by Ben Curtis
While some people are still heating their flats with individual bottles of Butane gas, most of the buildings in our barrio have central heating – meaning that one big old boiler in the basement pumps hot water around the radiators in the whole building. The upside is pretty powerful heating, the downside is that you have no control over when the heating comes on – in our building it runs from 1 pm through to Midnight, from around November to April.
Many of these monstrous basement boilers are still fed on lumps of coal, and it is not uncommon to see a lorry like this parked somewhere down our street once a week, with grubby young men wheeling barrow load after barrow load of coal from the back of the truck, in through the flat block front door, and down into the basement. What I’d like to know is who spends day and night shoveling it into the furnace once it gets there?