TGR: hot water bottles


This bed is big enough for two …

The temperature seems to have dipped rather dramatically over the past week, and as we inch ever further toward the heart of winter the need arises to seek more sources of precious warmth. The numerous radiators in our apartment, devastatingly, are not an option, because they are controlled centrally, and why would I want my bathroom getting all toasty when I’m in bed? It’s amount to torture, though, to have to swath myself in layers of clothing and quilts, when my bed is literally pressed up against a massive radiator. Thankfully, I have a small little space heater (called Bobby – all inanimate objects seem to be named along the lines of ‘Bob’) that warms the room up quite nicely, but I can’t leave it on the entire night because 1) bills will burn (ha ha, punny …) a hole in my wallet, and 2) it might literally burn a hole through something, which I’m rather not willing to risk, if simply because it has been a long and anxious wait to get my rent deposit back and I am NOT coming out of that empty-handed. Also I would quite like to live to see that day. Long story short, Bobby is great but he can’t last the night … it’s a good thing we aren’t talking about a person here. *eyebrows* *eyebrows everywhere*

Enter the hot water bottle. I happen to be the proud and slightly confused owner of a rubbery blue one (unnamed as yet). Until I set up camp in this country, hot water bottles in my mind were always simply the stuff of Enid Blyton stories, which of course came with the image of picnic-basket-toting girls in frilly skirts and Sunday hats, fairies, and toadstools. Disclaimer: I love Enid Blyton. Her magical worlds were always so meticulously created, her stories so beautifully woven. My parents bought me almost every Enid Blyton book there was when I was a child (thank you mummy and daddy) and that was my english education right there. I’m sure those books benefitted me far more than the english lessons at school did, because I am now a 21-year-old who tackles endless readings on modern philosophy, but couldn’t tell you the difference between a verb, noun and adjective if you paid me to.

Anyway, I digress. Back to hot water bottles. Where I’m from, the only conceivable thing to do with a hot water bottle is to wait for the water to cool, because it’s perpetually so hot and humid that if you tried tucking a hot water bottle between the sheets at night, you’ll probably wake up cooking in your own sweat (which, honestly, sometimes happens even without the hot water bottle) and your parents will think you’ve gone proper bonkers.

So, 2 days ago when I retrieved the floppy blue thing out from under the bed to use for the first time, you can understand why I took a minute to read all the fine print. Secretly I was hoping there would be some sort of instruction as to how to use it, but I suppose ‘pour hot water into the ONLY entrance on this floppy thing and then place it somewhere that needs to be warmed e.g. your feet‘ would be a waste of time and effort to print. The first night, I put water in that was only halfway-boiled (Fine print said no boiling water! RESPECT that fine print ya’ll) and it was kind of nice but didn’t stay warm for long. Yesterday night, I put in water that had been boiled fully and slightly cooled. Oooh yes, that one was a beauty. Only problem was it became TOO hot for prolonged contact with my skin. Lying in bed with the floppy boppy at my feet, I must have spent at least 15 minutes engaged in the arduous task of finding a position where my feet could be warmed without scorching the skin off them. I never found that position. O, the false promises of warmth!! In the end I just sort of curled myself around it, but not touching it, which, I feel compelled to say, rather defeated the purpose of it all.

Also, the floppy (I think we have a name …) smells strongly of that pungent rubbery odour, which is not really a problem if it’s under the sheets, but today I tried working with it on my lap and, though toasty, it smelt kinda nasty after awhile.

Me thinks: Probably should be your last resort. If your heaters break down, you don’t have a fireplace, you aren’t close enough to a stove, it’s inconvenient to start a bonfire, you don’t have access to hot coals, and home exercises don’t work to warm you up, then sure, try the floppy little thing that is a hot water bottle. Just don’t expect it to remain hot all night long (how do you say this without sounding cheeky?!).

Cheers (to warm nights and frigid mornings … at least they aren’t cold the whole way through!) x


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