Monday, November 21, 2005

Ode to Central Heating

Well, not quite an ode exactly.

Last winter I basked in the glorious warmth of gas central heating. Those radiators - how I love their comforting size and shape, so suitable for the drying of socks and smalls. The way they come on automatically in the early morning and ensure you poke your toes out, not into an Arctic storm, but a paradisical balm.

When I was at university at Exeter many moons ago, I rented a little house which had no central heating or indeed any other visible means of heating and we had to bring in portable electric heaters at vast expense. My bed was loaded with a duvet, a sleeping bag, blanket and I got dressed to go to sleep. Mind you, I was lucky... others in the depth of the countryside had to take their toothpaste to bed to stop it freezing!

My present, adorable little house is not equipped with central heating, which must be its only flaw. I have convector heaters which are the cheapest to install and most expensive to operate as heating systems go. It means I flinch every time I switch one on, and worry about the impending electrical bill, even though the house is naturally warm!

When we first came to Montpellier, we rented a flat in block designed for students, so not built to the highest of standards. Ours was situated over an open garage into which the icy wind whistled and plundered the nooks and crannies that led up to the poor buggers living above. Our tiled floor was so cold you got frostbite walking round the bed. Meanwhile, the ceiling toasted nicely as the convector heaters of unbelievable uselessness sent all the warm air up above. Excruciatingly cold it was.

I'm trying to train Ulysse to warm the bed before I get inside, but he's not doing too well. The answer is an electric blanket. Now those are items fit for emperors. Guaranteed warm as toast toes as you go to bed. My oh my, I could do with one. Ebay here I come! I did have one, actually but let the ex take it as he was going to a flat with no central heating, and I was hanging on in the temperate climes of the centrally-heated big house. Oh well.

Time for the thermal PJs and warm, woolly socks...

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