It’s flipping cold


It’s flipping cold, actually it is warm by Piemonte standards. Last night it was just under minus 1°C. Last winter it reached a staggering minus 22°C. Which amazed me, as I thought you had to visit the Arctic Circle to experience such low temperatures; not sunny Italy.

Anyway after completing my third day back at work following my Christmas Holiday, I decided I wanted a hot shower and a proper mug of English tea. I didn’t need a shower, but the heating had been switched of all day and I had the choice of a) going back out to the warm car and waiting for the house to heat up, b) disappearing under the duvet in the bed or c) having a hot and very long shower. Option C won the day.

I flicked the halogen heater on in the lounge, which is where I had decided to towel myself dry and drink my tea, and of course the heater in the bathroom, which is contra to good sense and most health and safety laws. I then quickly got undressed and just as I was about to step into the shower I remembered the kettle.

One of two heaters to help warm the house

One of two heaters to help warm the house

We have amazingly big windows in our house, they are designed to let the heat escape during the winter and allow the sun to cook the house in the summer. As I streaked from the bathroom through the lounge to the kitchen I was praying that Luigina didn’t decide to walk past the house, the sight of so many wrinkles in full flight might have shocked her.

I filled the kettle, whilst hopping from one cold foot to another on the freezing kitchen floor and then flicked the kettle switch. After a quick streak back to the bathroom, I dived into the shower and stood in absolute bliss as the steam rose around me.  Mrs Sensible was still at work so I didn’t even have to open the bathroom window. As I soaped my hair, I was contemplating how wonderful a hot shower really is, when the bathroom light went out. Strange I thought, then the shower started to blast freezing cold water onto me and the luxury steam vanished.

Exiting a shower is a very simple process, you simply slide the door to the right or maybe it is to the left and then just step out. However add the fun of dancing around the shower cubical in the dark, whilst trying to avoid the jet of freezing cold water, plus a little soap in the eyes oh! And add scattering and kicking various potions, shower gels, shaving cans and hair shampoo bottles that are normally stood in the corner of the shower tray and you find exiting the shower in the dark is no longer quiet so easy. From the lights going out, to the first blast of cold water, and finally exiting the shower must in reality have taken a little over five second. I certainly didn’t have time to swear more than three times.

Grabbing a towel and putting on my trusty flip-flops and still dripping wet; I went to the fuse box near the front door. The little red LED that flashes on the fuse box was not flashing, and the trip switch was still in the up position. So I grabbed the nearest coat, one of Mrs Sensible’s and set off outside to reset the main trip switch on the fuse box which just happens to be not only outside, but through the gate and stuck in a box on the front of the house.

The switch had tripped, and as I was resetting it Luigina said “Ciao Peter, come stai” As Gilda  Luigina’s dog decided to lick my wet toes I answered “Fantastic, sempre bene, molti bene, e’ lei?” She looked at me as I stood there with shampoo in my hair, Mrs Sensible’s coat, flip-flops and bare legs; while her stupid dog was weighing up if my toes were edible or not. She smiled, handed me 6 fresh eggs from the hens, wished me goodnight, took one last look at me called the dog and walked back to her house.

Had Mrs Sensible been home when I decided to have a shower and make a cup of tea at the same time, things would have gone differently. First she would have made sure that the bathroom window was open so that the steam wouldn’t build up, second I wouldn’t have had to streak to the kitchen as she would have prepared the cup of tea for me and thirdly and most importantly, the electric would not have tripped out. Mrs Sensible knows to turn off the two heaters before attempting to boil a kettle.

If you have seen Electrickery  you will know I am not a supporter of Italian Electrics, and in our all singing and dancing Italian house there are 15 switches in the lounge that enables me to operate not only the SINGLE light in the lounge, but also the lights in the kitchen, bathroom, hall, front door light, outside security lights, and in all probability several lights in Luiginas house, but if I try to boil a kettle and run two heaters whilst having a hot relaxing shower the fuse box throws the trip.

Simple arithmetic

First Halogen Heater      1.2 KW

Second Halogen Heater    800 w (one bar is non functioning)

Kettle                                  2 KW

Light bulb            sweet fanny adams

Total                           4 kw (ish)

Maximum allowable kw into the house before the trip has a tizzy fit and trips, 3KW

I don’t know why it didn’t trip when I first switched the kettle on, maybe it is Machiavellian and thought it would be better and more fun to wait until I was in the shower and had soap in my hair. Who knows in Italy?

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22 thoughts on “It’s flipping cold

  1. I hope you didn’t let go of the coat round your waist as Luigina was handing you the eggs… flashing her!! and aren’t you lucky you didn’t have one of those UK locks on your front door, which slams shut and leaves you outside (in flip-flops and coated in shampoo) if you ‘ve forgotten your keys…
    Mrs Sensible is always right, I hope she gave you a long lecture in Italian!!!
    buon anno Pecora Nera and happy blogging…. looking forward to more laughs together in 2013…

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  2. I’d forgotten about these sorts of problems, being so fortunate as to now live here in the land of central heating and ‘endless’ electricity ;D Was the -22C last winter some sort of record or is that normal?

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    • Yes, last year was a bad winter, we normally expect -10°C during January and February.

      This year we have invested some of our savings in trying to keep warm.

      Mrs Sensible bought some warms jumpers and a wood burning fire for the lounge. I splashed out some money out on 2 hot water bottles and a bottle of brandy to keep the cold out.

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  3. Hahahaha …. you may not have posted a photograph of your escapades, but I can picture it perfectly!!

    It’s a common misconception that the weather in Italy (and Spain) is always hot, but houses can get decidedly chilly in winter. If it’s any consolation, we have a similar problem with overloading appliances on electrical circuits here, too. Our water is heated by gas – not via a gas main, but with a butane gas bottle – also outside the house, which tends to usually run out when I’m in the shower with shampoo in my hair!!

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    • We do not have mains gas. We have a gas tank that resembles the Beatles yellow submarine, only it is white and buried in the front garden.

      The gas costs an arm and a leg. Last night I went for a drink with Marco a guy from work and he tried to convince me that Italian houses are better built and insulated than English houses…… Sure I agreed, it is easy to keep an Italian house warm when it has cold tiled floors with no carpet and underlay.. Hay ho!

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  4. Thanks for the chuckle, glad to know that kind of thing doesn’t only happen to me 🙂 We don’t have a gas supply and I had the stupid idea of changing my gas bottle & stove for a newfangled contraption that does so much more… as long as there’s no power cut. Raw pasta in the dark is a real downer. This winter, wood heating has made it’s appearance in the house. Now I just have to remember to order the wood….

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  5. In our last house we were given an old wood burning oven. We quickly installed it in the lounge!!!! One house, one bathroom and two cookers, posh. It made a great change to the gas bill.

    I have a man, coming today to quote me for installing a wood burning fire in the lounge of this house. Although it doesn’t help with the 3 KW limitation on the house.

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  6. LOL! Awww, I feel so bad for you! From a cozy, warm shower… to freezing cold outdoors… while wet! I was cold just reading along. (though this is likely due to the fact San Diego is unusually FREEZING the last couple days too)

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