Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Keeping warm

It's late autumn now, the evenings are drawing in and - in spite of the sunlight blazing off the copper leaves during daylight hours - I still feel the irresistible urge to curl up into a tight little ball under the duvet and not come out again until April.

Over the summer, my parents changed the heating system in their house. They now have a condensation boiler: apparently this is the only kind you are allowed due to global warming. I had no idea. In any case, there are no flames in the bathtub. In fact, there is no heat of any kind in the bathroom whatsoever, and the only form of ventilation is to open the window.
On particularly frosty mornings, I am tempted to take the dog in with me for warmth.
Only the dog takes longer to dry than I do, so it wouldn't really be fair.

Now - I'm sure you've noticed - but every building has its own particular quirks, particularly in the noise department. We all know by heart the creaks and gurgles of our childhood homes shifting and settling in the night, and we've all been woken up by the desperate thud of silt in the boiler (disturbingly similar to the sound of someone banging on the back door). I'd just got used to the ice cracking on the back of the fridge on Starowiślna and, well, as a child I almost found babble of the radiator in the family home soothing.

Before I left for Sweden halfway through September the heating was still off for the summer.

Now, suddenly, the new radiators are on, and it's as though the house has started speaking in a foreign language.

I got back from Bratislava on Friday night to an empty house and tried to drift off to sleep. Not a hope. Downstairs, the sound of someone clicking light switches! I crept out of bed: no lights. Then: whoosh! A cascade of water - had someone suddenly turned on all the taps? No. It was just our noisy-but-ecologically-sound central heating.
It's taking a little getting used to.
Incidentally, there is an interesting side-effect brought on by hearing running water tinkling through the system twenty four hours a day.
Unfortunately it hasn't done much for the Spaniel, whose will is stronger than her bladder and who stubbornly refuses to go outside unless you play ball with her for fifteen minutes first.

The Spaniel is now allowed to sleep on the floor beside my bed. I say 'allowed' - she's clever and waits until I go into the bathroom to clean my teeth before sneaking in. I quite like the company, and she doesn't snore too much - although she tends to wake up a good two and a half hours before I do. I wouldn't mind so much if she'd learn to open the door and let herself out too but she hasn't got the hang of it yet. Instead, she accidentally makes some very loud Pino-awakening kerfuffle: either by shaking her ears noisily or thudding her tail ("oops did I wake you up? silly me").
From time to time, when she thinks my guard is down, she will wake me in the night. I hear whatever doggy disturbance she is making, wonder why I am awake and stumble into the bathroom. Upon my return, there in the middle of the bed is a small stubborn mound of curled-up springer spaniel. Her nose is very firmly buried in her own fur so I can't see the expression on her face.
- I'm asleep. It says - slightly muffled, doing a very good impression of a small, white, spotty Cumberland sausage.
I pull her off the bed by the collar. And then go to check the tap, which is leaking.

When I come back, the Cumberland-spaniel-sausage is curled up on my duvet again.

1 comment:

expateek said...

Awww. You make me miss my snuggly big dog! Hopefully he's happily enjoying sunny South Africa, whilst we pull in and prepare for our snowy Warszawian winter. You're lucky to have such a devoted companion by your side. OR in your bed.

Mustn't grumble! :-)

(Not that you are, of course!)