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Sunday, 5 December 2010

5th Dec

Jack Frost nipping at fingers and toes, painting pictures on frozen windows.

Thanks to  for permitting use of this photo

Thinking back many years, I was told that my Dad had to keep the coal fires alight all day and night when I was born, They lived in a two-up, two-down terraced house near the top of a steeply sloped cobbled street. Each of the four rooms had a fireplace.

I can remember a fire being lit in the front bedroom when I was poorly (whooping cough). No duvets in those days, but blankets, eiderdown and bedspread. Oh the delight when well enough, to sit in a chair beside the fire wrapped in an eiderdown.

The frosty weather got me reminiscing about times past. Hence Jack Frost. Throughout childhood and teens I lived in houses which depended on coal fired heating. Not central heating, that was something I discovered when living in digs as a student. Usually, only one fire was lit (living room) which had a back boiler to provide hot water. In Winter bedroom windows were thick with ice. Beautiful patterns but oh so cold. Then there was all the fuss of laying and lighting the fire. On weekends sometimes we'd have a fire in the front room as well. When I think about it, today's Health n Safety bods would be the way to light that fire...was to carry a shovel of hot coals and lay them on the fire grate!

At home in the Pennines, we often had snow and ice but thought nothing of it.. Yes, it was an hindrance making travel more difficult. But, Dad still walked to the station, caught the steam train to work, walked to his office and returned the same way at night. My friends and I walked to school. Laughing and throwing snowballs. We spread ashes from our coal fires on paths and pavements once the snow had been dug away.
Oh the fun of sliding down the icy street. One year Dad made me a sledge and we joined others sledging down the 'backs' the alley between two rows of terraces.

The Winter of 1962-3 was memorable for its severity, but no schools closed. Okay a few kids from outlying villages might get sent home early. But anyone from the town stayed in school as normal. Even the local river froze enough for ice skating.

Today, we have ice and freezing fog, not a nice combination but nothing like the winters of long ago.


Sayre said...

I think the world has become acclimatized to warmer temperatures with the advent of central air. With the luxury of warm air in every room, the cold outside seems colder, just like in the summer the heat seems hotter.

I try to keep my house very cool in the winter and warmish in the summer. Mostly because I want to spend some of my life outside and it will seem unbearable it the contrast is too great and uncomfortable.

I loved your reminescences of being kid in the winter. But for the whooping cough part, it sounds lovely!

joangee said...

Thank you Sayre, like you our house is quite cool compared to others. I awoke thinking of times past so I thought I'd share. Thanks for stopping by.