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London Heat

Technology Christmas party left me with quite a headache, and the next morning my first local hire was starting. I am afraid I was hardly a presentable boss. The only mitigating factor was my own boss, visiting from New York, whom the party left in a much worse shape…

When I wrote about the things that we took for granted in the States, I omitted one important thing that has become a constant bother: Lack of a thermostat. What we have in our house is a “programmer”, which is basically a switch with four settings. On and Off are obvious ones, plus there is Once and Twice. What the last two mean is that you can set periods of time during the day, for the heat to switch on at a defined time and then automatically switch off at the end of the period. Depending on the switch position, only one or both of those periods would be in play.

Recalling our Brooklyn days, we did not have even that luxury. Whenever the Super decided to turn the heat on, it came on. But as respectable homeowners, we have gotten used to the heat being regulated on the basis of the current temperature…

The heating is via radiators in every room. They warm up rather quickly and burning hot after 20 minutes or so. The room becomes stifling hot within 15 minutes more. If you turn the heat off at that point, cooling down takes about an hour, at which point it makes sense to start heating again.

We basically need the heat to come on and off at least 3-4 times during the evening, maybe even more. But there are only 2 periods in the entire day that we can program. So we don’t even bother. It’s “please turn the heat on, honey” and “could you please turn the heat off, sweety” throughout the evening.

And during the night? Let’s just say that we have really warm blankets… And I have the heat programmed to turn on at 6:30 in the morning, so that at least I get a reasonably warm bathroom…

If you are not bored to death yet with my morning driving updates, I’ll make another effort. Becky and I have been exceptionally lucky most of the week. As I expected, Tuesday was worse than Monday, but not by too much. As for the next couple of days, I have been breezing through in about 25 minutes for the round-trip.

We did make some changes to the schedule, though. Becky decided to have breakfasts at school – there are quite a few girls who do that – and quickly grown very fond of it. She claims the fresh croissants are unbelievable!… Anyway, as she does not need to have breakfast at home, she gets to sleep for extra 15 minutes. I now do my own morning grooming first and wake her up at 7. The rest of the schedule is the same as before.

Kimmy had a Christmas Fair in her school. Flush with money – the Tooth Fairy had to bring her two pounds over the last couple of weeks – she decided to spend as much as she could. Outrageous costs of 20p per toy could not deter her. Guess how many new toys we have in the house?

We have been working on our travel plans for the foreseeable future. The initial list of places to visit ran to almost a hundred items, but half of it is London sights. There are two dozen day-trips, fifteen or so “short” trips (i.e., a couple of days) and about as many long ones. There is probably not a ounce of chance that we can realize all of these, but we might as well try. The school year gives us six vacations throughout – if only I had that many vacation days myself… I’ll have to do with paltry 26…


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