Just before the heatwave hit the other week, we made the decision to turn off the Aga. Before that she had not been off for well over a year, she was switched off briefly early last Spring but we missed the familiar warmth so much she only stayed off for a couple of days ... she was after all the heart of the home.
Well that's what I thought, this year though it's strange but I feel totally differently about her.
The beautiful cool of the kitchen each morning is wonderful to step into. No rushing around opening windows to let the overwhelming heat escape. Of course, we do miss opening the oven doors and chucking something in knowing it will be beautifully cooked in next to no time.
But shhh ... don't tell her ... she has a couple of little replacements, that between them are managing to do all the things that her great big hunk of hot cast iron usually does.
A simple little hot plate bought off Amazon deals with all the boiling, simmering, and poaching, while our trusty old Remoska is sharing oven duties with the microwave. As Alan has found it cooks a mean steak and has his bacon sizzling and crispy in no time.
I'm loving the simplicity of this so much I'm very tempted to get rid of the hob in the Van and have just one of these instead. Just think of all that extra space I would have on the worktop.
Ours is an electric Aga, a reconditioned older model that is a doddle to switch on and off, although she will take a full 24 hours to reach optimum temperature once we decide that it's time for her to be switched back on. And for that we need to run off the mains as she only runs off our solar power during the day. She drained the battery back up system so much at night when we first installed her that she would have shortened the life of the battery bank. So she was switched over to a 50/50 use of mains and solar power.
And talking of power we are saving a lot of money while she is switched off and the sun is shining so regularly, the 45 solar panels are pulling in the lovely daylight and sending a much larger proportion to the National Grid meaning more money for us and less being eaten by a hungry Aga.