Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Damp

The temperature has risen to 5ºF above zero this morning. At least this crisp weather freezes out the damp.

Last night I started reading The Animals, Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, just out in 2014.

In Chris's very first letter (page 3)––February 1956, written from his mother's house in Cheshire,  England––he describes winter without central heating:

"The house is damp as a sponge, and cold––you can see your breath even when standing by the fire––and the sheets are damp like graveclothes and the books on the shelves smell like corpses.  And in the kitchen and scullery there are very old smells of dried fat in skillets and old old black rags that are quite frighteningly filthy in a 19th century way, like something out of Oliver Twist.
...I spend a lot of time scrubbing things. If only the pipes don't freeze!"

You can see why he stayed in California.
"Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy,"
by David Hockney (1968), via


bink said...

I remember those type of homes from Ireland...
could never get warm or dry. UGH!

Zhoen said...

Burning coal no doubt made the black grime worse. Lots of mold. And people ask me why I never want to make a fire in our fireplace. Um, because I was 12 before I knew that boogers in winter weren't supposed to be black. That was the year coal got too expensive, and my parents converted the furnace to gas.

Fresca said...

BINK: I thought that exact same thing:
Those romantic-looking castles we stayed in were a hell of damp cold! And that was in the spring.

Been plenty cold & damp in Scotland in July though, too...

ZHOEN: Black snot. Ugh!
I rode a coal-burning train when I was nine (1970) and remember the flecks of soot---nowhere near as romantic in reality as in the movies (Downton Abbey? I don't watch it but it looks pretty).

ArtSparker said...

Sometimes I put a pot of water on the stove and leave it boiling. Good for the skin, too!

poodletail said...

I love the light-filled paintings by David Hockney, most especially his portraits. This is just the thing for a winter's day: in Minneapolis or in the PNW.

Fresca said...

SPARKER: I do that too, to raise the humidity so I don't choke while I'm breathing at night! It gets like the desert here.

POODLE: I love those Hockney paintings too. I'd like one of his swimming pools up at work.