When I was 19, my dad took a sabbatical to the United Kingdom — he was a math professor and did collaborative research at a university in Leeds, England. Even though I was only there a few months, I take the fact that I actually lived there as some kind of indicator that I have a bit of British blood.
Growing up in the United States — where the oldest structures are infantile compared to Europe — everywhere we travelled seemed ancient. I had never been in a real castle before and the cathedrals had actual tombs for people who lived so long ago they almost didn’t seem real. It was fascinating.
Visiting Scotland one weekend, I find myself on a bus where almost everyone was a ginger. Never, never in my life had I been in a spot where my hair was the majority color.
The only thing I didn’t like about our adventure, was the cold. Now coming from Utah — land of the “greatest snow on earth” and home to the winter Olympics — that might sound strange. I didn’t see a single flake of snow while I lived there. But the combination of rain and humidity made for a bone-chilling cold I’d never experienced.
To top it off, we lived in a flat on Grove Lane that was amidst a street of row houses. Old row houses. We actually had a form of central heat — which was almost unheard of amongst our friends and acquaintances — but I could never get warm.
If our home had all double glazing on the windows, it could have helped enormously. About 60 percent of heat loss occurs through single-pane windows. Double-pane windows only have about 12 percent heat loss. Think of the cost savings, not to mention the increased comfort.
While I’d love to visit England again, I’d prefer my accommodations be more modernized (and warm). Living in a medieval castle isn’t quite as romantic as the movies might make it seem.