Feeling Cold And The West Australian Gas Shortage

Feeling Cold And The West Australian Gas Shortage

I’m soooo cold and have been like this for days.

For those who follow me on twitter you are probably starting to wonder why I’m complaining so much about feeling cold! So it’s probably best I explain.

What Happened

A massive gas explosion at Apache Corp Varanus Island plant off West Australia’s north-west coast, on June 3, has which means the company will be unable to supply natural gas output for at least two months. Effectively this has cut gas supply to our State by 30 %. This mightn’t seem such a big deal however our State is heavily reliant on gas as an energy source e.g. gas is used to run power stations that provide our electricity.

To manage the gas shortage people have been asked to:

  • minimize their use of heaters
  • take shorter showers
  • turn off lighting when not needed.

All businesses have been asked to reduce their energy usage; and energy intensive industry have been placed onto energy rationing (where they are advised each evening of their quota for the next day). Where I work we are reducing usage by minimizing lighting and NOT using heating unless necessary.

How badly could this affect the State and Australian economy?  Not sure.  Our State has been experiencing a massive resource boom.  This energy shortage is affecting a wide section of industries.   I’m sure there are West Australians that aren’t reducing their energy usage but our decision is not to use heating at home.

How I Cope With The Cold

So there you have it this is why I’m cold.  No heat at home and none at work!

But I’m probably whining more than most because I’m a lover of heat and hot weather! In summer I feel no need for air conditioners and easily sleep at night without any air conditioner or fan when the maximum temperature have been above 40°C (100 °F). Every summer when my hubby is struggling to sleep at night from the heat and I’m enjoying it he will say “I’m not normal 🙂 .

Saying all this it’s probably no surprise to learn that I don’t like the cold or winter at the best of times. And for those of you who do live in colder climates you could probably argue that I don’t even know what true winter is since where I live in Western Australia has a Mediterranean climate. We don’t even get snow here!!!! But I have many English friends who come here to live and complain how cold they are in our winter because our homes aren’t set up with features designed to keep them warm in winter months (e.g. central heating, double grazed windows).

You will be pleased to know I’m starting to feel warmer.  Bought myself a beanie, scarf and gloves (wasn’t impressed by level of hubby’s laughter at the sight of me).  Have cut out the fingers on my gloves so I can type and still keep my hands warm. Have one quilt over my legs and a blanket over my shoulders (the post must go on 🙂 ).


For those use to cold climates please share some tips for keeping warm!  Thinking I need to purchase thermal underwear.

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Photo uploaded on October 24, 2006 by cbturtlegirl76 licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0

29 thoughts on “Feeling Cold And The West Australian Gas Shortage

  1. LOL Not to laugh at you, I actually sympathize with you. I live in Pennsylvania (my husband’s neck of the woods) and every winter I threaten to divorce him and move back down south. I am the nut that little kids point and laugh at because I wear sweaters in the summer and scarves in the spring. I also turn the heat on in the car and turn blue if the AC is on where I work. As for tips for keeping warm, I say snuggle up to the husband, put your ice cold toes right on his belly and laugh til you warm up.

  2. What about an electric space heater? could that help? or is your electricity supplied by gas, too?

    I am from a VERY cold climate (-40C in winter is not unusual) and I hate it. It is, truthfully, one of the reasons I moved overseas!

    The best piece of advice I can give you is to drink lots of warm fluids — but you’re probably doing this already1 In the winter here in Hanoi (yes, it does get cold) and in Canada I always end up drinking gallons and gallons of tea (herbal and real stuff) and cocoa. And at night, wear something on your head — it helps immensely.

    Good luck — and I hope it doesn’t last much longer. I know several Aussie teachers here who never look forward to our northern hemisphere “summer” holidays in int’l schools because they go home and it’s winter! But yes, I do tend to think, “It’s not really winter…” 😉

  3. Sue, sorry about your gas problem! I am like you. I love warm weather and hate air conditioning (by the way, Madonna has also made this same statement). I live in Morelia, Mexico, which is warm year round; and I love it. When I go to Starbucks, I always ask them to turn the air off or turn it down for a while. I can’t give workshops or presentations if I am the slightest bit cold. I completely shut down. So, I have great empathy for you and your gas problem.

    Another warm-blooded blogger

  4. I probably should add the reference points that I grew up in Detroit, lived in DC, and spent the last 10 years of USA life in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am FINISHED with snow, thank you very much. Snow is lovely, but been there, done that, and got the t-shirt!

  5. So sorry you are feeling chilly! I too prefer the warmth, being a California native. But I grew up in northern Illinois, went to college in New Hampshire, and have spent a couple of winters in England and Germany. Brrr!

    Our family loves our backyard firepit. Spring through fall, any chilly evening we’re home together, it’s going. One split log keeps us warm for hours…

    Thanks for this informative post. Keep us updated on the changes!

  6. Frequent exercise gets the blood flowing and warms you up! We had our ‘first day of summer’ yesterday and the temperature is currently 17C. Would you consider that cold? When I am working at my computer I often wrap up in a fleece blanket. I also use a bean bag which I heat in the microwave for 2 min. and put under my feet or over my shoulders. That keeps me warm for a good hour.

  7. When I lived in a cold climate all my favorite stay warm things came from your area. I had sheepskin everything.

    I also have husband temp wars. He put the air conditioning on when it gets to 68, I just get warm at 80.

    Now I use lots of the microfiber fleece blankets and encourage my cats sit on my lap and feet. I also use Lesley’s trick of the warm beanbag.

  8. Two words: wool socks! I used to live in northern BC and then later in Kingston Ontario; both Canadian places routinely got down to -20 celsius, and -30 temperatures weren’t unheard of. Gotta have the warm hat, but the warm socks are as crucial. Now do a few jumping jacks and you’ll be on your way 😉

  9. Honestly, Sue, you’re a big woose! 🙂

    I am English and moved from Salisbury to Dunedin, in New Zealand. The weather here is no different than Scotland and probably not a lot colder than I was used to, but as you said, the heating and insulation here is zilch. And its not so much the cold that gets me, but the damp.

    My tips for keeping warm is definitely wear warm socks, like Claire says, and eat lots of porridge.

  10. Poor Sue! We’re finally getting warm weather here and I can sympathize with your desire to stay comfortable.

    Eat hearty meals – stews & chili. If possible, keep one room warm and make it the central spot for your family to gather. Have a bonfire outside, if possible; it’s romantic AND hot!

    Wear natural fibers like cotton, that wick moisture away from your skin, and dress in layers that will trap warmth.

    Distract yourself with music & books about tropical climes (Jimmy Buffett is a favorite here).

    Sit with your laptop actually on your lap. That will generate lots of heat.

  11. Sue-
    My heart goes out to everyone languishing there in the cold.
    Eating toward the yang of food – complex proteins – beans, ovo-lacto, even meat – at the end of the balance, and abstaining from the yin – sugar, stringy veggies, eggplant – the worst, and alcohol will help. It does here in Vermont USA.

  12. Kia or Sue

    Attend to drafty areas in the home and reduce the movement of air by closing doors after you. Curtains should be drawn before nightfall.

    Use draft dogs under doors that may cause drafts, especially under exterior doors but inside too. Check drafts for windows similarly.

    Don’t listen to the would-be stalwarts. Everyone is different, Sue.

    If you feel the cold it doesn’t matter what others think. Unless you have an illness that makes you feel chilled (in which case you need medical attention) you should attend to yourself. Doing this helps you to feel happy. 🙂

    Ka kite

  13. From the opposite side of the world, we have your kind of weather here in Arizona, where although I am at 6000 ft elevation, it is pushing 98F (37c) and have no a/c. But that is not your problem.

    How tenuous for one supplier’s accident to have such a massive effect. For personal warmth, perhaps the obvious, but layering is the key. And cotton is NOT your friend, it does not breathe. I winter, I rely on layers of polypropylene garments, and my precious merino wool top from New Zealand.

    warm thoughts? burning blogs? running in place? I sure hope they fix your supply soon!

  14. @Lesley Definitely need the exercise as I don’t get enough. While our daily temp is still above 17 C our houses are not designed to hold warmth but to stay cold. So it may be warm outside but it is really cold inside at the moment (we don’t have double glazing or insulation in walls). I’m using my doona on my legs but the bean bag for the shoulders sounds good idea.

    @Christine had new Ugg Boots and Mr13 has claimed them so have to replace.

    @Sarah yep I am an official woose. But mind you one of the Perth people who also works for a Government Department twittered that they had turned off all lights in toilets. Believe me that wasn’t a nice tweet.

    @Diane WE can’t keep a room warm because it means we have to start up our airconditioner on heat (uses too much power). My other option is to fix the wood heater and order wood. Trouble is I swore that if I ever, ever, every had to handle another piece of wood I would take the axe to the wood heater or my hubby. Thanks for the links on keeping warm.

    @Skip Food is a great idea although I am eating a bit too much lately 🙂

    @Ken Unfortunately Aussie homes with the double brick, lack of double glazing don’t make much difference to pull curtains shut. Planning on bringing thermometer home so I can demonstrate how could this house it getting. Well it is always possible I have a medical condition = lack of exercise

    @Alan I love min 37C without air conditioner. I’m on that plane. The biggest trouble in Western Australia is we are so isolated that it isn’t like we can grab power from other States. It appears that most of our power stations run on the natural gas and they had taken our coal power stations off line — it is going to take some time to bring these operational.

  15. Sue,
    I grew up in Indiana. I did a lot of winter camping and have a bit of advice. Dress in layers. Do not allow yourself to get wet from perspiration. Wear a down vest and perhaps down pants. I have a down sleeping bag rated for -20f which I’ve actually tested at that temperature. One more note, hang in there and I’ll bet when the heat comes on, most people will not need the same amount of heat they used to use. Unfortunately, we all drift back to our own old habits when the resources become available.

    Stay warm.


  16. You have my sympathy, I feel miserable when cold … I grew up in the UK and you are right, it is colder, but people rug up more, homes are insulated. One tip I had for keeping warm was to rub cayenne pepper on the soles of feet. Also, layers is the way to go, starting with thermals.

  17. Sue,
    Michele told us she sometimes has a friendly cat sitting on her lap while she is typing.
    Could you have a little dog or a baby lamb on your knees, during work?

  18. Latest news on the gas shortage. The company that supplies electricity to the State has revealed that the gas explosion was only part of the contributing problem to the State’s shortage. 5 days prior to the gas explosion one of the coal power stations shattered its turbines. That has meant that prior to shattering its turbines 65 % coal was used to generate electricity in the State and now only 40 % coal is being used.

    With this power station down they now have to use more gas and diesel to run our power stations (we don’t have nuclear power stations in Australia).

    @Bud Can we get Down clothing in Western Australia? Not sure?

    @Mrs Mahadevan I don’t believe we have stinging nestles in Western Australia but that sounds worse than being cold.

    @Marie I don’t think we sell thermal underwear here except in camping suppliers — might have to visit. I’m glad you were able to point out how cold our houses do get even though we don’t have a cold climate.

    @Ines Nope no cat or dog. But have my doona on my lap that helps. Plus bought new Ugg boots yesterday with kangaroo trim so feeling really warm on my legs.

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  20. Sue what about the o.7C overnight temperatures of previous couple days? We had electric blanket on low during night. Couldn’t feel any heat. Will be trying the middle level tonight. We’re trying to conserve gas heater. Will an adopted stray long-fur cat do as a foot warmer?

  21. Hello Sue, i live in a cold house in Melbourne, and my strategy has always involved: a beanie, thermal underwear, one of those zip-up camping vests, and thick thick socks.

    If you have a fireplace, chopping wood is one of the best ways to get warm (don’t even burn it, just rug up and chop).

    Recently i’ve discovered the delights of not having a computer at home. Great way to stay cold is sit at the screen all day and all night.

    Alternative: lots of brisk walking, yoga or dance class, plenty of outdoor air; early nights, thick soups and lots of sleep before midnight. Physical activity = warmth.

    Plus, have a spare towel over the heater while you shower. Gotta keep your towels dry and warm 🙂

    (In Canada they use that amazing Cling Wrap stuff over the windows, to seal in the air. But in Canada they have Real Cold.)

    best of luck, michael

    What about this: i thought i’d lost this comment (got the spam word wrong) but co-comment held onto it for me. Originally not posted 23 june.


  22. Sue:
    Coming late to the conversation — so sorry to hear about the problems you all are facing.
    I love your site, and check back frequently for all the great stuff you include here. Please keep at it.
    I’m a native of Minnesota, USA — for those in warmer climes, we are one of the coldest parts of the US, even colder on average than some parts of Alaska. After living here for decades, I still love the cold, and wilt under too much heat and humidity. For the last decade, I’ve walked more than a mile to work each day, year round.

    Some suggestions:
    1. Layers are crucial, as has been mentioned.
    2. Warm drinks, even just warm water, helps as well.
    3. Wool socks are fine, but my favorite sock material is SmartWool is the best. Check Campmor or Sierra Trading or REI for better pricing and international shipping.
    4. Keep your head warm, and you’ll feel warmer all over. If you think of your body as a “bottle” then a hat is like a lid keeping the heat inside.
    5. One tip I’ve used (when winter camping!) is to remember that keeping your core warm is crucial. And if you need to heat up fast, warm your stomach first. Your tummy is like a heat sink, and if you apply warmth to it, you get the heat directly into your blood circulation. It sounds weird, I know, but if you are cold, and have a radiant heat source like a heater or stove, the fastest way to warm up around it is to pull up your shirt so your stomach is directly exposed to the warmth, and let your belly take in the heat and spread it around. Strange but true.
    Hoping you stay warm,

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