This isn’t a post about Taylor, beautiful though he was, and is. It’s a post about the little white thing behind his head and the things that go in it, which form part of a typically complicated scenario in Italy.
To start with, Italy has a sort of admiring love-affair with German technology and a lot of appliances (whether or not they’re German) have rounded German plugs on them. These rounded plugs will ONLY fit into specially-shaped rounded sockets. So a lot of houses have these sockets fitted, as do we, but sparingly distributed because they’re more expensive. (The one in the photo is bog-standard Italian.) The alternative is an adaptor.
The standard Italian plug will fit into a German socket IF it’s one of two types – the skinnier, lower-amp one.
The two types of Italian plug and socket don’t combine with each other, except: it’s possible to have sockets which accept both types of plug. Otherwise it’s an adaptor again, making sure it goes from and to the right way round!
Nine months in France gave us plenty of experience with the French two-pin system. Multi-national adaptors were the answer, but some of them can’t cope with Italian plugs.
We still have a few English plugs and we connect these using power strips. I sometimes have great fun rummaging through cupboards for a power strip that takes Italian/German plugs and fits into the English socket of another power strip, or vice versa or any combination of the above!
The power point in the photo is crucial because it copes variously with Clive’s breathing machine, hoist, laptop, keyboard, speaker dock for his Ipod, HTC tablet … He’s suggested that we add a couple of sockets alongside the existing one, but we only have to use an adaptor in one of them and the other two will be blocked off, sending us back to square one!