Tag Archives: life

Staying cool in a heatwave

I’ve been reading lots over the last little while, on how to stay cool in the current heatwave. This is all the recommendations I have. I’ll follow this up with explanations of each suggestion in another post later ā€” writing this has taken a lot out of me! Links are for example, buy what’s available and fits your needs šŸ™‚

The UK is not set up for heat waves of up to 40c, thousands of people will die, we may have power and water outages.

Things to do immediately

Things to do the day before the heatwave

  • Turn your fridge and freezer up — make them colder
  • Freeze bottles of water (Separately from the immediate water stock!). Old fizzy drink bottles are fine. Squeeze them a little before putting the lid on, to give the water space to expand into
    • For one of the bottles, fill it halfway up, and store in the freezer so you can get to it. When you want a cold drink, just fill it a bit, and shake. Instant cold water!
  • If you have south-facing windows, prepare to cover them. A sheet, tin foil, paper.
  • Prepare foods ready to eat cold. Tuna mayo, egg mayo for sandwiches, salads, cold meats, cook some beans ready. Consider cooking a pasta bake or similar and putting it entirely into the fridge
  • At night, open your windows:
    • If you have a multiple level house, open windows/doors on one side of your house on the bottom floor, and on the top open the windows on the other side ā€” so air will flow in a diagonal
    • If you’re in a flat or bungalow, open the windows/doors on opposite side of the house
  • Try to stay at home, or indoors. If your office has air con, I’m jealous. Avoid heavy activity during the day
  • Cover any south facing window with tin foil / paper / baking paper / cardboard / sheets. Do this on the outside if at all possible. If you do it on the inside, you might overheat your windows, and break them. Expensive bills later!

During the heatwave

peeling warning sign


Do not do any of these things. They will harm you!

  • Drink Alcohol
  • Drink too much coffee (A little to prevent withdrawal is a good idea, but give energy drinks a miss)
  • Use “Air Conditioners” that don’t have an extract hose, that you have to fill with water. They use up the indoor air ability to absorb water — and sweating is the main way you lose heat when it’s too hot, so they make you hotter and make fans work less effectively. It’s safe to use them with a window open
  • Use air conditioners with an extract hose out a window without sealing your window with these kits. Yes they’re ugly, but without them you’re literally pulling hot air in from outside!
  • Heavy exercise ā€” including manual work — especially during the peak in the afternoon, 1200 ā€“ 2000 (12pm to 8pm)
  • Avoid cooking using the oven, or hobs whilst windows are closed. If you have to, use the microwave
  • Avoid travelling if possible. Trains will be very slow, aircon may fail. Roads may melt
Green node of traffic light


  • An hour after sunrise, or as close as possible, close your windows
    • During the heatwave, check the temperature sensor against the weather app, or your weather station. When the indoor temperature is close to the outdoor temperature, go outside a second to see if it feels cooler outside (in the shade!) than inside. If so, open the windows as recommended above — in a diagonal, or opposite side of your dwelling
  • Drink lots of water. One or two electrolyte drinks a day in the absolute peak temperature
  • If indoor temp is below outdoor temp, keep the windows closed. Make sure to open them when it’s warmer
  • Consider pointing a fan out the window once it’s time to open the windows. Use a tissue or light cloth to work out which way the natural wind is blowing air, and point the fan in the direction to work with the wind, not against it
  • Wear light, airy clothes. If you can, stick to 100% cotton, which will wick your sweat and help it evaporate, keeping you cooler
  • Wear a hat if you go outside, and remember your sunscreen ā€” even if it’s cloudy
  • If you have cats, put out a few bowls of water, spread around the building for them to drink from
  • If you have plants, water them before the temperature peak
  • Shower with a lukewarm shower. You want the water just a little cool to the touch. Too cold, and you’ll confuse your body, too hot, and you’ll just make it worse
  • Freeze a hot water bottle. Wrap it in a towel to cool down
  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel, and hold it between your upper thighs. You have arteries there, so will cool your entire body rapidly
  • Damp a towel and put it around your neck
  • Put your feet in a bucket or large bowl of water
  • Don’t use your fans feature to have it change direction it blows air into ā€” oscillation. You want to set up a breeze of air around your room, that’ll effectively multiply how much air is moving without needing too many fans
  • Put a bowl of ice in front of a fan
  • Damp a sheet, or wet duvet cover before sleeping
  • You can set up a fan to blow *into* a duvet cover, effectively inflating it with a constant supply of fresh air. You can use clothes pegs attach it to the fan’s grills

Comment your own tips below!

General Update Ramble

The following is a random update, covering everything from my explorations of Linux to life stuff. Feel free to skip if you don’t care šŸ™‚

Hardy Release Party

Was really nice, once I’d got past my initial reluctance to go and the butterflies in my stomach as I traveled to it. I said on IRC before I left, that the first person to recognise me, would get a drink on me. Daviey failed, he was outside having a cigarette when I finally arrived. To be fair, he wasn’t on the IRC channel when I said about the free drink… I managed to get lost, walking from the tube (Embankment) on the way to the pub – asked directions three times. Had the obligatory chat with Daviey about asterisk (I like asterisk!) and some of the pros and cons of the FreePBX interface add-on. (As suggested by Popey on the mailing list. Thanks!)

I went in with Daviey, and saw Alan Pope. He was in the middle of a conversation, but was about to say “hello Kirrus” to get his free drink, when Josh (Jerichokb) popped up, and nabbed it first :). Funnily enough, we had this conversation on IRC before I left:

<jerichokb>Ā Ā Ā  Kirrus: thank you in advance for the beer :)
<Kirrus>Ā Ā Ā     jerichokb, don't count your chickens...

Heh… I guess he can count them after all šŸ™‚

I had a really nice time, which is *really* unusual for me in a room with that many people in it. (I don’t do lots of people… I normally can’t cope, and leave asap, or sit in a corner hiding…). Sad to leave at 9, but I got lost 4 times(!) on my way back to the tube station, (asking for directions each time… one guy gave me dogy ones…).Ā  Next time I find a good map. Missed the train I was aiming for, and ended up taking the last train, got home midnight. (Yes, three hours travel. Missing the train will do that for you.)

Distro Experimentation / Hard Drive Failure

Well, my CentOS install died with my harddrive, about 2 days after my posting about it. CentOS is useable, and is quite nice, though I didn’t reinstall it when my new drive arrived. Unfortionatly, it turns out that my new drive has some bad blocks on it. Repaired the filesystem using “e2fsck -c” on the live cd, and reinstalled gutsy. Upgraded to Hardy RC. A lot of work. I’m going to have to boot back into the LiveCD sometime and check the filesystem again, to see if there’s any more corruption. If so, I’m going to have to get another Harddrive, and RMA this one. Just what I didn’t need with my dwindling savings and no job. Update:(Thanks, as always, to the Ubuntu-UK irc guys for the help and advise as I tried to repair my partitions)


I’ve had 2 interviews so far, one at Codian, one at Canonical. I’dĀ  really like to get the Canonical one (working in a datacentre, looking after servers), as it sounds like an enjoyable thing to do, that and giving me plenty to learn. But, I don’t think I will. (Heh – my natural state after any interview. Then getting the job is a pleasent surprise rather than a disappointment.) Millbank tower is NICE, and the commute into Vauxhall fairly simple.. I just take a slow train from a town about 3 and a half miles away… an hours walk, or 15/30 minutes cycle depending on the traffic, and which way you’re going. (To is easier. One big hill up, then mostly downhill to the station.) I’m still awaiting a reply from Canonical HR about blogging guidelines as applied to interviewees, so I won’t go into too much detail about that interview here. Suffice to say, it was interesting.
The Codian interview was by far the most difficult, I was asked a tonn of questions by three different people, over 2 hours. Decimal to binary (on a whiteboard).. I’m a bit rusty at, not having done it much before, but got there in the eventual end. Decimal to Hexadecimal, mathmatics is not my strong point, but again, got there in the end. (6E == 110).Very friendly receptionist šŸ™‚

I’ve one interview/meeting left, at Positive Internet. Sounds interesting…

If you know of any Junior/Trainee Linux/Ubuntu-Based jobs in London going around, let me know.

To Do:

  • Process, upload and blog photos. Recharge camera’s battery (rarely need to do!)
  • Continue Job Hunting.
  • Look at the feasibility of moving onto a new blogging platform, but staying with my current email and domain host.
  • Hunt for jobs.
  • Bug Triage.
  • Think about applying for temp work to tide me over.