the prime minister must now fully concentrate on finding short and long-term energy solutions.
Otherwise Liz Truss might face a campaign of non-payment of energy bills which could become her Margaret Thatcher poll tax moment.
Opinion polls are giving Kier Starmer’s Labour Party a healthy lead and nothing concentrates Conservative party minds like the prospect of losing power.
Truss won the leadership battle, now she must win the fight to fix the coming energy problems.
And she must address the issue for businesses as well as domestic users because it’s not just households at risk.
There’s a small army of the self-employed, from independent shops to cafes, operating at the margins of profitability.
The Tories must ensure that no one faces financial ruin.