When Matt's parents came to visit us in our old place, they were amazed by many of our Irish conventions. His dad spent an afternoon documenting our bathrooms and cupboards and kitchen layout. Having lived here over a year at the time, it was a bit funny to see our Irish house through new American eyes. We tend to forget how foreign it all seemed at first glance, when today most everything feels familiar, if not normal.
There are a few things, though, that take a bit longer getting used to...
Like the water heater.
It's got a rotary dial, with tiny little switches corresponding to times of day. It goes by the 24-hour clock which is it's only little brand of confusing (who needs am/pm??), but there's also no clear indication on which way you push the little dial notches to turn the water heater on. Even when you get that sorted, the thermostat (which is separate, in another room) has to be turned on enough for the heat to kick on through the radiators. THEN you can get hot water... if the heat's not on in the house, it's not on in the water either.
Or the radiators.
I actually quite love them. They are attached to the wall and handy for drying clothes on and leaning up against to warm against the cold, damp winter's chill. We have a radiator in every room, and in the upstairs rooms, the "rads" have a handy dial numbered 1-5 in order for you to control how hot you want it. I love this! Unfortunately, our downstairs rads are not so helpful, and whilst you can turn one to the right in one room, another room has you turning it left, and some don't budge at all. So if you don't want heat in the summer, best to leave the aforementioned water heater off at all times, and turn to...
The hot water immersion tank.
This is a giant fun thing found in the upstairs hot press (linen closet, which I guess in olden days was where you stored damp linens to dry). Ours has two switches: an on/off switch and a bath/sink switch. In the winter, we don't typically use the immersion tank because we have the water heater on downstairs. But in the summer, if you want a hot bath or hot water for dirty dishes, you gotta flip the switch. I've not really figured out a good system for this, and am almost always giving the children cold baths.
So, apparently all the little things I'm still figuring out have to do with heating water.
Tomorrow I'll tackle the things I love, which... actually... also have to do with heating water... like the electric kettle!
To be continued.