I STILL remember the day I first arrived in London. It was Jan 4, 2003, in a cold, wintry evening. My best friend during the first few months was the radiator, until I discovered the joys of an electric blanket.
My life has not really changed that much since I first walked out of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The electric blanket is still a firm and steadfast ally in my battle to remain warm during winter and the cold evenings the rest of the year.
When my husband and I married and moved into a flat together in January 2006, little did I realise that keeping warm was going to remain a lifelong battle.
Every winter, it is a constant battle to reach an agreement on what is classed as “comfortable temperature” for the both of us. Did I forget to mention that my husband is Scottish and hails from Aberdeen where the weather is generally, cold, cold and freezing cold? Ok, perhaps I am exaggerating a tad bit, but hey, 18°C is not what I would consider a “comfortable room temperature”.
“Well, if you are cold, you can put another layer on, but there is only so much I can take off,” is the constant reply I get from him when I whimper and whine about how cold it is in the house. Needless to say, I spend winters, autumns and spring, and some cold summer days, mostly in thick jumpers.
And, believe it or not, we have the window slightly open, even during winter nights for as the husband says, “for some fresh air”. Why anyone would want bitingly cold fresh air is beyond me, especially in the early hours of the morning, when temperatures can drop to below freezing level. I am now into my second electric blanket and we are still faithful companions.
I do constantly edge the thermostat a little higher when the husband is not looking, but I do have to confess that I am now quite comfortable in one layer of clothing but often a woollen long sleeve jumper. And, surprisingly, our fight to contract the temperature is not just confined to the house.
The car is another space that we often share for lengthy periods of time and it has often been another angst of mine. Hubby loves to drive with the hood down, and takes every opportunity to do so, yes, even during cold days. All he needs is to see ONE car with the hood down and he decides that it is okay to have his car hood down, regardless of whether his wife is freezing cold. “I will put the heater on full blast for you,” he says, as the hood whizzes, with poor me scrambling to look for my shawl and jacket, which years of experience having taught me to leave in the back seat for days like these.
The only thing I can look forward to is when he is old and when the cold finally gets to his bones, he will finally agree to increase the heating in the house. But that is a long, long way to go and hopefully, by then, I would have persuaded him to move to Malaysia. But then again, the battle with the air-conditioning will commence