At the moment, in Brighton, the temperature is minus two degrees celsius. Coldy-cold, I’m reliably told, is how cold it’s been today. I am acutely aware of how cold it is at this very moment for a couple of reasons.
Firstly and most importantly, my radiator has packed up. Whether this is a politically motivated activity or a simple electrical fault, I’ve yet to discover. The state of extreme temperature awareness has caused me to realise that I have absolutely no tools whatsoever, and even if I had tools there’s nowhere open that would sell fuses.
Secondly – and this is of great significance to the current way of thinking – my flat is horribly inefficient. It is single glazed, with elderly wooden frames supporting thin, freezing glass. On the back door there is perhaps the most environmentally unfriendly addition to a dwelling it is possible to make – a catflap. Until the catflap was installed, the inhabitants could safely switch on a heater knowing that the bulk of the warmth would stay within the confines of their home. Now, though, I switch on my heater knowing that I am effectively heating my garden and the rest of Brighton, via a 7′ x 7′ hole in the door of the property. That is when I have a heater of course – this evening I needn’t worry about the financial or environmental implications of poor insulation. Just the very real sensation of my extremities going numb, and the unfortunate predicament of being too cold to go to the lavatory.
(In other news: Does Brighton need a ferris wheel? More on that tomorrow!)