It was no good.  I couldn’t find a plug socket anywhere in the room that the plug would fit into.  Nor had I any more adaptors of the right type.  Now I’m not talking about trying to fit a British plug into an Italian socket, merely that one of the idiosyncrasies here is that there are at least four types of plugs and corresponding plug sockets for normal electrical appliances – we’re not talking electric razors et al.  My cabling starts to resemble nothing so much as Lego as I try to get things plugged in.  At least its better than when I moved here and found that adaptors for UK plugs simply fall out of the wall sockets so drying my hair became a precarious matter of standing on one leg whilst holding the plug into the wall with my foot.

So I trundled to a shop I hoped might be able to sell me an adaptor.  It turned out to specialise exclusively in light bulbs and light fittings but was able to point me towards a more general hardware store.  Curious about the whole plug and socket thing I asked the salesman.  It took a while to get him to comprehend my point.  “Ah yes”, he said “but in England the plugs are so large and ugly”.  So that was it.  Purely a matter of aesthetics.  I’m still not convinced that a pretty plug beats the sheer convenience of just being able to plug the wretched thing in without fiddling about with adaptors every time.  Or maybe the salesman just wanted to get rid of the stupid foreigner and her pointless questions.

In any case the wiring in my flat is plain odd.  By Roman standards the block isn’t old – 1930s – and is well kept. As is usual here you can’t plug much in without tripping the switches – sensibly people don’t bother with fuses here as they’d need replacing too often.  Some mornings just turning the electric grill on is enough to trip the switches.  ‘im Indoors has a fancy computer and a highly technical surge protector to protect it which measures the voltage.  He tells me the power drops in the morning from the 220 it’s supposed to be at to around 180.    When I move back to the UK I shall look forwards to morning toast on a more regular basis.  And not running around in the morning with dripping wet hair cursing as my hairdryer has tripped the switches yet again. 

I do really like some of the different approach to wiring the Italians have – there is a convenient socket in my bathroom to plug my stereo into.  And my washing machine is fitted next to the shower.  I enquired about this possibility of this for our house in the UK and was a little disappointed to find out it would be illegal and yes, people would care when we wanted to sell.  Still I haven’t fried myself yet and it is terribly useful to have the washing machine so out of the way so I’m not losing any sleep over it.  I’m still investigating the possibilities for a stereo in our UK bathroom though – putting one outside the door and blasting it through will not be quite the same any more.

Apparently these wiring issues are all normal for here though – and I should be grateful that the controls to my central heating are not located in a neighbours flat as is the case with at least two of my friends.  Or I’m told it could perhaps be fixed if the landlady’s agreement was sought and the council consulted and any number of bureaucratic hoops investigated and jumped with a fair wind on the second Tuesday of the month.  I think I’ll put my hair up again damp and use the excuse to grab breakfast in my local bar.  Again.

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