As someone who has lived most of his life in Scotland I tend to regard most places south of Wales as being tropical.
I still remember the day I went on my first foreign holiday. It was to a Spanish island and I thought that I was going to pass out due to the heat. I took about 6 cold showers a day and still couldn’t seem to regulate my body temperature.
It didn’t help that my hotel room was the size of a particularly modest jail cell and that my back and neck were still red hot from the sunburn I had suffered on the first day. At that point if you had told me that a few years later I would tremble from the cold in supposedly warm countries I would have laughed at you before rushing off for another cold shower.
However, since then I have realised that once you get used to the heat the drop of even a few degrees can be terrible for your body. After a year of living in South America I went home to Scotland. I was driving a hire car and had to pull into one of those awful out of town designer retail outlets to buy a heavy jacket. When I reached my parents’ home they were all sitting around in t-shirts while I looked like I had just returned from Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.
It is worth considering how different types of heating are used all over the world. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject but I have trembled in various countries so it might be interesting to see what methods they use to beat the cold.
I lived in Bolivia for a while and my house had a big boiler outside of the house. It had a long metal tube leading out of the top of it to dissipate the heat and was connected to a rusting old gas tank. It all looked very precarious. When the tank ran out of gas -which happened once a week or so – I had to disconnect it and go to the local shop to swap it for a new one. The first time I did this I genuinely expected something to explode but it worked out ok in the end. The altitude means that the temperature drops greatly at night time so having something to warm the house is essential.
I was here during the summer but I did notice that a lot of houses use old fashioned log fires. In fact, out back a lot of them also had stone ovens which were operated by lighting a fire under them with wood. I was in small towns most of the time and I guess that in the big cities they use systems similar to those I just described in Bolivia.
No Spanish Radiators
I stayed in 4 different houses in Spain and didn’t see a single radiator. It gets surprisingly cold here when winter kicks in but as far as I could see most people rely on little gas heaters. Clearly I never stayed in any palaces or mansions and I would expect that in these places something similar to what we use in the UK is the order of the day. The bank I worked in had a central heating and air conditioning system which seemed to be permanently out of order. I suspect that the branch manager sabotaged it to keep costs down, as my Scottish upbringing meant that I asked for them to put the air conditioning on full all day even in winter. Just as my body got used to the heat I asked them to put on the heating instead and this mysteriously stopped working too.
When you see some of the heating methods used around the world you will be glad that you have a reliable British Gas boiler at home