UncleEbenezer wrote: bungeejumper wrote:
No wonder the Poles like it so much in southern Britain.
Clearly meant with humour, but of course in reality people with real winters have houses much better-built for them. My Swedish granny felt colder in the mild Sussex winter than back home.
Fair point, obviously. My own crummy little top-floor flat in Berlin had triple glazing on the windows, which had been there ever since the block was built in the 1880s. And the building had had practically no maintenance or improvement since then - as was apparent from the fact that the centre of the block had been blown away by an Allied bombing raid in 1945 and still hadn't been cleared up after 26 years of peace.
Two memories stand out about the cold. The first was that you could get badly frost-burned around the ears if you were stupid to try and walk around in minus 20C. Your extremities would immediately turn into heat-emitting radiators, and the outward passage of your body heat into the air could be just as physically damaging as the inward transfer of heat would be if you accidentally touched a hotplate. After half a mile the dangers of simply slipping into exhaustion and hypothermia were very real. The locals warned us about it, and they weren't kidding. Even the vegetarians wore fur boots and mufflers.
The second recollection was that, after two weeks of minus 20C, the footpaths had turned into three or four inches of coal-ice. Successive layers of frost and soot, then more frost and more soot, with no thaw for weeks on end, had left you walking on a frozen black lasagne that took more than a month to disperse. And all this a few miles north of Watford.