Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The heat is on

Bloody hell, it's hot. I mean, really, uncharacteristically hot. So much so that the Government is close to announcing we're approaching heatwave territory.

I'm well aware that I have readers in other parts of the world, many of whom will find the thought of a mere mid-30s centigrade being a bit average. Yes, I know, it's not a contest. You have to remember that we're British, we're not used to this. I was 17 before I realised you could go outdoors without an umbrella. Plus there's 60 million of us squeezed into a space the equivalent of Kansas. The good people of Kansas are much more able to cope with temperatures like this, mainly because they don't have their next-door neighbours' elbows in the small of their backs.

We don't build for temperatures like this. Everyone has a brick-built house, with double layers and cavity insulation. According to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, all houses in America appear to be built out of corrugated cardboard - easier for the inhabitants to cope with the heat, as well as making it possible for that shouty chap with the megaphone to demolish it all with a ping-pong ball.

The British people are pretty unfamiliar with extremes; of emotion, flavour or climate. For the same reason the nation grinds to a halt when there's six inches of snow in December, we're also very poor at crying or spicy food. The middle ground is so much more comfortable.

It's the night-times that are the worst. The urban landscape soaks up the heat during the day and releases it back overnight. It's heavy and humid, like someone's sucked all the oxygen out of the air.

So, after a sleepless night on Sunday, I cracked yesterday afternoon. After scouring three hardware stores, I came home with a portable air-conditioning unit. I say 'portable', obviously that's a relative term. This thing weighed about the same as your average aircraft carrier and, in terms of size, was visible from low earth orbit.

Katie was not impressed.

"Where are we going to stick that thing? It's huge."

"Well, we need to put it by a window as it has to vent out of this embarrassingly large hose."

"So I'm going to have to move all the stuff on my side of the bedroom? You pillock."

That was last night. I admit I had some selling-in to do.

As I type this, it's the following night, it's just gone half past ten and we're both lying in bed. We're not sleeping, we just gravitated this way. The air-con is chilling the room nicely. Katie is actually under the quilt. We've just had a discussion about the feasibility of moving the rest of our furniture up here.

Consumer applicances rock.


Country Girl said...

The first time my parents were in London, my dad showed his ass all over town trying to teach the waiters how to make iced tea. When he got ready to go to bed and my mother explained that if he was hot, he needed to open the windows, we decided that future excursions needed to be...on this continent. Air conditioning is a good thing...whether you need it or not.

fatboyfat said...

You see, we're just not built for extremes in temperature. The whole global warming thing is kicking our behinds as a result.

But it's changing. If I had money to invest, I'd be putting it into aircon retailers in Britain. the next ten years will be huge for them.


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