I am realising that it always takes time to acclimatise to a new setting. Even to a very familiar one.
So, I have been spending the past week acclimatising, quite literally speaking.
After a month of Swedish winter with comfortably cold weather and cosily heated interiors, I’m being reintroduced to the mysteries of Greek winter in times of crisis. It is flabbergasting to realise how much more I freeze here. Despite the admittedly milder climate.
Oh boy, is the cold humid here! And penetrating! I should also add that Greek houses are certainly not perfectly insulated. Nowadays, Greeks have to fight cold with imagination.
Necessity is the mother of invention…
Petrol prices are unaffordable. Inverters have become vastly popular. Unfortunately enough, they are powered by electricity based on non renewable and polluting energy sources (coal and lignite).
Many have reverted to burning wood in fire-places or stoves, which in turn produce smog…The use of inappropriate wood and illegal logging are “new” problems reminiscent of the good old days. On a cold day, Athens and Thessaloniki tend to smell like Santa Claus’s village.
Demand for natural gas is rising, but the network is not fully fledged. This entails additional incurred expenses for those who still want to connect, but happen to be out of the network’s reach. Even if you decide to go for it and pay the dough, it can take up to a year until you’re actually connected.
I think that the average Greek could give a lecture on available options for household heating with all the pros and cons.
It goes without saying that only the most strategic parts of a home are heated. Two (small) rooms of our apartment are kept completely closed and unheated.
My friend and her family keep the children’s room closed all day and in the evenings, the couple and the two kids take turns sleeping in the master bedroom and the living room sofas.
I think that in the West we have been living in an energy la-la-land for quite a long time. Especially in countries using nuclear power, the relation to energy has become distorted. Because it is cheap and accessible, people tend not to think of it as a valuable resource.
When my father was growing up, their house was heated with a wood-stove. Bedrooms would remain unheated. Sometimes, they would heat bricks on the stove, cover them in towels and put them at the foot of their bed to keep warm at night.
I don’t think hot bricks wrapped in towels sound like a bad idea.
After all, vintage problems require vintage solutions.