In England I used to turn on the heat during the winter months only when my sensible cold weather, indoor gear of a sweater, long trousers, socks and slippers failed to keep me comfortable.

Then I’d conservatively heat the main rooms with fires (or central heating if we had it) and cook as many of our meals as possible in the kitchen oven to generate more warmth.

I habitually kept a coat and scarf inside the living room door for forays out into the unheated hallways and bathrooms.

Sounds archaic doesn’t it but that’s the way it was in the old houses where I used to live!

During the summer I opened windows and when it was really hot we bought fans.  As a nation we enjoyed our lunch breaks on park benches, sat on lawns under shade trees


and headed to the coast at the weekends along with everyone else.

In the evenings the drop in temperature meant I could open our windows and naturally cool our rooms during the night.

When I arrived in Texas I found a population obsessed with contrived climate control.

Granted the air conditioning eased the unbearable humidity of Southern summers and allowed us to defy the 99º+ outdoor temperatures with the flick of a switch thus regulating indoors to a more bearable 74º-80º.

Central heat, from the same unit, eased the rapid changes in temperature during unpredictable winters allowing us to defy the freezing or below outdoor temperatures,


again with the flick of a switch, thus regulating indoors to a more comfortable 80º-84º.

During my 30 years stateside I observed that the summertime cool was too cold for winter and the winter heat was too warm for the summer and my attempts to try and make sense of this anomaly  caught my family’s attention and they moaned about my English ways.

Depending on which season we were entering from Spring or Autumn…

…we wore the bare minimum or layered,

…sat under madly spinning fans or wrapped a blanket across our shoulders,

…guzzled iced water or sipped hot coffee and…

…hung out in public buildings!

The unit would eventually be turned on, much to the relief of my uncomplaining family, and they’d return to their preferred attire of year round T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.

During the summer…

I’d keep a cardigan draped over my office chair when I worked for Corporate America,

I had a supply of fleece blankets at my stage manager table for the actors shivering in the wings as they waited for their cues,

and year round I wear a jacket when I attend church services…I’m told the sub-zero temperatures are to keep the pipe organ singing.

To my mind if I’m wandering around any building in a warm jacket during summer and my sleeveless dresses during December energy is not being conserved…

just saying…

Apparently having the ability to make people feel cold in summer and warm in winter is a sign of power and prestige.

Americans must be very powerful and prestigious…

but I think my adopted country-folk, those not besieged by allergies, are missing out.

Instead of enjoying the open air with its rows of birds against clear blue skies,


swimming pools and drafty stoops,

bracing walks and hammock dozes,

my fellow Texans tend to stay inside looking at the world through double glazed windows.

Being able to beat Mother Nature at her game may be a matter of power and prestige – an expensive privilege,

but I prefer to play with her not against her.

Welcome to Footlights, a natural environment where,

cold tile floors,

overhead fans,

open French doors,

cross breezes,

and iced teas on screened in porches,

somewhat level the playing field.

The times have finally caught up with me and I’m politically correct instead of just being English!

The children groan, they also are environmentally savvy,

and the bitter sweet memories of childhood bites!

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