When I think about the periods I like to write about – Regency and Georgian – it doesn’t seem like it would be so bad to live in that era. Well, most of my characters have servants, which makes it all the more comfortable. Besides offering heat, a fireplace can be very romantic, as are candles.
Then there is the issue of food and cooking. While they didn’t have the type of stove and oven that we are used to, they had something similar enough to get the job done, and probably with a bit more accuracy than my grilling. Of course, one could always make a foil meal. Do any of you former scouts remember making a hamburger patty, adding carrots, onions and potatoes and wrapping them up in foil and tossing them into the fire pit to cook? I’ve done that with my kids in our fireplace. They loved it. Oh, and have you ever made Banana boats? You take a not too ripe banana. Peel back only one section and scoop out a trench. Toss some chocolate chips in, fold the flap back over and wrap the whole thing in foil and cook it in fire. Oh my goodness, it is wonderful. But, enough of the cooking over an open flame.
I had decided that living back then may not be so difficult. I would miss the internet, cable television and such, or would I? They hadn’t been invented yet so I wouldn’t know about them. Instead, I would be socializing with real people at balls every night. It can’t get any better than that, right?
Wrong. I recently learned there is one thing I cannot live without. The water heater. A few weeks ago it went out on a Sunday and we had to wait for the part to come in. For four days we heated water on the stove and hauled it to the bathtub. There were pots on all burners constantly (or so it seemed) waiting for the water to heat. Once they were poured in the tub, we had to add cold water to bring it down to a temperature one could actually step into. This was inconvenient, to say the least. A shower was out of the question. The water was frigid and you would turn blue after a few moments. Perhaps if I would have had a staff of footmen and maids to see to the task of hauling the water it wouldn’t have been so bad.
The worst part was washing my hair. I opted to do this in the kitchen sink and used the tea kettle for convenience. My husband, wonderful man that he is, assisted. He poured the water over my head to get the hair wet, then I soaped and lathered. When it came time to rinse, I had to keep moving my head so I could get behind the ears, both sides and the front to get all of the soap out. I tried giving direction, but it didn’t work so well. By the time we were finished, the counters were soaked, as were the floors. I love my husband, he spoils me rotten and he is a great guy. But, he makes a lousy lady’s maid.
The shower I was finally able to take on Thursday night was the absolutely best shower in my entire life. So, maybe it wasn’t so easy living back then. I am sure if I paused to think about it, there are a number of things I wouldn’t want to do without, but right now, the water heater is the most important.
Which appliance or modern convenience could you not life without?