Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Freezing Scandanavian Cleanliness is Close to Norse Godliness


CLEANLINESS IS ALSO INDISPENSABLE TO HEALTH, and must be studied both in regard to the person and the house, and all that it contains. Cold or tepid baths should be employed every morning, unless, on account of illness or other circumstances, they should be deemed objectionable.

This is one area where I inadvertently follow Mrs. Beeton's advice. The biggest challenge in this flat is staying warm. I must confess with the greatest affection that my other half is a major power miser. Living in Missouri in a house too large for just me, I kept the house always at a tolerable temperature and didn't even touch the water heater. I never experienced chill or hot water running out on me, and my bills were still fairly decent for a three-story place.

Cut to England: land of chill and damp. Not that I am surprised; England gets the reputation for being soggy and foggy. But even in this flat which you would think would be easy to heat, it is always chilly. And the hot water heater is the size of a teacup. Even if I remember to switch it on, I must wait for a good 30 minutes to have a fifteen-minute hot shower, which at the stroke of whenever magically turns into an icy waterfall. I realize fifteen minutes is long enough, especially for a girl with hardly any hair, but I have been accustomed to luxury 25-minute showers wherein I mostly just stand under the spray and think.

It is enough to make one a shut-in, shabbily piling on dressing gowns and not bathing for days, not stepping outside a four-foot radius of the radiator. I indeed have already spent two entire days inside (not in succession) because lets face it: it's hard to explore a new country when it's freezing and damp and horrible and you don't have a waterproof (or raincoat). Just a shoddy £2 umbrella.

London was even colder and wetter: as there wasn't much time to do something other than the party we were attending, I made plans to wake up early and we would walk down to the Thames, about 1 mile. We made it about .5 miles before we were soaked to the bone and miserable, and turned back. But not before exploring a -covered- Victorian market all done up for Christmas. Thank you, Victorians, for having the foresight to put a roof on top of your primitive shopping mall.

Our stop in Bath on the way home was more pleasant, and we shopped the outdoor Christmas market there in dry weather, ending with Moroccan at a fabulous restaurant.

The best part? The hotel bath tub/shower, which never quit its delicious supply of hot water. The little things.

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