When I arose this morning I felt cold. The temperature outside was 14 deg. I'm not sure what it would be inside but as it was dull and overcast so I don't suppose it was much more. There didn't feel much difference when I stepped onto the deck. Since I caught 'The Bug' I've tended to feel cold most of the time anyway. At Petanque yesterday a Scot by birth but a New Zealander for much of her life remarked that I was letting the side down showing that I was cold (I was wearing a sleeved fleece on top of my body warmer) and that, coming from such a cold place (she was an East Coaster), I should be finding this weather very mild. The odd thing is that she should be correct but she isn't. And I think that I have now worked out the reason.
New Zealanders are much more in tune with their environment. Few houses have double glazing. Few houses have central heating as we know it in the UK (I've not come across a single one). The Cottage has double glazing and air conditioning. It was the first ever made by the Company to that specification. At the Hawkes Bay Show it was a source of considerable interest.
It is not as if New Zealanders are not conscious of insulation and saving the planet. In many ways they appear far more aware than we are in the UK. But it's not that that makes me think they are more in tune with their environment. It is the fact that they live nearer to it. I will try and explain.
In Lewis my house is well insulated, has double glazing as a matter of course and central heating and the inside is generally kept at around 20 degrees in the living areas during the daytime and warmer in the living room in the evening when I am relaxing. That is almost always warmer than it is outside. I would consider my house far too cold if the temperature were to be 14 deg during the day.
Here, if the outside temperature is 14 deg (ignoring the wind-chill factor) then generally speaking it appears to me that the inside temperature will be 14 deg or perhaps a little warmer. If it gets much colder then people put more clothes on. If it gets hotter then they take clothes off or use different clothes (shorts rather than long trousers for example). Obviously in the UK we do the same to a certain degree but to nowhere near the same degree.
We don't adjust to the environment. We adjust the environment to suit us.
Last year I had absolutely no problem becoming a 'New Zealander'. I'm finding it harder this time but now that I think I've found the reason adjusting should be easier!
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