Sunday, October 04, 2009

What do you keep in yours?

We take so much of everyday life for granted. Fancy a cold drink? Open the refrigerator. Keep your vegetables fresh? Open the refrigerator. You get the message. Where would we be without this wonderful invention? However, it hasn't always been this easy. I can remember a time when we stored food without a 'fridge. I remember cheese wrapped in greaseproof paper that became soggy during a warm spell, and butter that never set during summer time, soft and almost oily even though it was stored in the larder. I was only a child, so didn't really understand the problems that this caused but I'm sure that some of you will have similar memories.

The area in which we currently live is full of history and rich in artefacts. Food storage has been a problem for 'ever', and one answer is illustrated very well in this area. Ice Houses were apparently 'invented' many many years ago. This article talks about the history etc, however, it is much more graphic to actually see one. Only the very wealthy would be able to have one of their own, and of course it would be contructed and maintained by 'staff' for the benefit of impressing visitors and rivals. Imagine having to cut chunks of ice from the pond during the winter months then pack them quickly into an especially contructed underground chamber, padding it with straw etc. All this for a landowner who probably didn't even know of your existence!

This wonderful photograph illustrates the roof of one such construction. You can find the original here with more information. Aren't the colours amazing? I think it could well inspire a piece of stitching at some point. There are also other examples around, some of them restored and converted into exhibition spaces. One day I would love to do a tour of the UK and view as many as possible. Maybe when I retire? In the meantime - anyone fancy a gin and tonic?


MargaretR said...

I loved this memory Myfanwy. you are right about being inspired to stitch something using that photo.

Tessa said...

I believe there is one at Ham House.
Inspiring photo!

Myfanwy said...

Indeed yes, Tessa, I've been to Exhibitions there.

NICO Designs said...

What a wonderful trip down memory lane! I am too young to know what it is to be without a frig but my Dad remembers. I think it helps to keep us all grounded.
And we certainly do take many things for granted nowadays.