There was frost on the inside of the windscreen it was that cold. Conscious that today’s picture was a bit shit I nipped up to the 5th floor so that you could see a frozen ROYAL Leamington Spa.
Other adventures today helped me realise that not only am I wasted in my job, but I am also, in a big headed fashion, possibly what the modern British education system needs to educate the young and stupid. On two occasions I witnessed first hand how inept some of the college staff are.
Let me first highlight, if you, in some future or current capacity, need to get an accountant, I suggest you ask them where they did their AAT exams. If your investigations discover they studied at Warwickshire College…fire them immediately or look elsewhere. Purely because the accountancy teaching staff in the college are a bunch of idiots. Secondly, the fact that the fashion lecturers, in this day and age, require “immediate assistance” to show them how to double click on a desktop shortcut, must prove that someone like me should be made head master as soon as I’ve qualified as a teacher. Seriously, these people are only a light illustration of the total lack of IT knowledge amongst the teaching staff here. And I thought NEW College in Pontefract was bad.
Finally, those that actually pay attention should know that my contact details are, as always, stored at the very first entry in this journal. It might be worth remembering that this year I moved from the wilds of Yorkshire to the madness of the West Midlands.
I do. It’s just that when people say to me “It’s bloody cold” that’s my stock answer.
It’s bloody cold.
Therefore I don’t know the meaning of cold.
I then usually go onto talk about my first flat and how I managed to try and keep warm during my days as an unemployed workless youth.
My first flat was above a fishing tackle shop on Smithdown Road in Liverpool. You can see the flat from the main road if you’re ever down that way.
In summer the flat was so hot you had to have all the doors and windows open so that you didn’t melt into a pool of flesh. Furthermore, the wearing of clothes during this time was seen as foolish as the heat would cause you to sweat buckets full of perspiration.
The flipside though was the winter. During the winter that flat was so cold, you would come home from work (or in my case, from somewhere warmer) to find polar bears sat round holes cut in the floor trying to catch fish, while Inuit tribesmen would try and barter cigarettes for blubber and animal furs.
The windows were those awful sash window jobbies. The sort that when the wind blew, it would come up between the top and bottom sashes and be like sheets of sharp cold steel piercing the air and stealing what little warmth you could generate. The window gaps soon got sealed with newspaper and the frames were shrinkwrapped with that double glazing plastic bobbins, you know the type that you heat with a hairdryer?
The mains electricity was delivered through an old 50 pence meter….and I mean old 50 pences. I had to buy the old coins off the landlord. With coin metered electricity you really don’t get a good deal. 50p would last you about an hour in cold weather.
To heat the flat, the landlord provided a calor gas heater and a two bar electric fire. The two bar electric fire only increased the temperature after I managed to procure 2 red bulbs to fit to the “Real flame effect” thingie that the fireplace had. So I think that was psychological heat anyway.
The single calor gas heater was as much use as a cigarette lighter and just made everything taste funny. Further fortune befell me however, when I managed to procure a second calor gas heater. That made it feel a bit cosier.
So with 2 calor gas fires and a two bar electric fire with real flame effect lighting you’d probably think you were nice and warm enough to hibernate for the winter. Well bollocks to that pal. It was still cold. More heat was generated by an electric fan heater (donated by the parents) and by switching the hot water boiler on. Yet it was still too cold.
So to further combat the chilly knives of doom the only line of defence was the clothing. Pyjamas were worn under everyday clothes and over underwear and a fleece coat was also employed in the “lets keep warm” fashion parade. The pyjama legs were tucked into socks and the sleeves were tucked into fingerless mittens. Gok Wan would have been so proud of my fashion statement.
So you’d think that you’d be nice and snug with all that going on….well you’d be wrong. On the couch I had a sleeping bag AND a spare duvet and in the bed I had an electric blanket and two more duvets. Honestly! It was so cold in that flat….Sleepwear consisted of two layers of pyjamas and the fleecy coat under a fluffy dressing gown.
Morning routine involved getting out of bed half an hour before you had to get up and switching on the shower so that it had time to heat up. With the shower switched on, the smaller calor gas heater would be moved to the sitting room (the bathroom adjoined the sitting room too) and switched on to heat both the sitting room and the bathroom.
The larger calor gas heater would then be switched on with the kettle, the electric blanket and the TV and a further half hour in bed was claimed while the shower heated up.
The dash to the bathroom helped generate some body heat and a long shower was often had because leaving the warmth of the hot water would often be too much. On finishing the shower, the body would be wrapped in two towels and the fluffy dressing gown, a further cup of tea was had and, money permitting, a bowl of microwaved porridge consumed in front of the small calor gas fire and the electric fire on one bar (to conserve electricity).
After dressing quickly (well as quick as you can when you wear 4 layers of clothing) the flat would be left to cool down and the day’s activities, whatever they were, were conducted, usually in the free warmth of someone else’s flat, the pub or in the city centre shops, cinema or library…..
Look. It’s fucking freezing ok? Yeah yeah ok robynz and maybe zelest and think4yrself probably would think that -2 was the height of summer but no…..not here….-2 is like fucking Arctic. There’s Eskimos Innuit trying to hunt fucking fish through ice holes in the back garden. Trying to tell them a) that there are no fish b) There is no snow to cut the holes into c) there are 70 miles to the nearest stretch of salt water d) to fuck off my property before I call the police and immigration just doesnt seem to put the fuckers off.
It’s so bloody cold, the kettle steams when it’s not on the hob! We’re saving fucking electricity by illuminating the rooms with our red noses.
So in an effort to heat up the body (and of course to celebrate birthday’s) tonight I’m going to fill my body with curry. It is the only solution. Hot spicy warming curry. That is if my feet don’t snap off at the ankles with this bloody cold.
Send hot water bottles and blankets…..please…..
(and maybe some cups of tea)
(and some nice chocolate)
(while you’re at it get us some of those crisps and a 4 pack of Peeterman Artois)
Day 3. The cold is unabating. Feet and hands have turned blue. Oates, the blasted fool, his fingers blackened with frostbite asked if we wanted anything from the Brierley Village stores then left the house. His parting remarks “I am just going to get some fags and may be some time” chill us further to the bone than this blasted cold. We fear we may never see him again.
In the UK, generally, if it gets a bit blowy, more than 2 inches of snow or a slightly larger than usual puddle forms on the road outside the town hall, then the infrastructure of the entire country grinds to a halt and we all stand round tutting and blaming the government or indeed the council for not doing enough to prevent such a disaster. Similarly, though rare in occurrence these days, if the temperature falls below -3°C we get a bit panicky, pensioners start dying and we close a few roads here and there for safety reasons.
In reality, we in the UK are a bunch of gnesh girlies when it comes to the weather. Take the other extreme, when it gets a bit too warm we whinge on about how “Bloody hot it is” and we lock ourselves in our unairconditioned (air conditioning is a Merrican thing and a totally unBritish thing to do) offices with the windows wide open, sighing and dripping sweat all over our work.
To think once we had the largest Empire this world has ever known! Pah!