Outside heaters and seats provided with blankets have long been a common sight in pubs, cafes and restaurants across continental Europe, where the winters are often long and very chilly. Naturally, the locals aren't going to let that get in the way of a cosy evening sitting outside at their favourite place, watching the world go by.
With Covid forcing more British social venues to get creative with their outside spaces, many more of us in Blighty have been experiencing outside winter life much as they do in Budapest, Berlin and Belgrade, appreciating the unique comfort of feeling warm while sipping a drink, catching up with gossip or sharing a meal outside on a chilly evening.
Lockdown has prompted many of us to think in new ways about our own outside spaces at home, too. Gardens, yards patios, balconies, decks that may have been neglected except for those few balmy evenings of British summer, have been pressed into more year-round use. When the nights get chilly, you need more than a jumper and a warm jacket if you're planning to have more than a quick one outside.
Which is why more and more people are discovering the many benefits of a gas-powered overhead heater at home. Completely portable, safe and easy to control, domestic versions of the industrial heaters used in catering places are now easy to buy or even rent for home use. With a small footprint, they can be used even in relatively small spaces and unlike electric heaters, they don't need to be near a power supply or the potentially dangerous extension cables draped through the kitchen window.
London Gases can deliver exactly the calor gas bottles needed right to your door. You can keep a spare to hand, so there's no need to worry about queuing at B&Q or running out in the middle of your party.
Whether we will see a white Christmas is no more or less debatable than it is every year. But there's little question that a gas-fired outside heater can be a great way to ensure that we squeeze a bit more out of this Christmas under Covid. Mulled wine under the stars, or even a cup of coffee on a cold and frosty morning, anyone?