Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Absence of light

Like many Northern Europeans I easily get depressed on dark winter days. Make that on dark days. This was one of the reasons why I went to Istanbul a couple of weeks ago, because my flat in Tbilisi is seriously dark, hanging, as it does, off the side of a mountain. It does have a wonderful view across the town, but when it's cold you'd only look at that from inside, across the large roofed balcony - which also does not allow much light in. It's also one of the reasons why I left Scotland which can be cloudy from November to April. And it's the reason why I can't wait to get back to Lithuania, to my flat with the large windows and the bright lights.

The lighting in my flat in Tbilisi is a bit of a catastrophe. There are plenty of chandeliers all over the flat; shame that a) some of the light sockets don't work, and b) the bulbs pop about every five minutes. Yesterday I bought a dozen lightbulbs, a couple of weeks ago I had bought another six. It's down to dodgy wiring rather than power surges, I suspect, since my laptop has never been affected.

So why don't you buy long-life lightbulbs, I hear you ask? a) doesn't work - even they croak after a month or two., and b) those you get in Tbilisi give the most appalling light, roughly resembling that which you might expect in a morgue. Cosy light it is not. But carrying lightbulbs from Vilnius to Tbilisi is just a step too far.

The most catastrophic area is probably my bathroom. It has kind of brown/beige patterned tiles, floor to ceiling. The ceiling has a suspended thing hanging off it with a diamond pattern of green, brown, mirrored and white glass squares. The 3 lightbulbs are behind this. There is also a light above the wash hand basin which had never worked until I recently popped in a bulb, only to discover that it does not switch off. Ho hum. Did not matter so much since the bulb died after about 2 weeks of constant light, and the following one lasted just for my bath. In the meantime the ones in the ceiling had died, one after the other. I replaced two with the long-life bulbs - the only ones I had; when the last normal bulb went and that above the basin, having a bath was like being at the bottom of a very dark river. This is what headtorches are for, reading in the bath. Let's not think about safety. Imagine my excitement today when I borrowed the neighbour's ladder (which has its own issues - its legs splay out) and with great difficulty and knocking knees replaced two of them with normal bulbs. (The third one is above the toilet which has no place for someone, potentially collapsing with a ladder, to hang on to.) I should have got the 100 watt ones, though.....

I can't believe I keep going into the bathroom to look at the amount of light I have there!

Incidentally, visiting a friend's flat yesterday we spotted the British 3-pin sockets. Unusual in Tbilisi. It would appear that this was the residence of the first British ambassador to Tbilisi after independence, so everything was done British. Like no sockets in the bathroom, one of those funny pull-string switches in the toilet....The arrogance of it all! Or was there really nothing in Tbilisi at the time? All new tenants have to buy zillions of adapters to use their European plugs in these sockets!