Sometimes it feels like longer than a week between each of these but apparently not, and here we all are.
§ This week we continued unboxing things and took another very full car load of stuff to charity. There are still many boxes to go. As with last time we moved, beforehand I thought, “It’s OK, no rush, we can take our time to get things right,” but after the move I only think, “Ugh, we must unbox everything as quickly as possible, this is unbearable!”
My desk is looking neat, clean and uncluttered and I can pretend my office is heading in the right direction until I turn around and see the mess of boxes and bags stacked behind my chair.
My peak of domesticity this week was Thursday when – having previously fitted draught excluders to a few doors – I successfully fitted a draught excluder to the bottom of the garage door and baked a load of cookies. Go me.
§ In the Barbican the heating for flats is a centrally-controlled system that’s enabled for six months of the year, and switches on the underfloor heating when temperatures fall below a certain level. Some flats end up too cold, some too hot, some just right. Ours had all three in different rooms. There are crude and limited methods to adjust a flat’s heating but they require having a man do something technical within a time period specified in a Service Level Agreement. Such are the delights of a 1960s vision of the urban future.
Because the heating is centrally-controlled the cost of it is included in each flat’s service charge bill, as a proportion of the total estate’s cost. Consequently, I’d never really thought about how much our heating cost: it was part of a larger bill that includes many other things, and there was nothing we could do to reduce our own heating cost anyway.
Now we’re in a house, so we have control over the heating like normal people, which is (a) good and (b) bad. Obviously it’s nice to have control over how warm to make rooms. But also, in retrospect, it can be quite pleasant to not have control over things, leaving them to higher-level decision makers. Now we have freedom I’m very aware of each hour we have the heating turned on costing more money, and the needle on the gauge of the LPG tank outside slowly going down, and the big occasional cost of having the tank filled up. Plus, having been molly-coddled by a nanny estate, we’ve no idea what normal heating schedules, thermostat temperatures, or heating costs are. What are we doing? Who let us control a house?
§ This week I glanced at Hereford on Wikipedia and was surprised to find its population is only around 56,000. I knew it wasn’t a big city but, still, it’s a city, and “by far the largest settlement in Herefordshire”! And yet it has only about twice the population of the small Essex town in which I grew up, Witham. My brain struggles with that. Witham’s about half way between Chelmsford and Colchester, both of which are twice the size of Hereford.
I’m not really going anywhere with this, I’m just registering my brain readjusting something in how it thinks of the sizes of cities.
§ The thing that makes me happiest at the moment is when a little bird decides to have a bath in the bird bath we can see from the kitchen window. I have no idea if birds enjoy baths, or even have the concept of enjoying baths, but it looks like the happiest, splashiest, silliest fun ever.
Here’s a video of many birds having a lovely splashy time:
Have a good week.