Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Here I am in England...where's the A/C ?

As I am sure you remember, we landed in the Mother Country at the end of Fall and the weather was so nicely crisp and cool that a sweater was needed. Luckily I had enough experience with PBS and reading about England to have the common sense to pack us all a sweater (and a coat). Right now I am looking fondly back at those days (I looked on those days fondly at the time, too...I've been too hot for years). The temperatures hovered in the forties nearly all the time. It used to tickle the hell out of me when the temps got up to 60 and pictures of lunchtime workers (in London) out in the park practically starkers...(that's practically naked for the uninformed). They were in their slips getting that bit of sun...listen, I wanted to tell them, it's 60 degrees, not 95, for the love of your health, put your clothes back on! Not that these children would have listened to me, sun deprived as they think they are. When I would talk about the heat and the sun we live with here, of course they just thought that was wonderful! "Why aren't you nice and brown with all that sun?" someone asked me. I looked at him like he had grown a second head and answered him. "Because I stayed out of the sun as much as possible" was my reply. "I was brought up that way." My grandmother didn't think we should leave the house without long sleeves and a sun bonnet. I'd give nearly anything for one of those old sun bonnets now. The brim shaded our eyes, the tail shaded our necks. She was savvy to skin cancer before it became widely known. So anyway, here we were in England and the first thing I noticed was a.) the cars don't have a/c (b. the houses don't have a/c and c.) the schools don't have a/c. It's one of those conundrums or things that make you go "hmmm". We're all moved in our nice lovely house which has steam heat (or radiators) and there's a gas fire in the lounge and and the dining room. In the wonderful bathroom is a heat rail for the towels. Hot towels, how civilized can you get? I didn't notice that we didn't have a/c for months. In fact I think our first summer was nearly over before it dawned on me that not only did we not have a/c we didn't need a/c. In fact some days in the evening I lit the gas fire in the lounge. Oh, the lounge.Over here of course it's what we call the den or living room. We had these beautiful leaded glass (bay) windows and velvet drapes (sage green in color). It had a wide brick tile window sill and overlooked the front garden where there was this massive White Hart Cherry tree. It made the most wonderful cherries that we and the birds were quite fond of. The summers were perfect. You opened the windows and let the breezes blow through, it was just wonderful. In fact, there was not a season there that I found uncomfortable. Winter Spring Summer or Fall, it was wonderful. The only thing that I found the least bit, well...weird, was the fog. I remember the old Jack the Ripper movies and the fog rolling down the streets into the alleyways, low to the ground and up to your knees and swirling in this eerily spooky way. But that was the movies, right? One night I opened the door to check on an odd sound and the fog came directly into the house. I slammed the door and stood with my back to it for some time. Imagine that. Fog. Coming into the house. I kept the drapes pulled on foggy nights after that. You never knew what was in it, did you?


Adla said...

Hi Sandi,
thanks for popping by vintagedelights. I enjoyed your read and it reminded me of the days I use to live in Oman.Summers there were crazy ,we even had A/cs in the kitchen and bathrooms.It'd be nice to borrow a bit of Englands weather there :)
Anyways I'll add you to my links and if you'd like you could add me too and I'll be back to read more of your interesting posts. Catch ya later.
Ta , Adla

Mary said...

Oh Sandi
A/C in England!! No... central heating and umbrellas in England!! Most houses here would still be as you described yours.Our porch and windows surrounding are still leaded coloured glass but the windows are palin double glazed. Good for keeping us warm in winter. I ahvent seen a fog like that for some years. We used to call them "pea soup" and they used to bring all transport to a halt.We have A/C in our car now but it is a Chrysler!!!

Abbie said...

I'm sorry but that sounds like perfect weather to me too. Nothing below 40 and nothing above 60!
I could run marathons everyday!
Just this morning me and my son were driving by a field thick with fog. Fog always reminds me of the fireworm from the 13th warrior. My favorite movie of all times. I'm sure I'll be thinking Jack the ripper the next time (don't know too much about this and from what I've heard about it, I'm ok with my ignorance)

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

You know, my house in Plattsburgh, New York and the one in Montana didn't have a/c either. I thought it was barbaric! lol The 2 hottest summers of my life were spent in upstate NY and Montana. I know they have short summer seasons in those places, but my word! It was HOT, HOT, HOT while the summers lasted, I can tell you that much. Never again (God willing, of course).

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

Hi Sandi!! Hope you are well! I don't know anyone who has air-con in their home, although most new cars have it now here in the U.K. I know we moan about the British weather, but after hearing how hot and humid it gets for you, I've changed my thinking slightly!!
I do love fog though-it reminds me of that old film 'The Fog' which I always liked for some reason!!!xx

Wanda @ Just Vintage said...

I really love reading your views of England. Having never been there, it's fun to read another American's view. You notice things natives take for granted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming by.I tell you I feel so dumb since I have not really been anywhere. Taking my son to New Hampshire for school was the most id ever traveled. my hearts sure desires it though.

Susie Q said...

What a lovely post...I did so love my time in England and do plan to return soon. I am new here, found you through Kari and Sophie. I have bookmarked you and will return often. Please visit me when you can.

No A/C for a fact! And that fog...we spent some time in the South of England and one afternoon, were stopped on a road because of that fog. Soon we were surrounded by sheep...wonderful wooly sheep. I, of course, loved every bit of it!

We are a Navy family as well. Retired 2 years ago.

Have a sweet Thursday!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandi, thank you so much for visiting our new Blog! So glad you did. Love your post re the a/c! We had to laugh, down here in Melbourne Australia, we need a/c everywhere! In the car, in the house, at work, in the shopping centre, it get sooo hot in summer sometimes up to 41c (106 F)! Day after day!!

Everything Stops for Tea said...

A/C in the house - you are full of madness lady!!!! I do now have A/C at work - that is more due to the fact there are no windows and it keeps the books in a nice controlled temp!

PAT said...

I enjoyed this post, so much!

I lived in Louisiana 3 years without AC...but that was in the early 60's, when few homes had central AC or for that matter no AC at all! I can't imagine being without it, now, though.


Country Cottage Chic said...

LOL! We had some fog this morning so I thought of you! We are a little more civilized these days & have a/c in our cars.