Tuesday, October 02, 2007

London, sweet cold London

I hear the cold has descended over Montana, while DC was balmy with blue skies. London has been cold. And not only outside, but also inside my flat. They have yet to turn on the radiator water, so we are left at the mercy of nature and our own devices. It didn’t help that someone left open a massive hall window. It was up so high that nobody could reach it. I didn’t pack for the cold, either, actually bringing some shorts: no gloves, no hat, ah, but two scarves… and a thin acrylic blanket (acrylic blankets …?).

Nicely, one of the travel alarm clocks my parents bought me over the years has a thermometer on it, so I watched as my room’s temperature shifted from the upper 50s to the lower 60s each day.

Waking up at night, cold, I started throwing extra insulation over myself: a jacket over my legs, a towel up around the shoulders. I also started filling my little wash basin with hot water, thinking the heat may radiate a bit. It seemed to help. I even ran my laptop computer, with the DVD player, the external hard drive, the lights in the room – anything I could think of that would produce heat.

There was some amusement in all this experimentation. Near the wash basin it was indeed 3-4 degrees warmer than on the other side of the room (where I happened to sleep). I also found that if I took a super hot bath and then came back to the room my own body temperature would raise the room temp about a degree.

Fun as that was, I still wasn’t sleeping well, making the already tiring experience of adjusting to London even more difficult. So I took a chair from the kitchen so I could reach the big hall window and got it partially closed, then found an ironing board and finished the job, bringing much joy to both myself and my flatmates. Then I noticed that my blanket is pretty huge and I am on a tiny bed, so I folded it in half and voilà, double the insulation and my first good night’s sleep.

Keeping warm: just another thing to keep in mind when you travel. It took me a full week to get a lot of the kinks worked out here in London, but now I am starting to feel at home. It will never be Home in the sense that Montana is, but it will be my home, for now.

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