On British Domesticity…

Travelers who have been anywhere outside the U.S. and certain Caribbean islands know that they will likely need to bring power adapters to use devices made in the States – fortunately for the untutored, our plugs just won’t fit in the wall power receptacles. Particularly since in many places, the wall power is 220 or 240 volts, instead 120v as in the U.S.  If you could plug your hair blow dryer in, it would get really hot, really fast and then die in a literal blaze of glory!

What  brought all of this to mind was the shape of both the receptacles here in the U.K. and the adapters we use – they remind me of a little, cartoon face from my youth…

P5250080.JPG  The business end of a power adapter

On other electrical matters about our self-catering house, the 200 y.o. pig barn, learning on your own to operate the various appliances allows you a bit of fun – and one most certainly does not ask for help from the landlords- that would ruin all the cool moments of, “how could I have been so dumb!”


When we first came to this rental home a year ago our first thought was that we would be washing dishes by hand.  Fair enough, that’s what foam plates are for.  But, voila, (which is French for……”and then we found out”), this was the built-in dishwasher.   Being quick to load the thing, I failed to notice where the controls were.  In our colonial home, back in Nawth Carolina, y’all, we have a dial and switches on the face of the washer.   The Bride was the one who opened the dishwasher and found the controls on the top edge of the door…..

P5250084.JPG  A simple thing and no doubt a great many people at home are pleased to be able to say, “well I knew that!”, but I didn’t, colonial yokel that I am.

We take electrical receptacles for granted, world wide- need something done, just plug it in and go to work.  Aside from the Kilroy Was Here shaped power receptacles in Britain, they all come with their on/off switches.  Which again, if you don’t read the introductory booklet provided with your lodging, you get to discover on your own.  And never, ever, ask!P5250082.JPG

Which leads me, finally, to the touchstone of this piece – “Hoovering”.

Hoovering is synonymous with vacuuming.   It’s not a proper noun, it’s a verb, here in the U.K.  One does not use a Hoover vaccuum, one “hoovers” the stairs.P5250078.JPG

The one pictured above, a Numatic International, is just as pleasing to use as it appears.  A simple rocker on/off switch, regular sturdy casters (no giant, filter containing roller balls like vacuum at home) and voila, (there’s that word again), a winch to rewind the power cord when you’re done.  Think of the non-mechanicality of a fly reel.  No springs to wear out when the cord is only 40% wound back in.  Turn the crank and up she rises, to paraphase the old deck-hand’s anchor retrieval song.

It is the big things to see and do that makes us travel, particularly to return to the same part of our world again, but watch for and enjoy the more mundane as well!

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