Blue lips are sexy, no really! - Tactical Ninja
May. 25th, 2011
09:33 am - Blue lips are sexy, no really!
I was totally coiffed when I left home this morning. Shiny, smooth, not one hair out of place.* Then Wellington happened as Wellington is wont to do, as I walked around the waterfront. Now it's dark again and all stormy and stuff. Half of me is wet - the left half - and I look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards, as does everyone else in the office, even though some of them only walked from their car park to here.
Welcome to Wellington, we have weather! I'm kind of astounded we don't have more windfarms, we certainly have the capacity for them. Then we could sell power to those poor windless fuckers in.. wait. Unzud has wind everywhere.
So why aren't there more windfarms again?
There was a thing on some forum the other day about the standard of living in New Zealand and someone not-from-here said something about how we have 'mild summers and winters'. I left a flip comment along the lines of "Someone's been telling you porkies about our mild conditions. Signed, everyone in Wellington." Cue a shower of people telling me all about how I should harden up because NORWAY! CANADA! etc etc. And, of course, Dunedin.
In a way they're right. Objectively, our temperatures don't usually go below zero. An average Wellington winter's day is around 8-12 Celsius. It gets colder at night, naturally, but you don't get the crazy always-below-zero, snow-everywhere and don't cry because your eyelashes will crack off temperatures that Arctic Circle places get. And even factoring in the windchill that often lowers the temperature 6 or 7 degrees, that blows unimpeded from Antarctica to here, it's still not THAT cold. So those folks are right, we're a pack of whingers and should just harden up right?
Except no. The thing about Canada and Norway is that everyone knows it's cold in those places. Thus, the homes are insulated and double glazed and heated. The infrastructure is set up to deal with extreme cold, and shops sell warm clothes. New Zealand, on the other hand, is a Pacific Island. Think Tahiti! Think Hawai'i! Only not. But when NZ was colonised by the British and homes started being built, there was an assumption that since we're a Pacific Island, insulation wouldn't be necessary. According to stats, around half of NZ's homes have insufficient insulation. It's only in the last couple of years that any effort has been made to do something about retrofitting insulation to NZ homes. It was only in 2007 that the Building Regulations were amended to include a requirement for double glazing as part of thermal resistance in new houses, and many older homes still have highly inefficient open fireplaces. Add to this that we have a high rainfall and a lot of trees and subsequent issues with rising damp, and things are Not So Tropical Ackshully.
So what you end up with is the archetypal (for kiwis) damp student flat with high ceilings, no double glazing, no insulation, draughts and a crappy fireplace. These are everywhere in Wellington, and when we're in the teeth of a howling southerly (with added sleet yay!) it's common for people to be sitting in their lounge wrapped in blankets to keep warm because it's 6 degrees inside as well as outside. I can honestly say I've never been so cold as I was when I lived at my brother's on the north side of Ngaio Gorge. That house was draughty and heaters achieved little to battle it. I would encourage my dog to sit on my feet, and still end up with chillblains.
And just in case nobody's convinced that it does get cold here yet, I've spoken with folks from both Canada and colder European countries who have pretty much unanimously said that they've never been so cold as they have in Wellington. But then, they probably haven't lived in Dunedin - it has all the same issues Wellington has, but is further south so yes, it's colder there. Those folks are seriously hardcore.
On the upside, our summers are kind of mild. It rarely goes over 30 degrees, in fact mostly it sits between 18 and 24. So nobody's about to die of heatstroke here. But I really do wish folks who don't know would shut up and stop telling us that our winters are mild. We don't get snow really, instead we get 40 knot winds off Antarctica, full of mixed ice and water. Then we step inside to rising damp and no insulation. SO MILD.
The house I'm in now is the first one I've lived in that's properly insulated and not draughty. It has a firebox with an exposed flue and lighting it heats the whole house in an hour, which then stays warm most of a night. And it's bloody awesome. All it needs is double glazing on the giant, southerly-facing picture window and it'd be perfect.
I guess that all sprung to mind because having got wet on the way to work I am now kind of cold - our building's central air conditioning system seems to take a day or so to catch up with changes in temperature, and we're in the Roaring Forties so the temperature changes hourly, not weekly.
I can has warm boy now? *forlorn look*
So LJ, please warm me up by telling me about the coldest you've ever been. Apart from abovementioned house, it would have to be fixing broken water troughs in Masterton in -4 Celsius after the bulls broke the valves and water went everywhere. Tip: you can't fix float valves with gloves on, fuckitall.
* This might be a lie. Anyone who knows me will also know that my hair is a paid-up member of Hair Going Its Own Way.
PS Queen of Thorns' take on the Wellywood sign is the funniest one I've seen yet, with added QoT supersnark.