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Coldest house in the universe

I think it’s safe to say that I live in the Coldest House in the Universe(tm). In fact I’m thinking of getting Guiness to come down here and declare it to be so. This morning, for instance, I awoke just the wrong side of 6am, and despite the double doona deployment on my bed, felt too cold. One shouldn’t feel cold in the morning in bed. It’s meant to be a warm place, a spot you don’t want to leave in the morning. Not to mention that I could see my breath in the bathroom, before I’d sipped my first cup of tea.

The problem is insulation, or lack of it, and since it’s a rented house, there’s a limit to action to remedy this. I could leave the (very effective) heater running all night, but I’d prefer to avoid expending more expense and unnecessary fossil fuels, so what I’ll need to do is prepare to deploy the secret weapon: the fabled third doona.

Ultimately this will get fixed when I buy a house and move. When will that be? Uhh.. well, good question. An almost continuous number of depressingly expensive houses have been sold in the area in the last few months. Let’s face it, prime position in the world’s most livable city ™ doesn’t come cheap.

Why do I want to buy a house? I be in control of it. To be able to improve it and change it without having to ask permission, and to know that it’s me that benefits from improvements I make, not some unseen owner and subsequent tenants. To be able to have pets if I want them. To not have to listen to whinging about repair costs (other than my own whinging).

And I never want to have to move again. I hate it.

So, what do I want in a house?

Three bedrooms for preference, one to be a study, but could probably get away with two at a pinch if the living area is big enough that an area can be set aside for the computers somewhere. Especially if there’s room to extend later if I really need more bedrooms. The usual other requirements… you know the kind of thing, a toilet (indoors), bathroom, decent-sized kitchen (well, one I can shoehorn my enormous fridge into, at least), etc.

Has to be the right location. Within 10-15 minutes drive (or preferably walk) of my kids’ primary school. Within 30 minutes of work. And within 10 minutes walk of 7-day-a-week shops (supermarket, bakery etc) and railway station and a park — I firmly believe getting exercise as an incidental part of your lifestyle is the easiest way to stay fit, so I aim to leave the car at home as often as is convenient. If it’s too far, it’s not convenient, and it won’t happen. And not on a main road. If the location is no good, I won’t enjoy living there, and I might as well keep renting.

A garden big enough to for the occasional kick-to-kick in would be ideal. I don’t really care about undercover or off-street car parking, since I can never be stuffed guiding the car into the garage anyway.

And the clincher? Well I don’t want to be half a million dollars in debt. Tricky, that bit.

(By the way, passed my old place today. They’ve still only sold half the renovated flats. heh.)

PS. I see from looking back through the diary that it was equally cold last year.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Coldest house in the universe”

I beg to differ, 1/94 Moriah St is surely the coldest place in the universe – I once woke up with frost on my doona. Marita will verify this, and will no doubt bring up the doona again. Assume you have flannelet sheets too – they are lifesavers.

Uninsulated Melbourne houses … the only downer about the city.

I did once have a room with two or three holes in the wall that went clear through to daylight … I moved out of it before winter, but to somewhere not substantially better insulation wise.

Location and rent on both were fantastic, though.

everyone buy a heating blanket!! They are great, the bed is lovely and warm when you get in, and you can warm up in between and in the morning. Once I got mine I couldn’t live without it.

I recently moved to Melbourne after a good 10 years in Hobart. The Uni houses down there tend to also be uninsulated. And yes, they were cold.

Upon the big move last year, I began living in an apartment – 4th floor of a 7 floor building. And I realised that I was about to save a heap on heating – the floors above and below insulate the place beautifully. It’s pissing down and freezing outside tonight and we still haven’t needed to switch the heating on.

You do of course have to listen to neighbours showering, urinating, fighting, slamming doors, watching telly and speaking each other’s names (or their own) in the throes of passion.

Well, at least I’m warm I guess.

More shades of the Yorkshiremen here – but if you want cold, really cold – try being a student flatting in Dunedin in winter. Or summer. For that matter…

You think your place is cold, one of my old apartments I’ve rented and lived through most of the 90s in (3/61 Auburn Road Hawthorn) is by far the coldest flat in the universe. Living in that flat is like living in a freezer it is so cold, even on a 40 degree day you wouldn’t feel the heat inside, you’d have to put on a jacket inside all the time even at that outside temperature. The electric heater in that place doesn’t even heat the whole room. I’m so relieved I don’t live there anymore.

maybe you should try a woollen underlay on your mattress? i haven’t tried them, but people who have them reckon they’re great for insulating for cold & heat.

woolen underlay helps.

lecky blanket helps too (i’ve been meaning to get one for quite some time).

but actually having someone in the bed with you is the best source of extra heat :)

Hendo’s not exaggerating about Dunedin student flats. One July morning a we found icicles hanging from our kitchen ceiling…

Try an uninsulated house in Canberra with an in the wall heater that only barely heats the lounge room with all the doors closed. Now, it’s not Dunedin but for a country that makes all new homes meet a certain standard, they should do the same for older ones. Renters are getting pounded with their heating bills during the winter because of landlords who want loads of money for a pile of crap house.

Spend money on heating. You should not feel guilty about this. It is a basic human need. Feel guilty if you spend money on pointless mobile phone calls, overpriced crap movies, or an LCD screen that is outperformed by any cheap CRT.

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