02 August 2009

Oroville house3

Peter has mentioned a basement, and I had, in fact, forgotten it. Perhaps it had some sort of workshop in it - but what it certainly housed was the heater.

The house had central heating. The heater was some sort of oil burner - burned diesel oil, I think. I remember my poor father trying to get us to keep the thermostat at a very reasonable 20 degrees (68F) - and we - or at least I - constantly turning it up to max (85F, or half a degree below 30C). Did I ever take seriously or even comprehend talk about expense? I doubt it. I certainly have no memory of any traces of a twinge of conscience (neither about that nor about much else, I'm afraid).

I suppose the warm air outlets went upstairs, but possibly not. There were some downstairs that I used to love to stand in front of on cold days. Maybe the system was set up so that warm air would flow upstairs.

But at the foot of the stairs was a big grill, whose function I neither knew nor questioned. I know now what it was. It was the air intake.

I appear to have engaged in sleep-walking. One morning there was very pungent, unpleasant odour coming out of the warm air outlets. It was ascertained - how, I don't know - that I had walked in my sleep, down the stairs, and emptied my bladder into the air intake - straight, I imagine, onto the burner of the heater.

Regarding that, of course, I feel even now no guilt - can one be held to account for actions taken during sleep? But I must not have been very popular with the rest of the family for a while.

To the left of the entryway is the dining room. The table in my memory is very large, but I suppose it was quite normal in size. We were six at dinner (including Jeremiah). The table, sideboard, and chairs were all some kind of set - elaborately-carved dark wood. I wish I could say that our dinners were pleasant affairs. Well, I suppose they were for me. It never occurred to me to inhibit gross or offensive behaviour at table - or even that my behaviour could have been offensive. But dinner times must have been a trial for my mother and father and for Jeremiah.

And then ... the TV room!

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