When I told my mother that we were moving to Norway, she looked horrified, put her hand over her mouth in shock and said “Why are you doing that to the kids, you will all freeze”. She is in her eighties and wonderful and at this point, she has earned the right to be set in her ways. So I smiled and said “Of course not Mom, don’t be daft” and that was that.
So we got to our lovely new house in Oslo. I liked it instantly, yellow painted timber, a nice wooden goose saying Welcome by the door. We had a front garden to the east and balcony to the west. All good and getting better. It was early April and the garden was covered in a full winter’s snow and ice, layers and layers of it. It was cool in all ways that mattered.
In we went to the apartment and it looked lovely. All the necessities were there such as a kitchen and a living room and a bathroom and bedrooms. And there was a lovely wood-burning stove in the living room or “stua” as it is called here, and I was really pleased. Bright, cosy, lovely.
Then I spotted that there was no central heating. And I began to feel a bit faint. You see, I grew up in a 1950s house in Ireland that was as cold as cold can be due to poor insulation. I had lived in more cold houses and flats in Ireland and London than I cared to remember, most of them with central heating that just warmed the street outside as the warm air drifted straight out through the crap windows and doors.
And now we were in NORWAY with no central heating. As I pointed out this glaring omission, the respective men in the room (husband, landlord) appeased me with “It’s OK, we just need some plug-in heaters”.
My mother was right, we had moved here to freeze to death.