Tuesday, August 05, 2003

It is hot

England simply doesn't cope well with extremes of weather of any kind. Many shops, workplaces and other buildings are not air conditioned, and this suddenly becomes a big deal. Those that are air conditioned have a sort of wimpy air conditioning that doesn't really cope in genuinely hot weather. (Nobody in Atlanta would stand for this, but this isn't Atlanta). Newsagents selling Coca-Cola and other cold drinks generally use these weird open refrigerator things that don't have doors on the front but are continually open, and which keep the drinks I suppose five degrees or so cooler than the ambient temperature. These are sort of okay in the weather that we have for most of the year, but when the temperature is over 30 degrees, they can't cope. Even when stores do invest in closed door refrigerators, they don't get the idea that the cold drinks need to be at the front. People buy the drinks from the front, and the refrigerators are then restocked by putting warm drinks at the front. If you want a cold drink you have to reach around the warm drinks to get a cold one from the back. However, somehow the refrigerators themselves don't seem to be up to scratch either, because even drinks taken from the back are not ice cold the way Australians would expect.

Why am I ranting like this. Well, yesterday evening I ran out of beer, and although I bought some more beer and brought it home with me this evening, it isn't cold yet. This shouldn't be a problem, because the little general store down the road has a liquor licence and sells beer (as would not be possible in Sydney due to the city's absurd liquor licensing laws), and surely they would have a can of beer in the refrigerator that I could buy from them. However, for some reason the beer in their refigerator was lukewarm. The shopkeeper told me he would get me a colder one from the refrigerator out the back, but somehow it was no better than tepid. I bought it and drank it anyway, but surely a can of beer that is actually cold isn't too hard a thing to manage. (Yes, it is my fault for forgetting to buy beer to refrigerate myself before today).

Another thing about the British is that they eat enormous numbers of chocolate bars. Every newsagent or corner store is full of an enormous choice of these, and they are inexpensive. They are also very nice: British chocolate is in my opinion made to recipes that taste better than chocolate in Australia. However, in hot weather you discover that British chocolate also doesn't cope well. You go into a shop and pick up a Kit-Kat, and discover that it is uncomfortably flexible. Australian chocolate may taste worse, but it is at least made to a recipe that makes it heat resistant.

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