Friday, May 15, 2015


A long time ago, WAY back in 2013, we were struggling to figure out the ins and outs of our new Irish apartment. What is this strange washer in the kitchen? Why do all of the power sockets have switches...and why is there just a weird "shavers only" plug on the bathroom light? Are these Irish things or just big city things? Does every Irish home use an immersion water heater? Why does the water from that heater come out of our separate hot and cold water taps at skin-melting temperatures?

This week, Sara showed me a video that quickly explains why many of our apartment oddities (or normalities, depending on who is doing the asking) are the way they are. This video – from the Anglophenia series, which humorously explains British culture to Americans – is a good primer for anyone in the States to see what one might expect in an English home.

Yes, the video series is about England, not Ireland, and the Irish would be after me if I ever compared Ireland to the UK in any way. But there's simply no denying that the English left a pretty strong cultural impression when they finally let (most of) Ireland have independence. Left-side driving on the roads, blood sausage and curry sauce, rugby, and, of course, the English language.

Onward! In the video, our host explains the dual-use washer/dryer in the kitchen – although she leaves out the part about clothing not being dry after a two-hour drying cycle. She goes on to explain why there aren't any power sockets in the bathroom – so that's why we can't listen to the radio while we're in the shower? And hot and cold water taps are still separate...just because? I've been burning my fingers for nothing!

Interestingly, the last thing she shows us is the window – as she demonstrates that there isn't central heating or air conditioning in the mild climate of the British Isles – and she cracks that leaving the window open will lead to a room full of pigeons. Canny Americans will wonder, "How are birds getting in through the screen?"

How indeed? Not being plagued by sky-blocking swarms of mosquitoes, homes in the UK and Ireland usually don't need screens blocking the few precious rays of direct sunlight that filter through the clouds to their homes.

So there you are, American friends. If you've ever wondered what terrible hardships we suffer in our day-to-day lives, this video is a good start. A bathroom with no counter space? A washer and dryer that doesn't do either very well? Electrical outlets (and very few of them, mind) with switches? Believe it or not, it's possible to survive in such circumstances...somehow.

1 comment:

  1. At some point I've asked myself every one of those questions. In my Belfast house tour video I think I said the washer was in the kitchen because Ireland.


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