Wednesday, July 05, 2006

today : make mine a lukewarm one.

Summer is here. I know this because last night at 9pm the thermometer in my kitchen said 83 degrees. And unlike many of my compatriots I actually enjoy the heat. It'

But one thing about the British Summer gets me going

If you visit a country like The United States or Spain or Italy the problem does not arise. They have it sorted and consequently their quality of Summer life is much, much higher.

The thing is: English fridges are simply not bloody cold enough. There you are, strolling along (or toddling, if you're a toddler and not a stroller) in your Eric Morecambe style shorts, proudly displaying white veined legs, knobbly knees and your rather suave-looking knotted hankie hat. It is 85 degrees outside and the sun is blazing down. Life is glorious. You sneak admiring glances as girls wander by, showing off their bulging, barbecued red shoulders, equally pale and veined fleshy legs (but with added cheap self-tan streaks) and garish flip-flops.

But then you feel a bit thirsty and pop (or bob, if you're a bobber rather than a popper, I myself prefer pop, especially if I am buying pop, because that means that I can pop in to get pop and then pop out again) into a shop to buy a cold drink. Except it's not cold. It hardly even classifies as lukewarm. In fact it's barely less warm than the ambient air-temperature. In Death Valley.

In Mississipi or Malfi, California or Corfu, the freezing glass of a cold drink is one of the great sensuous delights of Summer. They even make 'sexy' adverts where bronzed models hold cold glass bottles, slightly sweating with condensation, against their (slightly sweating with....sweat) faces (or thighs or whatever) and make pouty expressions of delight (kind of a step down from the Herbal Shampoo Orgasm face).

In England, this is impossible. Because THE FRIDGES ARE NOT BLOODY COLD ENOUGH! They are crap. In some countries you could get away with selling British shop fridges as industrial slow-cookers.

Why? I wonder. Is it the actual construction of the fridges - those rickety, open fronted, wheezing devices, seemingly in situ serving chilled goods to fractious coach parties on their way to grey and decrepit tourist attractions since the First War? Or is it the tight-fisted shopkeepers who, like a nation of mean-spirited Martin Bryces set their fridges at one degree below boiling hot in an attempt to pinch a few pennies (and also seemingly in situ since the First War).

When WalMart (part of the Walmart family) bought Asda (also part of the Walmart family) I was happy. Well, obviously not happy about the anti-union stance, poor wages, sweatshops, starving farmers and all the general scumsucking corporate evil greed, but happy that we at last would have fridges like those in the U.S. Fridges that not only kept drinks cold in warm weather., but did it with pride, relish and wisps of dry ice like something from a Sisters of Mercy video. But even my local Asda (in case you're a goldfish or Guy Pearce in that backwards film and forgot, part of the Walmart family) has warm fridges. Damn. What the hell is going on?

So my conclusion is that it must just be a geo-physical thing. Like if you go to Australia the water goes down the plug-hole the other way. When you install a fridge in England, a specific uncontrollable, geographical, gravity based feature of the nation causes them to be unable to cool anything to below about a gazillion degrees.

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