David, UK: “Every single morning, the curtains would be dripping with condensation and puddles would form on the windowsill.”
Q: Did your family keep the house warm?
A: I’m not sure that they tried to keep it is warm as possible; actually, I don’t think they did.
Q: Was it a question of not being able to afford to?
A: You don’t really know the family finances are when you’re that age, but I doubt it was. I am not convinced that he was actually, you know, having to make difficult choices about the heating, but he was more like “We don’t need it on so let’s turn it down.”
I think my dad’s more of a look after the pennies and the pounds themselves kind of guy. And I think it was drilled into him so much in his upbringing – he was brought up in a house where he didn’t have money – that it’s just his default to keep an eye on those things and he still does. So, he can afford to heat the house but he’s still keeping an eye on the thermostat.
There’s been a bit of a social / cultural shift and an expectation around the kind of warmth of the home – from his kind of old-school notion of what is reasonable and expected.
Q: Do you have any strong visual or sensory memories of the condition of or the temperature in your home?
A: The windows had only single glazing. So in the winter, every morning it would be dripping wet with condensation. I remember asking my mum and dad about why they always pulled back the curtains downstairs when they went to bed. She said because before they had double glazing, the windows would get so wet and so puddles of water would form on the windowsills. So (to avoid damage), you’d always move the curtains back at night. Even so, I remember my mum leathering the front bay window every single morning because it was so wet. They have double glazing now, but they still pull the curtains back at night.