Room Temperature

Everyone seemed shocked that I could live in a flat with a room temperature of 11°C (52°F).

But 60 years ago, I’d guess that most houses were like that. 60 years back, as a small boy living in my grandfather’s house, most of the rooms weren’t heated. There were a couple of small coal fireplaces in two of the rooms. Maybe the house had cavity walls, but it certainly didn’t have double glazing.

It was like an icebox in winter. And quite often at dawn ice had formed inside the windows. It was an ordeal to get out of bed in the morning, and put a sleep-warmed foot down onto the ice-cold lino floor by the bed, and take off my pyjamas and dress quickly in thick underwear and socks and pullover, and go downstairs to the steam-filled kitchen where the porridge was being boiled. While outside the steamy windows birds fought among themselves for bacon rinds that had been thrown out onto the snow.

By that time of day, my grandfather had usually started making the fire in the small living room, twisting up newspapers and stacking them on the grate, piling split pieces of wood on top, and then lighting the newspaper. And sometimes it wouldn’t light, and my grandfather would repeat the process, sometimes two or three times, while I sat shivering at the table, gulping down hot porridge and milk and golden syrup.

By the time I’d finished, my mother would have usually managed to get a fire lit in the second small living room, and would maybe have switched on the coal-effect electric fire just for a few minutes, “because electricity is very expensive”.

It took ages to firstly light the coal fires, and then ages for them to reach their golden red working temperature, and even longer for them to warm the room. It must have been an hour or two before the room warmed up too. And during that time, if you sat too close to the fire, you got burned on one side and frozen on the other.

All the internal doors in the house were kept firmly closed, and the windows shut. And the result was that there were only one or two warm rooms in the house. The rest of it stayed ice cold all day, including the bedrooms and hallway and stairs. Rule Number One was: Close The Door!

With all those closed windows and doors, you might imagine that there was quite a fug inside. But there wasn’t. And that was because the coal fires and the gas cookers all had chimneys which sucked air out of the house. A coal fire generates about 20 air changes an hour. The air leaked in through the windows and doors. So when my grandfather lit one of his unfiltered Players, it didn’t fill the room with smoke. The room only filled with smoke when the wind blew the coal smoke back down the chimney, which it regularly did.

We lived very active lives. My grandfather would go outside in all weathers, to bring in coal or wood, or clear snow from the drive, or mend something. And, when the snow got too deep to use his little car, we’d walk the mile or so up the road to the small grocery, and maybe a further mile into the village where most of the shops were. And then walk all the way back, laden with bags, our feet and fingers numb.

It was only when you’d just got in from going outside that you needed to head straight for the fire, and warm your hands and feet in front of it, and gulp down hot, sweet tea or new-fangled instant coffee. After that, you didn’t need to stay right next to the fire. But you had to wear warm clothes the whole time.

So I’d guess that most of the house room temperatures were around 10°C, and I doubt that the living room ever got far above 20°C.

Keeping busy is a good way to stay warm. It was something that was brought home to me when I was a university student, and in winter I used to regularly walk a couple of miles to the university from my hall of residence, wearing just jeans and T-shirt and jacket. But I had to walk fast. And the colder it got, the faster I had to walk. One day it was so cold that I was almost running. But I couldn’t stop to catch a bus. If I’d stood at a bus stop, even for a few minutes, my body temperature would have started dropping rapidly. So I had to keep walking.

These days the coal fires have gone, and the rapid air change rates that came with them have gone too. And the double-glazed windows are more or less sealed shut. And the cavity walls are filled with foam insulation. And the lofts are insulated too. And so air change rates in modern houses are probably down to 1 or 2 air changes an hour. And in such environments, a malodorous fug can rapidly develop. And that’s probably why smoking (and indeed any kind of smoke) has gradually become more and more intolerable. And it’s also why ‘Body Odour’ has also become intolerable, and many people shower several times a day. Some people can’t even stand perfume either. Next they’ll start complaining  about the stench of coffee, and newly-baked bread. And if these various phobias have filtered down from the upper social classes to the middle classes, it’s because it was the upper classes that installed installed central heating and double glazing first.

It may also begin to explain the modern ‘obesity epidemic’. If you live in a cold environment, of say 10°C, you are losing heat to it at a higher rate from your 37°C body core than you are when you live in an environment with a temperature of 25°C. The rate of heat loss is K.(T1 – T2), where K is a thermal conductance equal to 1/R, and R is the sum of body and clothing thermal resistance. Whatever value K may have, in a 10°C environment the rate of heat loss will be K.(37-10) or 27.K, while in a warm environment it will be K.(37-25) or 12.K – two times less. So in a warm environment people usually take off clothes to increase the value of K. Either that, or they eat less food. But both clothing and food are highly culturally determined, and people don’t readily dispense with either the clothing they are accustomed to wear, or the foods they are accustomed to eat. So most probably a lot of people who are living in these warm, centrally heated modern homes are continuing to wear what they have become accustomed to wear throughout their lives, and to eat the foods that they have become accustomed to eating, in the quantities they have customarily enjoyed. And if they do this, they’ll be taking on board twice as much food energy as they actually need. And some of that will get stored as body fat, which also acts as thermal insulation. Unless they go jogging, of course, which is another way of burning off the excess energy, and something that’s only started in recent decades.

And back in the 1950s, the breakfast that I gulped down consisted of porridge oats with golden syrup, followed by eggs and bacon and tomatoes and toast, accompanied by toast and butter and marmalade, and hot tea with milk and sugar. That’s a pretty high energy breakfast. And then a few hours later there’d be lunch which would probably consist of roast lamb, boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas, followed by crusty apple pie and custard. And then a few hours after that there’d be tea, which would consist of numerous cups of tea, accompanied by biscuits and cakes covered with icing sugar. And in between all these meals, there would be the occasional bar of chocolate or sticky toffee or mint humbug. It was a high energy diet, with most of the energy pumped in at the start. But I remained as skinny as a rake, and so did my grandfather, and my mother and my brother weren’t much wider. And that was because we lived highly energetic lives, living in a cold environment, and walking or cycling everywhere.

And now I’m just living in much the way I lived 60 years ago, in the same cold environment. And eating many of the same foods too. Even keeping a window open to make the air change rate rise. But I eat very sparingly. Because I’m not living a highly energetic life.

Yet if I go out to lunch at a pub-restaurant, there will be a starter course that may be soup or something, and then there’ll be roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes and peas and carrots and gravy, and finally there’ll be a hot sticky chocolate cake dripping with cream. And it’ll all be washed down with wine or beer. And it’ll end with coffee and mint chocolates. And that’s just lunch. And it’s enough food to keep me going for two days. But, because it’s available on the menu, I guess that most customers are buying all three courses. And they’re eating full breakfasts and teas as well in their well-insulated, centrally-heated homes.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with eating lots of food, or living in a warm home, or doing very little exercise, or wearing currently fashionable clothes, or anything else. But these all have energy consequences, and it’s very easy to create an energy imbalance if you do all these things at the same time.

This isn’t about nutrition. Nor is it about chemistry. It’s just simple physics.

I think I’m going to dust off a few of my old books from back when as a university research assistant I used to build heat flow models of buildings. We had people in those buildings, but they were just heat sources. I think I’ll build a computer heat flow simulation model of a little house or flat, but I’ll also model the people inside them with their 37°C body core temperatures, and their body fat, and their clothing, and the food they eat, and the things they do. And maybe I’ll build a simple climate simulation model over the top of it as well.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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52 Responses to Room Temperature

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    Parts of your blog made me smile, Frank. I, too, remember unheated bedrooms with Jack Frost’s patterns on the inside of the glass in the winter. And I remember the old coal fire, which was replaced in latter years with a new-fangled gas heater which seemed, to me, like the ultimate in modernity and high-tech living. But, apart from one little, largely-ineffective Esso-blue (remember that? “Boom, boom, boom, boom – Esso Blue!”) heater in the hallway, that was it as far as heating was concerned.

    But, unlike you, I’m afraid I never grew accustomed to it. I daily thank the man who invented central heating (whoever he was), and having to live in a flat at only 11 degrees would put me into a bad mood which wouldn’t lift until the temperature did, especially in the mornings, when I’m not – shall we say – at my best! My long-suffering OH regularly gets berated for turning the heating down to anything less than 18 degrees when I’m not looking. He thinks that as that temperature is “quite warm” (in his view – huh!), that I won’t notice. But I always do, much to his dismay, and up goes the thermostat again to a lovely, cosy 22 degrees. Mmm! Toasty!

    Oh dear, I’m starting to sound like one of those Monty Python characters: “Ee, when I were a lad …” “shoebox in t’middle of t’road …” and all that. I must be getting old …

  2. Icicles on the inside of bedroom windows….
    Why do people think that such a thing is ancient history and will never occur again?

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Hell Frank we thought getting a Catsup sandwich was a treat. Most nites we had macaroni and cheese the powder kind with boiled hotdogs,then freezer burned frozen fries cooked in the oven. The mornings were kick on the oven with the oven door open for heat and get dressed for school. If we were lucky we had toats made in the oven with butter on it,then mom would toss some brown sugar cinammon on it so we would eat for the 5 millionth time in a row.

    Of course all the above happened when Mom decided to split from Dad with 4 kids. Christmas was another matter altogether,before mom married another bread winner it sucked. Then she married Jack, A great guy and step dad. He made good money and we ate good for a change. Trips to his moms at holidays was fantastic all the fixins and wine to boot. Everybody smoked then and well all of us do now too. But my favorite xmas was at 16 when I got my first shotgun and pistol. I killed more meat in Tenn as a youth than anything. Id go out and bring back cottontails,deer,squirrels even muskrat. I ran me a trap line back then too when varmints brought a bounty especially coyotes. The state paid 25 bucks each for the heads and I made pretty good with muskrat pelts,coon skins and Deer hides thru the winter months. My string of traps was about 30 of various sizes. But we had no beaver then nor turkeys. I had become a dead shot as a kid with rifle or pistol living in the backwoods of tenn then. Firewood lord how I cut it back then. I was using and old 2 man cross cut saw until mom got me a small chainsaw which I wore out in 1 winter. Id go cut a few trees and then drag them back behind the house with my horse and cut em up. I mamde even more side money rounding up cattle for the local farmers and hauling hay r chopping tobacco and hanging it in the barns. Back then kids could find plenty to do……….

    Where I lived was right beside BRADLEYS Barn in MT JULIET before it became a megapolis of nashville like it is today. Owen Bradley was a good friend and in that sound studio he has is where Coal Miners Daughter was recorded among 500 other hits in the country music charts over the 70s and 80s. Yes it was country music that brought us to Nashville back in 72-73. I grew up knowing all the stars around there and on the road. My real dad was a famous Nashville picker with Chet Atkins and played lead guitar for David Houston, Jack Green,Ferlin Husky,Jerry Lee Lewis to just name a few………….I have friends now that pick the grand ole opry ive known for forty years since I was a kid. But now Im braggin on and need to shut it up………An interesting childhood for sure and one I wouldnt trade for anything. My Step Dad just got back from Willie Nelsons down in Texas over the weekend.Theyve been good friends for quite some time and even recorded songs together. If youve ever heard Johnny Cashs song LONG BLACK VEIL thats my Pops singing with him………..enough of my rant……Oh and Wiel may have even heard of my stepdad in the netherlands he had several hits over there and has flown in to do concerts there thru the years…….but I wont name him here,I like my confidentiality.

    • Tony says:

      Hi Harley,
      You mentioned Willie Nelson – do you happen to know his attitude to tobacco? The reason I ask is because of this song:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRH0jhuc1r4&feature=related which I guess is probably about another smoke. But if he’s also OK with tobacco then it would make quite a good anthem.
      P.S. I can’t remember how I found that YouTube. Maybe you posted it once?

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Before ya ask,I couldnt pick a sour note on a banjo!

      • beobrigitte says:

        I must show these picture to my friend; her “mecca” is Nashville, Tennessee. Huge Country fan. Great voice, too!!! (Tingling around Germany with a Country and Western Band)
        My friend and I made a “deal” – first we go to Nashville and do her Country stuff, then we go to Woodward West – carefully swerving California; it’ll do both our heads in!!!

        Incidentally, this friend is a non-smoker who keeps ash trays in her house in case I visit. Smoking/non-smoking has never been and never will be an issue. Our friendship goes back 37 years. And we trust each other with our lives!
        This, too, is something the antis did not take into account!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          My mom still keeps ashtrays on the coffee table for when musicians come over!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          I can tell you this first hand,the musicians that travel and do gigs have really had their livelihoods affected by the bans. Its been killer with less and less gigs being ordered because of reduced crowds. But their is an uptick in private shows for a lot of bands. Like renting a wharehouse for a weekend and brining in a crowd. Its under the table but its what goes on.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I can tell you this first hand,the musicians that travel and do gigs have really had their livelihoods affected by the bans. Its been killer with less and less gigs being ordered because of reduced crowds.

          My friend did gigs in Bavaria – after 2010, when the smoking ban came in, not ONE gig there!!!!! The Bavarian pubs (and music venues) are struggling. Nothing new for me; a family member is also a musician (and has a 2:1 in music technology) and I – naturally – I used to go to the gigs. Music has a hard time in places with smoking bans.
          A couple of month back there was a spare ticket for Therapy? – I love life music, but for the obvious (smoking ban) I first declined but then was persuaded to go. It gave me an opportunity to speak to youngsters (and door men!!)
          Therapy? is a quite well known band over here; to hear that they almost cancelled the gig (they needed 100 online bookings) baffled me. The band was great to see – I have become a fan since and also of the bands playing before Therapy?. But when the venue put out the atmospheric artificial smoke, I just turned around and said: “I’ll do that for you for free, just put an ashtray on the table”! The reply: “I wish, I could do that – it would be so much better in here tonight….”

          Smoking bans: “screw that, forget about that. I don’t wanna do anything like that” (amended)

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Hey there pretty dang GOOD!

        • beobrigitte says:

          My favourite is actually “distant dying star” – unfortunately I can’t find it!

          What baffled me at the gig was that not the youngsters who “never knew pre-smoking ban times” refused to come…… (I do miss the gigs I used to go to; this one was a one off! I haven’t even looked who is playing where. I can’t smoke. That cancels every gig.)

        • beobrigitte says:

          The smoking youngsters that came were given the tickets!!! They wanted to see the band, but were not prepared being sent outside. So they never bought the ticket! I told them “Same here”

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Well I know Ive said a lot of things in the past on here and thought I should at least back it up with some pics……

      • beobrigitte says:

        Thanks, Harley!!! My friend will probably have a great time going through all you have posted here, and enlighten me! But I will have a great time learning! Just as I did when she taught me to horse back ride without a saddle! (To this day no saddle is my preferred option, if I am forced to use a saddle, I demand a WESTERN saddle.
        My friend also has 5 horses; the one she taught me to horseback ride on was HER horse (in every aspect!!!). He was a Haflinger with a hell of a sense of humour who understood the bond between my friend and me and was incredibly patient when I sat on his back.
        Sadly, the only horse I understood was put to sleep last November at the age of 52. It will be strange visiting my friend without storming into the stables to jump onto his back and my friend saying: “gosh, I’m amazed he lets you do that” and me saying: “you should know by now – he understands US”. The day the vet came to put him to sleep my friend phoned me – we both got drunk at 10 a.m. We needed the alcohol to numb it – but we yapped until 5 p.m. !! (Somehow……….)

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Ive got new Horse now My brother bought me last fall,I call her STAR. She is arabian and quite sweet. The first horse he got was my wifes and about half broke and I warned him dont gallop that horse yet,she aint ready. I went inside to get a glass of tea and as I came out the RV door all I saw was him hitting the ground at a full gallop………..My sister inlaw has it all on video. Yep he made the horse run. He listens to me now. for the most part.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I will forever miss Ajax (my friend’s horse). He took off with me and my friend interfered; I told her that I had fun galloping and that I felt, Ajax wanted to run. Ajax and I took off again!!! Priceless memories!!!!
          On Ajaxes back galloping was easy; cantering I found much harder.

  4. nisakiman says:

    I’ve always put my aversion to cold down to the fact that I spent my awakening years in the tropics. I’ll never forget standing on the quayside at Southampton in midwinter 1956, having just disembarked after the voyage from Singapore. The boat of course had maintained a fairly high temperature throughout the voyage (about 6 weeks, I think it took), so I was quite unprepared for the subzero temp accompanied by a biting wind when we arrived in England. I was utterly miserable. I was so cold I cried.

    Yes, I too grew up with the coal fire only in the living room, and the frost on the inside of the windows, but I never got used to it. I’ve since spent most of my adult life trying to avoid the cold. As I said yesterday, if it’s 32 – 35 (or indeed, up to 40) C, I’m both comfortable and happy. I absolutely hate wearing layers of clothing. I like to get up in the morning and just put on a pair of shorts and flip-flops. Bliss.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    ACLJ Files Suit Against UCLA After Professor is Fired for Blowing Whistle on Junk Science

    http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/lawsuit-against-ucla-after-professor-fired-for-blowing-whistle-on-junk-science

    (Washington, DC) – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed suit on behalf of Dr. James E. Enstrom, a UCLA research professor who was terminated after he blew the whistle on junk environmental science and scientific misconduct at the University of California (UC).

    “The facts of this case are astounding,” said David French, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. “UCLA terminated a professor after 35 years of service simply because he exposed the truth about an activist scientific agenda that was not only based in fraud but violated California law for the sake of imposing expensive new environmental regulations on California businesses. UCLA’s actions were so extreme that its own Academic Freedom Committee unanimously expressed its concern about the case.”

    Dr. Enstrom, a research professor in UCLA’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, published important peer-reviewed research demonstrating that fine particulate matter does not kill Californians. Also, Dr. Enstrom assembled detailed evidence that contends powerful UC professors and others have systematically exaggerated the adverse health effects of diesel particulate matter in California, knowing full well that these exaggerations would be used by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to justify draconian diesel vehicle regulations in California. In addition, the complaint argues that he exposed the fact that the lead author of the key CARB Report used to justify the diesel regulations did not have the UC Davis Ph.D. degree that he claimed. Instead, according to the suit, this “scientist” bought a fake Ph.D. for $1,000 from a fictional “Thornhill University.”

    Finally, Dr. Enstrom discovered that several activist members of the CARB Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants have exceeded the legislatively mandated three-year term limits by decades. The suit contends that shortly after Dr. Enstrom revealed this systematic wrongdoing, UCLA not only issued a notice of termination, it denied him any compensation for his work by systematically and wrongfully looting his research fund accounts. Dr. Enstrom worked for more than a year without pay as he in good faith appealed his wrongful termination using UCLA procedures. Ironically enough, the fake “scientist” was only suspended for his misconduct while Dr. Enstrom was terminated for telling the truth.

    “If academic freedom means anything, it should permit a professor to challenge bad science and expose scientific misconduct,” said French. “Yet UCLA appears more committed to a political agenda than to free and open inquiry.” During Dr. Enstrom’s internal appeals, UCLA refused to allow him to present his full case and UCLA officials put forward multiple and ever-changing grounds for his dismissal. “How can we have confidence in the findings of environmental health scientists if they allow politics to trump science?” asked French.

    The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in the central district of California in Los Angeles, names the Regents of UC as well as a number of top UCLA officials as defendants. The suit contends the school violated Dr. Enstrom’s constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

    The complaint requests the court to declare that the actions taken by UCLA violated Dr. Enstrom’s right to free speech on matters of public concern, along with his due process rights. Further, the suit requests an injunction requiring UCLA to rehire Dr. Enstrom, as well as monetary damages to be determined by a jury.

    The lawsuit and exhibits are posted here.

    Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    How can we have confidence in the findings of environmental health scientists if they allow politics to trump science?” asked French.

    Enstroms study yet again destroyed their political movement in its tracks………….They dont like that much ,do they.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Frank I found this last week,it really is DAMNING to the junk scientists:
      Odds are it wont stay up long at the web link its at after Ive been using it.
      Seems to be the case when I find really good stuff.

      Epidemiologists Vote to Keep Doing Junk Science
      http://www.manhealthissue.com/2007/06/epidemiologists-vote-to-keep-doing-junk-science.html
      Epidemiologists Vote to Keep Doing Junk Science

      Epidemiology Monitor (October 1997)

      An estimated 300 attendees a recent meeting of the American College of
      Epidemiology voted approximately 2 to 1 to keep doing junk science!

      Specifically, the attending epidemiologists voted against a motion
      proposed in an Oxford-style debate that “risk factor” epidemiology is
      placing the field of epidemiology at risk of losing its credibility.

      Risk factor epidemiology focuses on specific cause-and-effect
      relationships–like heavy coffee drinking increases heart attack risk. A
      different approach to epidemiology might take a broader
      perspective–placing heart attack risk in the context of more than just
      one risk factor, including social factors.

      Risk factor epidemiology is nothing more than a perpetual junk science machine.

      But as NIEHS epidemiologist Marilyn Tseng said “It’s hard to be an
      epidemiologist and vote that what most of us are doing is actually harmful
      to epidemiology.”

      But who really cares about what they’re doing to epidemiology. I thought
      it was public health that mattered!

      we have seen the “SELECTIVE” blindness disease that
      Scientist have practiced over the past ten years. Seems the only color they
      see is GREEN BACKS, it’s a very infectious disease that has spread through
      the Scientific community with the same speed that any infectious disease
      would spread. And has affected the T(thinking) Cells as well as sight.

      Seems their eyes see only what their paid to see. To be honest, I feel
      after the Agent Orange Ranch Hand Study, and the Slutz and Nutz Implant
      Study, they have cast a dark shadow over their profession of being anything
      other than traveling professional witnesses for corporate hire with a lack
      of moral concern to their obligation of science and truth.

      The true “Risk Factor” is a question of ; will they ever be able to earn
      back the respect of their profession as an Oath to Science, instead of
      corporate paid witnesses with selective vision?
      Oh, if this seems way harsh, it’s nothing compared to the damage of peoples
      lives that selective blindness has caused!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Enstrom has pretty much exposed the shs/ets Fraud and now he has pretty well exposed the enviromentalists as frauds………He alone is Owebamas greatest threat to his agenda.

  8. garyk30 says:

    Back on the farm, in the middle of the last centuary, we used to heat bricks in the coal oven and then, wrapped in our pajamas, put the heated bricks under the covers towards the foot of the bed.

    Crawl undere the covers with your clothes on and then change into your night clothes and leave your day clothes under the covers to stay some what warm.

    Next morning, the process was reversed.

    I have no regrets about the accomodatations that we kids had to make while growing up on a farm; but, 60 years later, I see no purpose in having to put up with more than old-age forces upon me.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Never occurred to me to do that! Dress and undress in bed.

      • nisakiman says:

        Good Lord! You didn’t dress and undress in bed? I thought that was standard procedure for kids in the 50s winters! I seem to remember importing my underclothes into the bed before I got up to warm them a little before donning them, rather than sleeping with them, but same principle… :)

        • Frank Davis says:

          No. I guess I’m just pretty stupid.

          It was undress next to the bed, and freeze in the freezing bedroom, and put on cold pyjamas. And the converse when getting up.

          The only good thing as that we’d usually have rubber or china hot water bottles in place in the cold bed when we got in.

          I think that was why getting up was such an ordeal. There was no hot water bottle to ameliorate the experience. There was just a cold water bottle at the bottom of the bed.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Oh, I forgot about the hot water bottles! First we had big metal ones then rubber ones. It warmed the foot end of the bed nicely until my big brother came home around midnight and nicked them from his brother and sisters.

          I am glad not having had a cold water bottle at the foot end of my bed in the mornings!

      • garyk30 says:

        In the part of America I grew up in, it was common for Winters to get way below 0 F.

        We did a lot of things that normal people would never have reason to think of doing.

        Sometimes, when it was really cold like -30F, we wore our wool underware(longjohns} to bed.

        You never put your head above the covers, you could lose something from freezing.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    In my childhood my mother got up much earlier than everyone else to light the coal fires and make the coffee. As our bedrooms were not heated there was this kind of morning-dash which consisted of grabbing the dressing gown and slippers once there was this smell of coffee wafting through the house and running to the warm kitchen. Once I had breakfast it was time to light the bathroom stove for a shower. In the 20 minutes wait for the water to heat up, I had my second breakfast.

    Windows frozen inside in Winter I encountered for the first time in England when sharing an old house with 5 other people. (The landlord was like the one in ‘Rising Damp’ and we were a bit like ‘The Young Ones’)
    Back then there was the option of keeping warm by going to the pub.

  10. legiron says:

    Ah, the frost on the inside of the old sash windows. Then someone thought it was a good idea to make steel window frames, which conducted the heat straight out of the room.

    When the boiler was broken, I’d get home from work (about 10 minutes there, 15-20 back because it’s uphill) and it felt warm inside. The fan heaters were set to minimum all day, just to keep it above zero and stop pipes freezing. It’s relative, I suppose. I remember visiting Wales one November and waiting for a train into Cardiff on an open platform. Everyone else was bundled up in coats. I was in shirtsleeves. It’s a matter of what you get used to.

    There were tricks when we were kids – put on your pyjamas over your clothes an hour or so before bedtime. Then they weren’t totally freezing when you changed into them. We also dressed in bed before getting up.

    School has huge cast-iron radiators that worked well if you managed to grab the seat right next to them. Unfortunately school also had steel window frames – big ones. The heating was run by a coke-fired boiler, tended by a caretaker who was straight out of a Stephen King novel. Coke was strange stuff, a sort of porous, light remnant of coal. I never did work out where it came from.

    I’ve just bought another set of those fingerless gloves to replace the last worn-out set. I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have some.

  11. Belvederian says:

    Totally off topic, but I just want to boast that I have just finished a pack of 20 Sobranie Black Russian 100’s that were given to me as a Xmas present! I only had one of them each evening and savoured them all the way down to the gold filter! Absolute bliss, and an English product to be proud of!

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