I have a scar on the side of my wrist that’s a constant reminder of miserable winters in our freezing family home in the 70s.
Every night I went to bed wearing a vest, nightie, jumper and bed socks and cuddling a hot water bottle wrapped in a winceyette pillowcase.
But one night the cover must have slipped. I woke up with a huge blister having burned my hand as I slept.
Mum was mortified and it led to another furious row with my Dad about how she was supposed to feed two kids and keep us safe and warm.
Now, I don’t want to sound like one of the four Yorkshiremen in that Monty Python poverty sketch, but we were genuinely skint.
The house had no heating, just a coal fire in the front room and a couple of electric two-bars.
We didn’t have a bathroom or hot water until I was 13, so Mum had to boil kettles on the gas stove to fill a tin bath for our ablutions. And as she couldn’t afford shampoo my brother and I usually had our hair washed in Fairy Liquid.
I’ve been thinking back a lot recently as people keep saying the looming winter energy crisis will be just like the 70s.
Then they reminisce about sausage-dog draught excluders, mittens on strings, having to scrape ice off the inside of your bedroom window, playing Monopoly by candlelight and reading Enid Blyton books with a torch.
Yes, times were hard, they say, but it didn’t do us any harm, did it? Spare me the misty eyed nostalgia.
I was constantly anxious as a child – ashamed that we were broke, terrified about what the future held and stressed by the rows and my Mum’s daily battle to make ends meet.
And when I went to bed each night hugging my hot water bottle I would pray that one day we’d be warm and comfy and she would not have to sell her jewellery to buy us Christmas and birthday presents.
So I only have to rub the scar on my wrist to feel the chill of those miserable winters. And I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.