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veer_gw

Some Like it Hot or Ice Station Zebra?

veer
17 years ago

Friends and family in the US have been getting in touch with information about the dangerously hot weather many of you are experiencing.

Here in the UK we have just been through several weeks of uncomfortable heat with temps in some parts of the country reaching the high 90's, and while I realise that might seem almost cool to folk used to desert conditions, in this temperate part of the world we have difficulty adjusting.

So . . .how do you keep cool? Do most of you have a/c fitted at home and in your cars? Are you able to chill-out in your own pool? Have you been affected by the power-cuts that the BBC tells us have been happening through over demand on the system? Are there water shortages?

Or are you a sun-worshipper bronzing on the beach licking an ice-cream and flicking through the latest chicklit?

All hints welcomed.

Comments (81)

  • veer
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    dyno, I love your description of summertime in Ottawa.
    Why are other Canadians always so rude about it? When I lived there many years ago I found it a friendly and just-small-enough city. After the summer steam I travelled by CP (that dates me) to Calgary. The thermometer read the same, but, my goodness, it felt so much better with the lower humidity.
    Frieda I think 99% of UK households now have refrigeration but almost none a/c.
    re the cold that Ginny and anyanka mention. Although central heating is now far more common there are still old/poor people who cannot afford it, and some of us consider the need for warmth to be a sign of moral decay. English bedrooms can be little short of Arctic in the winter.
    For eg. we never run our central heating during the night and claim we sleep better for it!
    Of course for the few who dwell in Marble Halls the cost of heating is prohibitive plus it damages the Van Dykes and Chippendale chairs. Also the boilers that are needed to keep the systems running could easily serve to power the old RMV Queen Mary, although her Ladyship, after a couple of hours heavy stoking might work up a healthy glow.

    RE ice in drinks. Surely by selling a soft or alchoholic drink which is 85% ice the bar/store/cafe is making a huge profit? I suppose it is one way of staving off tooth-rot with all the Coke you seem to drink in the US. Didn't your Mother warn you what rubbish it was?!
    Iced tea/coffee is something else we have never taken to. Many folk in the UK believe that a HOT cup of tea helps you sweat more, which they see as a 'good thing'. I notice in this am's papers that Starbucks profits are well-down because of the hot temps.
    Cindy, re a/c on public transport. I don't think UK buses have ever had it fitted. Cost aside, probably because until recently buses (esp. double deckers) had no doors at the back for speed of getting on and off.
    Modern trains have a/c fitted but the BBC news reported that it cannot work at HOT temps! As there are almost no windows travellers really suffer . .. probably where poor Martin picked up his virus.

    The daughter who is using the Piccadilly Tube line to work (very deep and disgusting and NO a/c) says passengers only stay sane through Will Power and not making eye-contact with their neighbours.

    grelobe, I think a few of us would enjoy sharing your Italian mountain-holiday. Do tell us about it when you return in September.

    Finally, a US friend has sent me a Hurricane Warning Chart; can these be far behind?

  • twobigdogs
    17 years ago

    Oh for the cool crisp days of autumn to be upon us!

    Hello from south-central PA where it is so hot and humid that I am contemplating a coffee plantation instead of the more mundane tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins. This is awful. We stay inside with a/c and dash into the car where the a/c temp is set at 68 and dream of October. The car a/c is actually much more refreshing than the house.

    Ice is supposed to fill the cup, right? Most restaurants offer free refills on fountain drinks (soda, iced tea) because we favor so much ice. When in the UK, it usually takes a while until I am used to receiving two ice cubes in a drink. I unceremoniously stare into the cup, peering down at those two little lonely cubes thinking, "Oh great, another room temperature beverage".

    PAM

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  • friedag
    17 years ago

    Vee, said landlady was a holdout: she was leery of all newfangled contraptions. I can't imagine her taking to air conditioning either. However, in case you think I was making fun of her above: I wasn't. It was merely an observation that she didn't really need the refrigeration; her window "cooler" was quite sufficient at the time. That's why I mentioned not remembering the heat during English summers of the 1970s -- though Anyanka says 1976 was hot -- because I don't recall my landlady's house being either too warm or her food spoiling. As for the coldness of her house in winter: I was right at home, having grown up in a house without central heating myself. And I still don't like a warm house at night.

    Soft drinks..."rubbish" indeed, but carrot and prune juices will never be as popular. Pick your poison: sugary fizzy drinks or sugared tea or coffee. Truth is I never developed a taste for either tea or coffee, hot or cold, and if I had to consume them (out of politeness), I always took them without sugar, whenever possible (some American southerners would already have sugared tea on hand and had to make a special batch without sugar if you requested it). I never requested ice in people's homes in the UK or Europe either. It was only in cafes and restaurants that I thought I might get lucky enough to get this special treat...because, you see, Ice is the thing, not the beverage that flavors it. Given my druthers, I would take the ice plain; but somehow, when you're out of your cultural element, you need a justification for wanting ice. Some regional groups of the US aren't as crazy for ice as American westerners, midwesterners, and southerners are -- the hotter the climate, the more enamored you get.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    free refills are of course the key-or those "tap your own" stations. those are perfect-a last tap on the way out the door for a car beverage is de riguer!
    freida-funny story...unbeknowst to this "edge of the city girl" tea made from mint leaves grown in your own garden was very popular here (in the "country" where I now live) about 30 years ago, when my husband and I were dating. He brought me "home to meet the family" for the first time-and it was the WHOLE family, including a petite grandmother who had a very strong personality. Offered iced tea, watched by everyone, I took a huge gulp of what I expected to be regular ice tea (my preference would be unsweetened and unlemoned, but I can cope with the "preseasoned" kind if I must) I found myself with a mouth filled with oversugared mint. I only like mint in minute quantities wrapped in very dark chocolate. NEVER in a beverage. It was awful.
    To this day I don't know how I swallowed it-but I do know that I became "so involved in the conversation" I forgot to drink any more until it was warm...and then, of course, I just carried it into the kitchen...when I poured it into the sink from the dark amber glass, it was pale green...and some sugar remained in the bottom of the glass.
    shudder.

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Ice? Ice isn't bad but, honestly, I don't like it. A martini on the rocks or single malt scotch on the rocks just isn't done. ;-)

    Vee -- I think the rudeness comes from just being bloody-minded about Ottawa. Ontario, as a province, isn't very popular in the rest of Canada and Ottawa is just second to Toronto (granted, it's a DISTANT second) as the butt of barbs and jokes. However, Ottawa is despised not because of the city itself but because it's the seat of the federal gov't. Toronto, on the other hand, is despised because, well, it's despised. ;-)

    Don't get me wrong, I used to live in Toronto. It's not a bad city but I sure as heck won't move there.

    Getting back to the topic of ice, I used to REALLY like ice cold, watered down Cokes. Somehow, I grew out of it -- now I like iced mixed fruit juices. A nice mix of orange and pineapple juices with a bit of crushed ice is my drink of choice. Well, behind a good dirty martini or a Tequila sunrise (with no ice!). ;-)

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    well, if we're going to talk REAL drinks-
    of course you don't put a martini on the rocks-but it better be COLD!

  • friedag
    17 years ago

    I'm nearly a teetotaler, but not quite because I like a Margarita on the rocks, no salt, about twice a year. I drank the frozen variety of Margarita until I realized they gave me the same kind of headache that ice cream does (frozen sinuses, I guess, the kind that hits you right between the eyes).

    I don't like wine, and I'm not even a good German-American because I don't like beer. All alcoholic drinks have a bitter undertaste that I can't abide. I had a doctor inspect my tongue one time and tell me that I have a larger number than usual bitter-detecting taste buds (don't ask me how he knew which were which), so I am particularly sensitive to bitterness in things such as olives, cabbage, some lettuces (can't stand arugula and radicchio), and even cucumbers, etc. I also have trouble with chocolate, although I adore the stuff. However, I've found Tequila is the smoothest of all the alcohols I've tried and can tolerate it well enough for my twice-yearly flings.

    CeCe, that's a funny story about the mint tea. Gag! The things we do for love and politeness. :-)

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Here's a refreshing drink :

    Shave some ice and place in large martini glass

    Put cracked ice in a shaker with 2 oz tequila and 4 oz orange juice

    Vigorously shake tequila and orange juice for half a minute (best done to some salsa music)

    Strain mixture into martini glass with shaved ice

    Drizzle 1 oz Grenadine into mixture

    Let grenadine settle at bottom of martini glass

    Garnish with maraschino cherries

    Enjoy!

    (This is, essentially, an alcoholic snow cone)

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    >I suppose it is one way of staving off tooth-rot with all the Coke you seem to drink in the US.

    Hee - well, we drink diet pepsi in this house, so the sugar is not the problem. Still, there is no substitute for water, and in the summer we make sure we get our fill

    For those who like cold soda but don't like the ice do what my dad used to do - rinse a glass of water and put it in the freezer. When you need it, pull it out, pour in the drink of your choice, and ahhhhhhhh....thats good!

    One thing I've never understood is why places which tend to be hot have lost all sense of how to build cool houses. The Romans and Spainards had the right idea - lower ceilings, walk ways with arches to catch the best breezes, and lots and lots of shade trees. Those of you who have been to San Diego may have visited the Balboa Park Museums. The designs of those buildings made it possible for us to visit and stay cool despite the heat wave. I wish more developers would look at what works for their community, and build houses that are comfortable and energy efficient.

    Rome was one of the hottest places we ever visited - not because of the heat, but because all of their palazas were cement or stone, void of any shade.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    17 years ago

    Vee and others, we Americans know coca-cola is junque, but on a hot sunny day when you have to be alert, there is nothing like one or two of these, cut with ice for energy.As for the saccharine sweetness, we cut ours with a slice of lemon or better yet, lime. (I grew up in the hometown that invented Coke, as a medicine, in the late 1800's with a said to be secret formula, so it was mother's milk to me and other Atlanta folk).

    Grelobe, do you go hiking in the Dolomites? That was one of my favorite areas of Italy.

  • anyanka
    17 years ago

    Oh, I'm so happy. I'm wearing a cardigan! With the beginning of our school holidays, normal English summer weather ensued (i.e. changing constantly from sunny to rainy to actually COOL).

  • J C
    17 years ago

    The heat wave here in the Boston area has broken and now we are going to enjoy a few lovely days - so the weatherman says! Personally, I love the hot weather; for some reason I don't seem to suffer from it the way others seem to. I am fortunate, however, to have a/c in both my car and my home. I turn it on mostly for my large, furry cat, who is unable to take off his coat the way we humans are. I do curtail my activities somewhat; I only go running in the early morning, or inside on a treadmill if necessary, and I drink lots of water. I keep telling myself, just because I like the weather doesn't mean it's not going to reach up and bite me in the rear! Two of my very active and very fit friends have collapsed from the heat despite precautions, so I have been careful. I did go hiking in upper-90's heat one afternoon, which I thought was wonderful. Of course I was in the shade of spectacular mature oak and pine trees and I drank a liter of water.

    I did have a bit of a scare with my elderly mother, who went without electricity for almost two days in Illinois in searing heat and humidity. She resisted efforts to get her to go to my brother's home, only giving in after 36 hours. Besides the physical trauma, she was very upset emotionally - she is old and reclusive, and her home is her haven. It is terrible for her when it becomes an unsafe place. Thankfully, she seems much better now.

    Everyone take care of themselves!

  • Marg411
    17 years ago

    Interesting to see all the people, and their various ways of coping with the heat. Here in my part of Texas, heat is a way of life. Yes, we like our Coca Cola over ice, though I'd prefer my tea unsweetened, but please, tons of ice. I hate fake sugar also, it's nasty stuff.

    We'd swelter if it weren't for the A/C, and my house gets a decent breeze, AND it's older, so was built for the breeze to flow through the windows. So, I usually don't turn the AC on until June.

    It's way too hot to start school, but we do, next week. My school room will be too cold, and walking out at the end of the day to get in a HOT car is almost unbearable. Makes one feel they're getting heat stroke. I worry about the football boys and the bands practicing in the heat.

    The best way to stay cool is to live in the swimming pool or the river, or a lake if one is handy.

    I was in Seattle, Washington two/three weeks ago. They were having a heat wave with temps getting, briefly during the day, into the mid 90's. My relatives were apologizing. I finally laughed and told them it was October weather for me, so quit apologizing. The nights were down into the 60's, the mornings were cool, it was wonderful, WITH wild blackberries everywhere. I picked berries every morning right outside our motel, and had "breakfast".

    My ceiling fans are never shut off, they run 24/7 practically all year. We actually need heat about three months out of the year. Shorts and roses at Christmas aren't a bad trade off for our intense summer heat. We also have the humidity, but not quite as bad as Houston, I'm about 90 miles North of them. And Dallas, it can get so very muggy there one can wilt.

    I just hope everyone stays cool, drinks whatever favorite drink is hers/his, and stays healthy.

    Oh, someone mentioned Margaritas on the rocks. Actually, a Margarita should be mixed with ice cubes, THEN they should be strained out. I absolutely HATE the frozen pseudo Margaritas most places make today. And, when they ask me if I want salt on the rim, I always counter with, it's NOT a Margarita with no salt on the rim. Bourbon on the rocks, not bad, but this is Texas, we're supposed to like what others don't.

  • sherwood38
    17 years ago

    I would like to add that we were in England in 1976 and it was very hot! We were staying with my Mother and her frig wasn't as big as my dishwasher, and the ice cube trays were of the size for a doll house-and of course it took an entire tray to cool down the lemonade and they immediately melted.
    Mother didn't have any lawn chairs so we got on the bus went into town and bought some for her because it was cooler to sit out on the lawn rather than stay inside....which is a whole new topic trying to shop for things like lawn chairs when you have to take the bus.....!

    Pat

  • agnespuffin
    17 years ago

    Back before home A/C and water was cheap and plentiful, people here would put the soaker hoses from the gardens up on the roofs to lower the heat in the attics. Since the attics were seldom insulated at that time, this acted to draw the hot air from the rooms below, creating a slight air movement.

    Historical note here. One of the historical homes here has an air conditioning system. The central hall goes up to a atrium type dome that has tiny openings up at the roof line. Lower down, were gas jets. When the jets were lit, the air would be heated and would rise up and flow out the openings. This would cause a draft that would bring in cooler air from the shaded porches that wrapped around the sides of the house. Very primitive, but I understand that it worked to keep the air moving in the house.

  • ginny12
    17 years ago

    I was in Atlanta a couple of years ago, the world headquarters of the Coca Cola corporation, and the locals told me it was considered treason to even mention anything else, especially Pepsi. And I don't think they were kidding. A lot of jobs depend on Coke.

    I like it but only drink it when I'm out--never at home. Love Classic Coke but drink the diet stuff for obvious reasons.

  • carolyn_ky
    17 years ago

    Ha, Cece, sounds like Little Grandmother meant to serve you a mint julep and forgot the bourbon.

    We didn't get a drop of rain last night, but the temp is down some and the humidity is less. The 90s are still predicted into next week. I grew up before AC, but we lived in the country with lots of grass and trees and no pavement around. I remember early married life in the city when we had a window fan to pull in whatever kind of breeze there was, but that only worked at night. I'm not too much on the good old days.

  • pam53
    17 years ago

    Here in Western New York today is the first day in such along time that I could actually sit on my porch and enjoy a breeze! This summer has been beastly hot..but it's as someone else said-dry heat is o.k. but the humidity here is wicked.
    My daughter lives in San Diego and had to buy a room air conditioner. She has been there 6 yrs. and this summer has been the first with so much "in tolerable" heat, she says. Of course, she is almost 7 months pregnant. They have had to sleep in the living room as it has the only window that opens to receive the window unit. Air conditioners are in great demand out there-they had to be put on a list to buy one and wait in a huge line when it came in to the store.
    I feel so very lucky. This is the second summer in my new home. I had never experienced air-conditioning in home or car until now (car has it too). It has been running almost constantly this summer-(last summer I rarely turned it on ). I feel it's too hot to do chores so have read a record number of books.
    As to ice and drinks-another "new-fangled" thing (to me) has been the ice-maker on my fridge. Never liked ice before but now I admit to lots of ice water. I also like ice in orange juice-crushed and in wine, (cubed). I drink my diet pepsi straight however.

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    > I'm wearing a cardigan!

    Hee, lucky you. Do you know you can come to the desert and buy those in the stores right now? Thats right, fall fashions are in the malls. Doesn't matter that its 100+ degrees - its all boots and skirts and jackets and sweaters. And you can't buy shorts or bathing suits for love or money

    Actually I have to admit thats changed a bit - esp in the non-chain type stores. But it always makes me laugh when I go to the mall and see window after window of fall fashions, while everyone is walking around in shorts and sandals

    Speaking of mall - a few years back we went to Montgomery Wards (now defunct, but big discount place when we were kids. Used to call in Monkey wards). Anyway, it was May and we were having unusually cool weather. The temp in that place was under 70. We asked them if they could warm it. Nope, their temperature is dictated by the home office in Chicago. Gee that makes sense.

    BTW, do you have certain books or types of books you like to read when its hot or when its cold?

  • connie_in_western_nc
    17 years ago

    The joys of living in the mountains.... 85* here is HOT! :-00)))))))) Our a/c is "open the windows and maybe turn on a ceiling fan at night"... our hearts go out to those who have been in just unbearable 100+ temps and heat index. It's one of the prime reasons for having moved out of northern Ohio upon retirement... looks like things are beginning to cool a bit for most everyone now.

  • friedag
    17 years ago

    Dynomutt, thank you for the alcoholic snow cone recipe. I think I could go for this drink since it's made with Tequila. Does it have an official name? I'd like to ask for it the next time I'm somewhere drinks are served.

    Cindy, I think I like frivolous stuff when it's hot and more serious reading when it's cold. I don't do my best thinking in the heat, that's for sure. But I must be pretty normal in that respect because, after all, hot-weather reads are called "beach books." Is there a winter equivalent? I've never heard of "après-ski books," for instance, though maybe there ought to be.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    I usually read "heavier" books in the summer, when schoolwork is not competing for my time, and save the "brain potato-chip" books for the winter, when I need distraction and entertainment. However, like most of us, it seems, I do not function well in the kind of extreme heat we've been suffering-or, for that matter, stale AC air. I wouldn't want to live without it, but being able to open up the house this morning for a while is making me feel so much better. It will only be a couple hours, but by then the air should have exchanged.
    I do a lot of rereading of favorites when it is this hot-old friends fit best. If I find it hard to concentrate, I all ready know the basic premise and can find my way back without a lot of work. I just don't want to have to THINK when it's hot.

    carolyn...oh no...if I had asked for a gin and tonic, as I would have had at home on a hot afternoon, I think she would have sent me packing right then and there! To the day she died she thought the whole family was teetotal.

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Friedag --

    The drink's really called a Tequila Sunrise. I just added the snowcone dimension to it! And it's usually served in, I think, a tall glass. I just serve it in a martini glass because it looks cooler, especially with the shaved ice. ;-)

  • woodnymph2_gw
    17 years ago

    Finally after a grueling heat wave of temps over 100 for several days, the pattern was broken by violent thunderstorms and dangerous lightening that sparked several fires locally. But this morning we can finally open our windows and our drought is ended.

    To answer Cindy's query, I am not a beach book person. I don't think my taste changes in reading, from season to season. I am always searching for the "perfect" book, meaning somewhat long, which plot and characters utterly captivate me. An example to my taste was "The Historian", partly because it was so long. A shorter perfect read for me was "The Go-Between" by Hartley. I like to be wondering about and puzzling over a work long after it has ended.

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    >The joys of living in the mountains.... 85* here is HOT!

    I spent a few years in SLC, and often went friends homes in the Watsach range canyons. Great in the summer. In the winter it was all snow all the time. While pretty, its a pain to get in and out. Do you get snow in NC?

    For me its not so much the type of book but how many books I read when its hot. Even with AC there are many times that the thought of going outside for any reason raises my temperature. So I hibernate during school vacation and read. I do tend to read less heavy books tho, and save the tomes and non fiction for winter, when I can sit outside in our cool yard and dive into a book.

  • veer
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    OK Cindy you'll have to explain where SLC is, my geography of the USA doesn't stretch that far!

    dyno, I think the American/Canadian taste in alcoholic drinks is far more adventurous than here in the UK. Although by no means a TT'er I've never had a Tequila Sunrise nor a dry Martini, not even any bright concoction served with a little paper umbrella in the glass
    I believe my US relations where all made to 'take the pledge' when young and out of eight children three went on to be alcoholics! An excuse was made for the youngest sister as she had taught 1st Grade for about 45 years which was considered enough to turn anyone to drink.
    I cannot speak for the youth of this country, many of whom have a serious and worrying 'binge-drinking' habit. But the older and perhaps wiser of us tend not to 'mix our drinks' and will happily stick to wine, beer (room temp of course), G and T, or a night-cap of a Scotch without the rocks.
    Of course we have the familiar setting of the 'pub' where everyone can happily meet for a drink. Although when I was young women would only go in with an 'escort' . . .not compulsory just a 'respectability' thing. How does this compare with your experiences, and do you drink mainly in a social setting; home/parties/bars etc?
    I know none of your are to be found nursing a bottle under a bridge and am just interested in the mores of our different societies. Are the laws regarding 'booze' strict in your area? This isn't ment to sound judgemental, so I hope I'm not offending anyone by asking. :-)

  • lemonhead101
    17 years ago

    Vee -

    You asked about the laws in our towns/cities for drinking alcohol. I happen to live in a "dry" town which means, basically, that we can only buy alcohol to drink in a restaurant or bar. We can't buy alcohol of any type in a grocery store or convenience store which has led to a type of "mini-Vegas" just outside the city limits which has flashy lights and lots of alcohol shops. The town has been dry for nearly a century and every now and then people try to change it to be "wet" or even partially "wet" (which means that we would be able to buy wine or beer but not hard liquor) but it hasn't worked yet.

    I keep crossing my fingers though. Although I love the town itself, I resent the way the laws treat us as though as we were children in respect to alcohol sales. They say that if we could buy alcohol in the stores, there were be more crime, drunken driving etc, but I think it's just because the people who own the vegas set-up on the edge of town would lose a lot of money.

    I really enjoyed my time in California on vacation the other day - for numerous reasons,but one of them was that we could make frozen margaritas without having to make a 30-minute round trip for the supplies. The grocery shop was just down the street.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    in PA, the alcohol sales are controlled by the state-you can only buy "hard liquor" and wine at State Stores...although you can buy wine made in PA at the vineyard of origin now. Beer is bought from a beer distributor by the case or at a bar by the 6 pack-NOT at grocery or convenience stores. There are those people who, living near a state border, make "runs" into the neighboring state where liquor is cheaper-no one I know, of course-it's very illegal and rumor has it that ATF (alcohol, tobacco and firearms) officers sit on the state line within sight of the main booze run highway, and if your car goes across and then reappears rather quickly, they may ask to help clean out your trunk. But as I said, I merely know this as rumor.
    hmmm...DD has just moved to that state...wonder what the rule is on gift bottles?

  • friedag
    17 years ago

    Liz, so things haven't changed in thirty-plus years! Lubbockites still have to drive out on the Tahoka road (or was it the Slaton road?) to get to the package stores? I remember a place called Pinkie's.

    Vee, the attitudes vary a lot from state to state. In South Louisiana, all the groceries and convenience stores sell wine and liquor -- the French influence, I suppose. For years, you could even get a go-cup in a bar and wander around the streets of New Orleans with it, even during non-party times. They've since gotten stricter with the no-open-containers-in-cars law, etc.

    I grew up where the drinking of wine and beer was considered a normal, everyday thing adults did at meals -- at home, at friends' houses, at town-wide social events. Liquor was usually reserved for medicinal purposes or as a "warm-up" when it was so cold you wanted to sit on the stove. My grandmother brewed her own beer and made wine. I can't think of one member of my family who was a known alcoholic, though.

    However, I have lived in states where alcoholism is prevalent among certain native populations. Many in these groups do not inherit the enzyme to break down alcohol, and it causes horrible problems. The sale of alcohol in these states is, necessarily perhaps, more restrictive.

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Vee --

    Interesting question. In Ottawa (and in most of Ontario, as far as I know), alcohol is bought from gov't licensed stores. Beer's bought at (where else) the Beer Store. (Yes, it IS called The Beer Store. Here's their website to prove it! : http://www.thebeerstore.ca/) while all other alcohol is bought at the LCBO (www.lcbo.com) but the LCBO also sells specialty beers. I don't ask where the demarcation is between the two -- I just buy their products! :-)

    As for binge drinking, well, like many a youthful person in their late teens/early 20s, I also passed through that phase. Being in engineering at the time (engineering students in Canada have a reputation of being heavy drinkers, especially of beer), I had my share of participation in beer sloshed parties and events. I remember participating in "Santa Hog" where engineering students start drinking at 7 am (or thereabouts -- I don't remember since I was too drunk!) so they can parade from classroom to classroom singing dirty Christmas carols. Of course, we had someone dressed up as Santa Claus (albeit a sloshed St. Nick!). The event usually ended at around noon when pretty much anyone who participated was either too drunk to continue or too tired to drink further. It was an interesting experience. And this only happened in December just before exam period.

    Currently, I only imbibe when there are others around. At the firm where I work, it's fairly normal to congregate at a partner's office and partake of single malt scotch late on a Friday afternoon. We sometimes also go for a beer after work, again usually on a Friday. As for parties, alcohol (in its various forms) is usually served. Depending on the type of party and depending on who is there, the type of alcohol varies. If it's a work-based party (i.e. with people from work), beer and wine (and a bit of single malt scotch) is usually served. If it's a fencing party (i.e. with people I go fencing with), it's usually beer and whatever else people have brought. Of course, if it's a fencing party, most of the people there are in their early to mid 20s, if not late teens (but legal to drink!). If it's a work party, we're talking people in their 30s to 50s.

    Alcohol and its acceptance is, I think, a definite cultural thing. In the maritime provinces (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, etc.), drinking is definitely accepted. I've even heard it said that if there's no drinking, then it's not a party. And this applies across all age groups! (If you're at a Maritime party, you'll notice that the party somehow migrates to the kitchen. People say this happens because it's closer to the fridge and hence the beer. When someone breaks out a guitar, then you KNOW you're at a Maritime party!) Now if you're in Ontario, the alcohol factor is still there but it's not as prevalent (this is, of course, all anecdotal evidence!). There are people here who don't drink although I've found them to be quite few and far in...

  • carolyn_ky
    17 years ago

    Kentucky law varies from county to county. I live in the big city now and the bars stay open until 4:00 a.m., but I grew up in a dry county where those who drank knew where the bootleggers were. I don't drink at all, as a result of watching some of those people who "drank and drank and drank."

  • connie_in_western_nc
    17 years ago

    In Ohio there are "state stores" where "hard liquor" (rum, Scotch, bourbon, whiskey, gin, etc is sold) Beer and wine are sold in grocery stores (or wherever). We can also buy liquers of reduced alcohol content in grocery stores (like creme de menthe, creme de cocoa, etc)

    Here in NC it's town by town... my county (Haywood) has one place to buy liquor by the bottle. It's an ABC (controlled/licensed store) in my little village, Maggie Valley. It's also the only place you can buy liquor by the glass at a restaurant (food must be served in order to sell) or bar. In the other towns in the county, you can buy beer or wine with a meal. So... if you live near Maggie you buy your booze here. If you live in the other end of the county, you buy it in Asheville. It's ridiculous, actually...for those who want to drink will and those who don't want to won't.

    We can buy beer and wine in NC in the grocery store...or convenience store.

    It's crazy. Don't know if it's still true (TN's can bring this up to date) but one of the best whiskeys in the country is made in Lynchburg TN (Jack Daniels) and you can't buy a drink in that town/county...it's dry :-)))) I believe the same is true for Jim Beam bourbon in KY... go figure.

    So to answer your question, it goes town by town, county by county here... some places are totally dry, others are totally wet (every restaurant has a liquor license) and all phases in-between.

  • Kath
    17 years ago

    Can't believe I missed this thread!

    Here in Adelaide we have Mediterranean climate, which means hot dry summers and cool wet (ish) winters. I quite like our dry summer heat but don't cope well with humidity. I find even Sydney too humid, so I don't think I would like to live in a tropical climate. We usually have a couple of bursts of heat each year when the temp is over 100F for several days. I would think that about 75% of houses have airconditioning, but because of the drier heat we have, many use evaporative A/C which is cheaper to run. A/C in cars is almost mandatory now, especially with the newer designs with sloping windows, letting in much more sun.

    I'm not terribly fussed about getting ice in my drinks, but I never did get used to room temp soft drink in the UK. Here you would always get soft drink from the refrigerator, most often with a little ice, but not with the glass filled with ice first.

    Another thing which astonished me when I lived in Wales in a rented house was the size of the refrigerator - it was what we call a 'bar fridge' and was tiny. It took a while before I learnt to cope with that.

    Alcohol is certainly part of the culture in Australia, with beer and wine being the main culprits, although lots of young girls drink 'cruiser' type drinks, with vodka mixed with flavour of some sort. Alcohol is bought from bottle shops, either attached to a hotel or as a separate shop, and a couple of big supermarket chains have an alcohol section, although it is always outside the main food sectioin. In fact the two main supermarkets also own most of the 'bottle shops', albeit under different names. There are a few dry areas in most cities, I think, but mostly there isn't much supervision of drinking. There is often a problem with drinking at sporting events, particularly the cricket, as it is summer.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    17 years ago

    I recall many years ago traveling in northern France and noting that there would be no refrigerator per se. Instead, the bonne mere would put milk and cheese outside on her windowsill to keep them chilled. (Mind you, this was not in all homes). Here, in the US many folk have huge refrigerators, and even separate freezers, where they keep frozen meats, etc. sometimes in the garage, sometimes not.

    Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, at least in my area, we buy sherry, beer and wine at our local grocery stores. For the "hard" stuff, we must go to the State Liquor store.

    Occasionally I come across a news article where an old "still" has been discovered out in the country. I suspect in remote areas, "Moonshine" is still being made, with the old copper kettles. Many years ago, we were warned of certain fraternity parties, where some really potent stuff would be slipped into the fruit punches. I'm not surprised that it could cause blindness. In recent years, there seems to be a crackdown on binge drinking among college kids, or at least, folks are more aware of the dangers.

    Driving and drinking is a real no-no, but the BAC varies from state to state in the US. There is an organization, MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) which has exerted considerable pressure, and has raised awareness in recent times.

    Connie, I used to vacation in Maggie Valley many years ago with my parents. You are so lucky to live in that beautiful area!

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    >OK Cindy you'll have to explain where SLC is, my geography of the USA doesn't stretch that far!

    veer, I'm sorry - I knew as soon as I posted that it would be problematic! SLC is Salt Lake City, the capitol of Utah. The state itself it pretty mormon, but even they have changed their strange and archaic alcohol laws. You used to have to join a 'club' in order to be served alcohol, then you could only get it in the little airplane bottles. If you wanted to have a drink in a restaurant you had to bring your own - in a paper bag. And their beer was 3/2 beer, considerable weaker than even the usual American beers. Fortunately for those of us who liked to imbib, we could easily cross the border into Nevada. A few implications- despite the laws Utah had a large alcoholism rate, and many people died in auto crashes coming back from the border after drinking. So the laws gradually changed.

    When I was a kid we had wine each Friday night, our Sabbath. I got a little mixed with water and as I got older it was mixed with less. That attitude about alcohol - that it was meant for special occasions but even then wasn't a big deal - probably accounts for the lack of alcholism in my extended family.

    I loved the English pubs. When I was able to drink (can't now, on a few contradictory meds) I'd enjoy a Guiness or two. We have neighborhood bars here that are like 'pubs' but I think they get rowdier than yours (then again it might have been where the pubs where !0

    Interesting about our attitudes here. We vehemently are against smoking (which is find for me) but we seem to accept alcohol to the point that anyone who doesn't drink is suspect. My DH doesn't like the taste so doesn't drink, I can't drink (tho darn some times I'd wish I could!). When we tell people no to alcohol they look at us like we are freaks. We have to explain ourselves and tell them we are content with our diet sodas. Our friends and family are fine with that. But others really try to get you to change your mind.

    Whats also ironic is along with acceptance of alcohol and getting drunk is a huge campaign against drunk driving. The penalties for doing so are severe, and more so if you cause an accident. So the two really don't jive.

  • anyanka
    17 years ago

    Cultural conditioning definitely has so much to do with attitudes to drinking - and that goes for company culture as well as country culture.

    Dynomutt, your mention of gathering for a single malt on Fridays sounds like the company my brother works for. They seize any opportunity for a quick celebration, always whiskey, even mid-week! Although he is an IT man, the company is a shipping insurance overlooking the harbour; you make the link between maritime areas and acceptance of high alcohol intake, too...

    When I first came to England, a lot of people reacted with shock and surprise because I a) smoked roll-ups (very common in Germany & Holland, but definitely working-class male in the UK) and b) didn't just drink beer, but drank it by the pint rather than the half-pint (again, no big in Germany!) It used to offend my feminist sensibilities when, asking for a beer, I'd automatically be given a half-pint - especially as I'm not built like a little girl!

  • woodnymph2_gw
    17 years ago

    Anyanka, is it true that in some German families, mild beer is served to children, as well as adults? I've heard this from several sources but have never been able to verify it.

    I recall when my German friends visited me here in the US, I served them California and French wines. They were looking a bit "peaked" after several glasses. Then they explained to me, quite rightly, that German wines have a far lower alcoholic content, and that they were just not used to quaffing the sorts of wines I was serving. Quite a lesson to me....

  • anyanka
    17 years ago

    Woodnymph, I cannot speak for all of Germany, as there are huge cultural divisions within that country too - I wouldn't be totally surprised if that were the case in Bavaria, which consumes a)more beer and b)weaker beer than the Northerners. What we used to get as kiddies' beer in Hamburg was actually an alcohol free stuff called Malzbier - malt beer. Virtually alcohol free.

    I do remember one kiddies party where the mother had accidentally bought a case of Altbier - a kind of stout - instead of Malzbier. Lots of very merry eight-year-olds, and one very embarrassed mother.

    I am surprised that German wines should be lower in alcohol. I would have thought that would vary depending on the grape and the year. Not that I have much experience with German wines, as they are way too sweet for my tastes. Headache in a bottle. I'll have the Californian anytime.

  • veer
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    What an amazing difference in attitudes/customs to drink!
    dyno, I think your research has been most thorough; I'm sure if you wrote a paper on the subject you would get an A+.
    Interesting what you say about the attitudes in a Catholic country like the Philippines. Over here Catholics generally have a pretty laid-back attitude towards drink and a funeral 'wake' is always improved by a few bottles of the dark-stuff. Of course this could well be because a large proportion of RC's are from Irish stock and they certainly know how to party.

    I have to admit that I am of an age when I don't like to see young people, but especially girls getting legless, vomiting in the street etc. A UK police force has just put out a notice reminding 'females' who go binge drinking at the weekend to make sure they are wearing decent underwear . . . in case they have to be dragged out of the gutter and put in the paddy-waggon.
    At the other extreme the area in which we now live has a large contingent of Non-Conformist churches of which the Methodists are probably the strongest. I understand that in John Wesley's day drunkeness among the 'labouring classes' was rife, but many of the older members are still very po-faced about even a glass of beer.
    For me the most dire of drinking experiences was many years ago when visiting Calgary. I expect their drinking laws have changed by now, but in the '70's a 'lady' was not allowed into a bar without a male escort. Once inside we sat at plastic tables and everyone was served two pints of the local brew (which tasted like gnat***). The only other drink was tomato juice which some people mixed with their beer to make a Red Eye. The only food available was pickled eggs.
    One girl left the bar to collect her purse from her car and was not allowed back in, until a man (any man) went out of the door to get her.
    The place certainly lacked the atmosphere of an English country pub of that era. ;->

  • dynomutt
    17 years ago

    Vee --

    Yes, yes it was research. It was for the sake of science. I certainly didn't find all this out from uh, ........ enjoying the "benefits" of "demon liquor"! ;-)

    It's also funny how, I think, beer isn't seen as "liquor" but as something different and as something more acceptable. The so-called "hard stuff" consisted of everything that was non-beer and non-wine. I guess beer and wine were accepted as staples of daily life -- a safe way to drink water (or liquids) in the Middle Ages. I remember reading something about the Enlightenment occurring because people were able to sober up and drink water!

  • woodnymph2_gw
    17 years ago

    In the Methodist church in the deep South, when I was growing up, it was customary to sign a "pledge" once a year promising not to touch any alcohol for that year. I recall this was hard on certain businessmen, who felt they had to "entertain" other business colleagues, offering alcohol. In those circles, Sherry was considered the drink of "Ladies" but only one glass, mind you. (Of course, I am remembering the Atlanta of some 40-50 years ago.)

    On the other hand, I well recall a custom called the Sweet Sixteen Party. When girls turned 16, often parents would throw a party for the birthday gal and her friends, serving mild alcoholic drinks. This has now probably gone the way of the dinosaur. Adults can get into big trouble for serving any alcoholic beverage to those considered "underage." (I can see the merits of the Sweet Sixteen Party, in that the first drinking was under adult supervision and it took away some of the attraction, due to what would be otherwise furtive, possibly). Again, I am walking down memory lane, here....

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    Underaged drinking is taken very seriously here in my part of the world-parents are liable for a fine of something like $1000 an underage child if a party happens in their house-whether the parents are there or not, whether the parents serve the alcohol or not. The law is very clear and there aren't any loopholes. Parents in the next town over came home to find their driveway filled with cops and about 30 kids standing in the front yard being breathalyzed. an expensive night out to dinner, leaving child and "a few friends" home alone "to watch a movie."

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    We had a mayor a few years back who decided to have a drinking party for her son and his friends after graduation, on the premise that she'd be able to keep an eye on them. She didn't last long in that office after that.

  • anyanka
    17 years ago

    I've always thought that it's a good idea to introduce youngsters to drink under controlled circumstances - e.g. the French custom of giving them watered-down wine with a meal. I mean, everybody who either has a teenager or ever was one should know how the forbidden becomes irresistibly attractive.

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    > I remember reading something about the Enlightenment occurring because people were able to sober up and drink water!

    I dunno, I really doubt that. Too many things were happening at once for that to be much of a factor if at all. Tho I do know that wine and beer were used on a daily basis.

    Sweet Sixteen is alive and well, at least here. And in the Hispanic families, they have the Cincinera, to celebrate the 15th birthday. Used to be a way of showing that a girl was ready for marriage. Now its a huge celebration, on par with weddings in terms of expense. I've been to one that beat out any of the over the top Bat Mitzvahs I've seen.

  • Chris_in_the_Valley
    17 years ago

    Mom watered down co-colas for us kids.

  • ccrdmrbks
    17 years ago

    Both our children have had the ultimate reason not to drink and drive thrown in their face-they have both lost members of their class to a drunk driving accident.

  • veer
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    cece interesting about the parents fined for the kids drinking in their house.
    Over here, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, the laws regarding drink are somewhat different. It is the purchasing of booze by 'underage' young people either over the bar in a pub or from an 'off-licence' (the shops where alcohol can be sold) that is against the law. Shopkeepers and landlords may be fined if they are found to have sold drink to someone 'underage' . . . as ID cards are not used in the UK it is not always easy to guess how old many of these tarted-up little girls and skin-headed youths really are.
    I'm not sure what the age is . . .about 17-18? But younger than 21.
    In the past children were never allowed into pubs, and scenes of small kids sitting outside rougher pubs with a bottle of pop and a packet of 'crisps' were quite common, even until quite late at night.
    Today many pubs have what they call 'Family Rooms' where kids are allowed. As the law allows children to enter places where food is served, and as pubs have tried to boost their profits by offering meals, more children will be seen in these places. There is no restriction on serving children with a drink as part of a meal and there have never been any ban in what your child drinks in 'private' ie his own home.
    Our laws have also tightened up on drinking in 'public places'. After complaints about the number of down-and-outs begging and drinking in the streets, often in centres of tourism such as Bath, which used to be swamped by them, the local Councils passed bye-laws forbidding them to congregate . . .of course it is then up to the police to clear them off the streets.
    Is this now the same in the US? I remember a visit to San F. was marred many years ago by the sight of winos lying unconscious in the gutters.

  • cindydavid4
    17 years ago

    Every major (and some less major) cities here a homeless population. Because of our laws which guarrantee the right to congregate in public places, your kind of laws are hard to enforce. I think of all the cities I've been to tho, SF was the worst when it came to the number on the streets and in the park. My instinct is to give anyone money who asks - but I know that there are indeed places and resources for people. It still grabs at my heart when I see them. I often think of this song by Nanci Griffith and am just not sure what to do:

    "I was once just like you, I had a dream that I couldn't make come true, I was a child who wrote her name on the frosty window pane. There are jobs that I might have if they'd let me in the door. Without a shower and new clothes that I can ill afford.

    "can you spare a dime, can you spare the time, can you look me in the eyes? Im down and out and I am lonely. Do you think of me on Sundays. No I don't live across the water, I live right here on this corner, just a bank account away from America'

    What frustrates me tho is that these men (usually) are not the true picture of homelessness. Women, children and families make up the biggest percentage of those on the street. They hide themselves and seldom are out begging, so no one sees them.

    Veer, I think the laws against drinking in the home are aimed at those allowing minors to drink that are not part of the family. Its not really enforceable - until one of those minors drives drunk and causes a fatal accident. Then that homeowner is liable, if not criminally, certainly in civil court.

  • anyanka
    17 years ago

    Vee, legal drinking age is 18, but quite a few off-licenses and pubs around here have a minimum age of 21; the reasoning being that a) it's harder for a 15 year old to pass themselves off as 21 than as 18 and b) to stop 18/19 year olds buying drinks on behalf of their slightly younger friends.

    Generally, there has been a definite increase in teenage alcohol abuse since the invention of alcopops. They are one of the most evil pieces of strategic marketing ever.

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