I remember winters when I was a kid. My folks had this little stand-alone gas heater, which didn’t look like much but had the capacity to warm up the whole open plan living space – especially if you grabbed the dog and got under a blanket with it. Now that I live in a house with a central heating and cooling system, all zoned and everything, I sometimes think fondly of that little box and the simplicity of its one row of flickering gas flames.
Not to wax too poetical – mum has since hinted that it might have been a bit of a fire hazard. Still, it’s funny what you take for granted when you’re a kid, not to mention what you find you look back on with nostalgia as a grown up. If I’m honest, I think a big part of it is the lack of responsibilities – for example, as a kid, I never had to scour my schedule for a spare block of time in which to book a central heating service. Melbourne is starting to get cold now; must prioritise that.
That said, I think I worried more as a kid. Like, I remember getting really confused and bursting into tears once when we were on holiday and I couldn’t work the hotel’s split system heating. Melbourne kids of the 90s, can any of you relate? Technology then was not what it is now – no nicely designed touch screens, just a confusing bundle of remotes, each one a bulky slab of ineffectual buttons. If you were lucky, some of them would even work. More often than not, though, they were all out of batteries.
Ah, memories. Don’t even get me started on paper-based filing systems of my primary school years, or the dependence on my parents’ desktop computer and so-called ‘word-art’ that characterised my early high school career.
Capital cities are funny places, especially when you’re just passing through. That’s what Billy and I were doing in Canberra on the weekend. We were on our way out west to see her sister and needed a stopover to break up the drive, what with having a baby in tow and all.
We booked ourselves into a moderately classy hotel – comfort first when you’re on the road. At least, that was what we counting on. It’s not exactly high summer, so we deliberately picked somewhere with ducted heating. Canberra can get pretty cold, you know. The room we ended up with, though, fell quite a bit below the mark when the heating got stuck on full bore in the middle of the night.
Baby Hughie wasn’t very pleased with this state of affairs, and neither were we, really. We had to call up the management, who concluded we’d need to change rooms. Just what we wanted at 3am! There wasn’t really anything else for it, though. After all, heating repairs near Canberra aren’t available at the drop of a hat in the wee hours.
I can’t really blame the establishment, I suppose. They can’t be expected to have everything working perfectly 100% of the time; we just got unlucky. That said, I have noticed problems with the climate control systems – both heating and air con – at a bunch of different hotels I’ve frequented. I do wonder if they could, perhaps, stand to put just a little more thought into sticking to a maintenance schedule.
Anyway, baby Hughie finally went off to sleep just as we’d decided to call it a night and get up out of bed, so it was room service for breakfast. They do a very decent coffee there, I’ve heard, but I opted for a big old glass of iced water, in light of the fact that I’d been rocking the high temperatures all night.