England Doesn’t Believe In Air Conditioning (And Other Essential Things)

So, remember that beautifully packed suitcase? It didn’t actually arrive back in Merrie Olde England (and neither did I) until Saturday due to delays. Because of the bad weather in Atlanta, I had to be re-booked. My flights weren’t too bad and I arrived back earlier in the day than I expected.

This has been a difficult week. I had to write an essays by today, so I have been frantically reading since Sunday. I spent almost all day Sunday in the library (I was surprised how many people were there). All this reading has meant I have barely seen people in general, and I have not had time to blog, write (other than the essay and notes on my reading), review Russian, or translate.

Life here is good in Merrie Olde England. The weather is a lot warmer, which brings me to the title of today’s post: the fact that England does not believe in air conditioning.

See, I get that air conditioning is expensive and people probably can’t afford it. England is an expensive country (at least from an American point of view). In fact, when we were talking about money, one of my friends once said to me, “It’s hard being middle-class in England.” But if you are going to not have air conditioning and create a situation in which windows will have to be opened, why oh why would you not put screens on the windows?

My room is boiling hot with this weather. I am on the top floor of my building and I usually have to keep my window open. I came up with a solution to the no screen issue: I have taped a piece of netting over my window so the creepy crawlies cannot come in.

You see, at the beginning of first term, the weather was similarly warm and I had my window open one night. Imagine my surprise and displeasure when a rather large spider decided to infiltrate my room as I was reading. I immediately shut the window (hey, I didn’t know if the spider in question had friends out there) and tried to think of a way to get rid of the offending creature. It crawled into my radiator, so I turned it on in hopes of killing the spider. I don’t know if that worked, but I never saw the creature again.

And yes, it was a rather large spider–I promise I’m not exaggerating. It was quite a bit larger than a quarter (for the Americans), a £2 coin (for the British), and a 1 euro coin (I’m actually not entirely sure about this last statement, as I am a bit hazy on the sizes of euro coins). The bottom line: if I had had a screen, the stupid thing would not have invaded my room. So don’t tell me screens are unnecessary in England!

While I’m on a rant about what England does not have that it needs, here’s a brief list:

  • Peanut butter. Seriously, I never, ever see peanut butter or peanut butter products (i.e. Reese’s). Maybe I am not looking in the right places…
  • List of active ingredients on face wash. I absolutely love Neutrogena products. I have used Neutrogena face wash for years (and no, they’re not paying me to say that). On my nice American Neutrogena face wash bottle, it proudly says on the back: “Active ingredient: salicylic acid, 2%.” But here in the UK, there is no active ingredient listed. I figure this can mean one of two things: either the company is not required by law to list active ingredients or the UK face wash does not have salicylic acid in. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know; I really am curious.

But lest you think that I despise England (I don’t), I’ll mention some of my favorite things here.

  • Buses and trains. I can get on a bus and be in London in about two hours. That’s awesome. To get to the capital in the US, I have to take a plane ride, most likely with at least one connection.
  • Old buildings. The United States just doesn’t have the sheer history that this country does. Once, during a car ride (one of the few car rides I have been on here, and it merits a post all by itself), we drove through a small village that dated back to the time of the Anglo-Saxons. That’s just plain amazing. And I currently live in a building that dates from the nineteenth century.

Yes, England is quite fun and interesting. I will definitely miss it when I return home.

And now a brief contest: if you can tell me what was going through my mind when I titled this post (“England Does Not Believe in Air Conditioning”), I will send you a postcard. No matter where you are in the world, you will get a handwritten, lovely postcard from yours truly. Just leave your answer in the comments (with a valid email address so I have some way of contacting you for your address).

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3 thoughts on “England Doesn’t Believe In Air Conditioning (And Other Essential Things)

  1. very interesting, especially as one of my goals is to move to the UK. But being born/raised in the States, I do enjoy AC when necessary, so I’m very nervous about the lack of it (esp. after the spate of recent heat waves). Not to mention the horrors this this website brings up as well: http://tinyurl.com/o3w8vrt

    As excited as I am about the possibility of this move, I am one who really enjoys her Stateside “luxuries” like AC and customer service…so the culture shock may really throw me for a loop!

  2. Even in heat waves it still cools down at night in England, anyways London and SE has the highest summer temps so if you plan on moving anywhere else in the UK you’ll be fine! 25c is a heatwave! with my family in the NE!

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