23 July 2008

My flat is so cold...

Everyone in unison: How cold is it?

Okay, I've mentioned before that it's cold here. But I think that needs a bit more explanation. First of all, it's not so much the temperature outside that makes me whine about the cold. I rarely whined about the cold when I lived in Utah, and it was certainly much colder on a day to day basis than it is here in Dunedin.

The thing is, the houses are just not built the same here. How are they built?
  • Most houses do not have insulation. None.
  • Most windows are drafty. Very drafty. When our curtains are closed, you can see them move as the wind blows.
  • Lots of buildings are quite old and therefore very inefficient to heat.
  • Central heat? Almost nobody has it. Rooms are heated room-by room with various types of heaters. Natural gas isn't really used here much. Space heaters are almost all electric. There are also propane heaters. They are quite cheap to run, but there are side-effects (smell of propane, excessive moisture, inefficient).
So, when I say it's cold, I don't mean so much that the temperature is especially low. I just mean that it is cold everywhere, even INSIDE!

In fact, usually when I leave for seminary in the morning I bundle up only to get outside and realize it is warmer outside than inside. People warned me this would be the case, but because it doesn't make any sense, I believed they were making it up or perhaps exaggerating.

How do we stay warm?
  • Hot showers. The only problem is that when you get into the hot shower your feet burn because they are so cold.
  • Layers. I am currently wearing: regular socks, wool socks, and wool slippers (for my feet). Skivvies, polyprops (called longjohns in the States), and jeans (for my legs). Skivvies, a turtleneck sweater and wool coat (for my upper half). Fingerless gloves so I can use my laptop's mouse while I work. And I often wear a hat as well.
  • Hot water bottles. Seriously, I'm cuddling one right now.
  • We have one electric heater that we try to never, ever use.
  • We have a propane heater. We try not to use it too much either because of aforementioned side effects.
  • The sun warms the flat pretty nicely. The problem is that we only get the morning sun, which isn't as warm. AND that the sun hasn't been out in a little while.
  • Two duvets (comforters) and a fleece blanket on the bed. Plus we have electric blankets that were very generously given to us from the Bowens when they moved back to Utah.
There you have it. It's cold outside. It's cold inside. But we manage to stay warm nonetheless.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

I totally understand. I lived in an city called Orange, four or five hours west of Sydney in the winter time. I have never been so cold in my life. Every morning we would wake up at 6 am to the sound of the rain beating on our roof, huddle around a tiny heater and then dress in nylons and two pairs of socks. I would pray that the rain would not slosh over the sides of my maryjanes, or splash the skirt of my too-thin dresses, freezing me from the knees down with no hope of drying off until everything was hung near the heater that evening. I had wet feet for three months, but the hacking cough that eventually followed was probably worse. Each morning when we walked out of the freezing flat (the biggest flat in the mission--too big to heat), my Kiwi trainer always said cheerfully, "The more you tract in the rain, the better looking your husband will be!" It got to the point where it took all my will power not to throw one of my permanantly-soggy-stretched-too-big-doc-martens right at her head.

Good times.

Dusty and Amy said...

I subconsciously wrapped up in a blanket as I read this post. Wow. I am freezing now. That's freakin cold.

Bart said...

Interesting. But what I'm more interested in is how you liked Batman.

A or H Bowen said...

Hahaha! No one can understand till you are in it. We only got the start of winter, but I think we have finally thawed out... It is suppose to be 100F on Tuesday, that might help (had to share).

Go turn up your electric blanket, snuggle under all you blankets, in all your layers and know how very much we miss Dunedin -freezing and all...