Eletricity & Electronics

Something new and different from me – electricity and electronics in the UK.  All of you that have visited London or anywhere outside the US know that the electrical outlets and voltages vary from country to country.  The voltage is the one to watch out for.  I was introduced to the voltage differential the first time I visited London in 2006.  I came here, along with one of my best friends, for a three-week winter session course offered by Babson (this statement is making a LONG story very short but I will post on our ’06 trip at a different time).  We had started to get ready for New Year’s Eve out in London.  I was in the shower when I heard a loud scream.  I flew out of the shower to smoke and the smell of burnt hair.  Little did we know that using an American hair dryer in London would lead to this kind of disaster.  I didn’t see it but Mikayla said that there was literally flames flying out of the hair dryer.  This, of course, was due to a voltage mismatch…yikes.  Needless to say we quickly left the hostel hotel to find a UK hair dryer.  At least I had that experience under my belt before I moved here.

The interesting thing about electrical outlets here is that you must switch them on before use.  This is usually only pragmatic when you’re a little tired and  getting ready in the dark and you are straightening your hair for a few minutes before realizing that the straightener isn’t on.  It can also be a little bit dangerous when you turn the switch off for the stove and it’s still extremely hot.  I’ve done this once or twice in the last couple of weeks…bad news, very bad news.

And then there is our washer/dryer.  (Yes, Yes!! I’m very thankful that we have laundry access in our flat and that I don’t trek to some laundromat and sit guard for hours as our clothes slowly wash and dry.  I’ve done this before in London (also during the ’06 trip) and it is a SLOW process.  At least it’s comforting to know that many of the washers and dryers in London are slow and it’s not just mine.) 

Yes, that says 1:47 – one hour and forty-seven minutes

So the time it takes to do a single load of laundry in our wonderful washer/dryer unit (on a short wash cycle) is: three long hours and 15 minutes.  Yes – three hours and 15 minutes.  One hour and 12 minutes to wash and **sigh** two hours and three minutes to dry (most of the time after cycling for 132 minutes the clothes are still damp and must be hung to dry.)  So doing a couple of loads of laundry literally takes all day.  Remember since this is a single unit you can’t simultaneously wash and dry.  You might have figured out by now that I don’t really look forward to doing laundry.


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