Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things Europeans own: Hot water bottles


The first time I met Vivienne, I was unpacking my suitcase, and she was opening a bottle of wine and torturing the room service staff to find us some food. (she works for the hotel, so it wasn't really torture, more like good-natured teasing to challenge them to feed us on the sly...)

It was November, I think, and the room I was going to be staying in for the week had not been occupied for some time.  So Vivienne, very helpfully, tells me that I should get out my hot water bottle (La bouillotte, as she would say) and tuck it into the bed now to take the chill off the sheets.

Well, I was NOT travelling with une bouillotte at the time, which didn't terribly surprise her, and so it passed from my mind.

Fast forward to living in Dublin, the coldest temperate climate I've ever seen.  Before the hot water heater would go off at night (yes, it was on a timer - if you wanted a shower at 2 a.m., you were out of luck) we would always have some hot water in the tank.  Lo and behold, pretty much every general store in Dublin - Tesco, Boots, Dunne's - had RACKS of hot water bottles of every color, shape and design.  (including some pretty alluring ones with torsos of hottie guys on them).

So the habit, about fifty weeks out of the year, was that the last thing we did before the hot water heater timer shut off, was to fill the hot water bottles and tuck them into bed.  Magically warm, curiously comforting in their weight and their rubbery squishiness, and one of the better investments we made while living there.

I know some people in the US who own these, but I think we need to make these a much more widely used product!


10 comments:

  1. I just wrote a long comment, quite a diatribe I might add, and it is gone...I hit the button and was told my request could not be processed. I am not going to re-write all of it. But I would like to share that your post reminded me of the time that we stayed in a hotel on the Isle of Skye. Water bottles were provided in our room which was both odd and charming to these "spoiled" Americans. But it was evident that the room we stayed in did not have heat on unless being used. The hot water bottles were a great idea--wonderful way of economy. xxBliss (yes, my other comment was way longer).

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  2. Hot water bottles bring back memories of my childhood in England. We didn't have central heating, although the hot water heater cupboard was in my room and it seem to make my room just a touch warmer. I used to use a hot water bottle every night and yes, they were nice to go to bed with, very cuddly and comforting. But putting your foot on a *cold* hot water bottle in the middle of the night is not!!! And it always ended up falling off the end of the bed and the weight would pull the covers down a little. Memories! ;o) All I can say is thank goodness for central heating!!

    Jackie
    http://windsor--rose.blogspot.com

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  3. Whenever I lived or stayed in France or elsewhere in Europe, I always collected a stash of hot water bottles. I love them! I don't have them here in the States, which is a regrettable thing, because they are perfect. I vow to find some pretty ones before next winter, or else just get them when I go to Paris in December.

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  4. I use mine every winter. I knitted a red cozy for it a few years ago. It's an old school thing, the hot water bottle, but it's been around for so long because it's hard to improve upon something that works.

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  5. I've never purchased one, but I should. It would keep my feet warm without overheating the husband. It's green, costs less than heating your house, and you could get quite stylish if you have bottle cozies like LuxeBytes.

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    1. Yes, useful when the two of you need different temperatures; we use an electric underblanket with dual controls. I laughed when I read 50 weeks of the year in Dublin - we're not that cold - not quite. Though I used my electric blanket last night. Bottles are great when visiting.

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    2. Yes, useful when the two of you need different temperatures; we use an electric underblanket with dual controls. I laughed when I read 50 weeks of the year in Dublin - we're not that cold - not quite. Though I used my electric blanket last night. Bottles are great when visiting.

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  6. I've had hot water bottles since I was a kid and I've been humping them for over forty years now and I still do it and I've got bout ten of them to choose from its fantastic

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  7. Hah, it is way too low-tech and re-usable to see a revival in North America. LOL. And inexpensive and practical... I have seen faux fur covers for them but the most appealing one I did see was a cashmere cable knit cover. The price was exorbitant but it made me want to knit one myself. LuxeBytes, great inspiration. I think it would be a great project. I am not into crafting for the sake of crafting but I love to find an authentically great project to do from time to time. Thanks for the reminder. I know what I will do this winter. And yes, I already have my hot water bottle, just forgot about it. Also a great gift idea...

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