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?