It looks like Britain's heading for another cold snap, but the next time you stoke your wood-burning stove and crank up your heating a notch, spare a thought for the Russian village of Oymyakon - where nothing ever grows and horse meat is a luxury...
You won’t find the village of Oymyakon on any hot property lists.
Temperatures in the Russian hamlet rarely push above -50c during January, making it the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in the village, which is home to around 500 hardy residents, is -71.2c, the lowest in the Northern Hemisphere.
Even if there was mobile phone reception (which there isn’t), the handsets themselves wouldn’t work in those temperatures and seeing as nothing much grows, the population exists on a staple diet of reindeer and horse meat… and not a ready meal in sight!
There’s not much by way of home comforts, either. Most homes in the ‘Pole of Cold’, as the village is known, still burn coal and wood to provide heat and facilitate cooking while many still use outdoor toilets. Ouch.
Ironically, the name Oymyakon actually means ‘non-freezing water’ as the village is named after a nearby thermal spring.
The inhospitable settlement was originally a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks in the hot spring.
It became a more permanent home-from-home in the early 20th century, following efforts by the Soviet government to settle what they believed to be culturally backward nomadic populations.
Surely they could have found somewhere a little warmer? But the locals are a hardy bunch who barely bat an eyelid at the blisteringly cold temperatures, which is just as well, as they would probably freeze shut.
The solitary school in the village only closes if the thermometer dips below -53c and there can be as little as three hours of daylight during the winter months.
And if you do make it to school, beware freezing pen ink. Now there’s an excuse for not doing homework that we haven’t heard before.
Not sure we’ll be planning a move anytime soon, though…