Living here for two weeks now and I finally have a decent list of cottage quirks that I can list. Our house is a little over 100 years old, with quite a bit of history attached to it. I’m very thankful, however, for how modern it is as well. Having to pull water from a well or raise our own free range chickens in the backyard would have been quite a transition. Above pictured is our wall outlets. They require a converter for all our American plugs and to save energy, they also have on and off switches. Coming from the US, I’m sometimes forget to turn the switch to on, which has led to some funny instances of my phone not charging or not being able to dry my hair.
Also pictured above are the washer and dryer combo; ours are separate and we keep them in separate rooms because of their dimensions. For the washing machine, take note that it much smaller than a conventional in-home washer. US detergents work, however, so no worries about that. As per the dryer, England is all about environmental friendliness, so they use condensation dryers. Instead of taking an hour or so to dry a load of laundry using regular high heat, these dryers spin fairly slowly and take 2-3 hours to dry a standard load. Laundry -doers beware. They also have different settings: iron dry, cupboard dry and extra dry. From my experience, the first two still result in slightly damp clothes. If you need dry towels and thicker items like sweaters, then extra dry is the way to go. The additional “fun” part about these dryers is that they need to have water that they “condense” removed as well after a few uses. If this container is full, there won’t be much drying going on.
Another quirk that I like about our house is the vintage locks. It sometimes makes me feel that I’m living on the set of the movie “The Others;” where Nicole Kidman had to lock the doors for each room when she left or entered them so her children couldn’t get sun poisoned to death. This analogy freaks out the Mr. but makes me laugh. I’m not as OCD as Kidman, but all of the rooms have doors here even the kitchen and the hallway from the stairs to the living room. People tell me that it’s because of the insulation and how it will help in the winter time. It’s summer/ autumn now, I hope these people are right and not just pulling my leg.
One last quirk here is the windows. British people love leaving their shades WIDE open and you can see straight through to the back of their homes to the back patio. The windows also make me feel like I’m a crew member of a boat on the high seas. They all open outward and prop open with little legs. Also, due to the mesh tax, not a lot of windows around here have any netting to prevent any bugs from entering our house. I love vacuuming the spider webs that show up on a weekly basis…said no bunny ever. They are a natural bug deterrent, but having to clean out webs every week is getting old fast. Due to the high moisture in our house as well as tendency to darkness because of the overcast weather, spiders LOVE building their new homes in our corners and doorways. It’s a weekly battle and I have to face them dead on or the spiders outnumber us. I have yet to try the peppermint suggestion: smother cotton with peppermint alcohol and the spiders can’t stand it. We shall have to see.
Your local ex-pat housemaid,
the tan bunny ❤