Tricks of the Trade

The Displaced Nation Trilogy – Part 3

During the height of the summer we were like camp vampires and only ventured out after dark. Earlier in the season, we found ourselves sweltering in 40 plus heat with no air conditioning. Because our little cottage has 18 inch thick stone and concrete walls, it took us weeks to find a technical solution. In the meantime, I received a host of suggestions to help us through the sleepless, sweaty nights. I’d like to share a few:

  • Wrap a gel-type freezer pack in a wet tea-towel and apply it to your hot bits (and watch them shrink)
  • Buy a floor-standing industrial fan (but nail everything down)
  • Bathe your feet in an ice bucket (and develop frostbite)
  • Take a cold shower before bedtime (except the cold water is hot at this time of year)
  • Sleep on a wet towel (and rot the mattress)
  • Decamp to the roof (and get eaten alive my mozzies)
  • Emigrate to Sweden

Thank you Pansy Fans for the suggestions. Any more? You can read the full Displaced Nation article here.

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7 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade

  1. Well, there is Marilyn Monroe’s solution (from Seven Year Itch) – keep your underwear in the fridge! We have an industrial fan in the bedroom at night. It’s noisy but now the sheer racket actually sends me off to sleep. Another solution for us is to get as high up as possible (the mountains are cooler) – or into the sea. But the Caribbean is like a tepid bath most of the year round – better is an ice cold river, mmmm. Frequent cold showers are best. When out, look for A) a very shady tree or B) inside, a fan or air conditioning duct, and get to it as close as you can get.

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  2. I’m guessing ceiling fans aren’t an option, either. When we lived in North Carolina (summers are hot and humid with temps hovering between 35 and 40 for 3+ months), and we had ceiling fans in a couple rooms. Heavenly. Otherwise, I’d suggest sleepin au naturel and putting a cool, damp washcloth over your forehead and eyes until you fall asleep. Or sell tons of copies of your book, become a famous celebrity author and head north for 6 weeks each year!

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  3. So you discovered that the thick stone and brick walls are not good insulation from the heat. Once the stone and brick gets really heated up by the sun…., would be like sitting in an oven. You could try bathing the outside of the house in cold water, or some sort of reflective surface but neither of these are really practical.
    So what was your solution?

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  4. Actually thick stone walls do keep the house cool(er) in summer and warm in winter but the problem, certainly with our house, is that their is no insulation in the roof space. Boiling hot sun heating up the roof tiles doesn’t help at all.
    So I suppose the solution is have insulation put in . . . but we already pay enough in rent!

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  5. Friends that also live in a stone house have found that keeping all doors and windows closed all day helps to keep the house cooler as the stone walls do actually provide a certain amount of insulation on their own. Apparently there is a proven logic behind it which is far too complicated for me to remember on a Monday morning. Still, might be worth a try…

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