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Friday, 20 December 2013

Sash Windows. Some Things Should Be Uninvented.

I am living in temporary accommodation - we will come to that another time - and today I thought I would open a window. Eventually I did, but it was a sash window and it drew blood before yielding to force.

I recalled an incident fifty years ago. I had gone into lodgings on the Iffley Road or the Botley Road or some other Oxford road where students lodged in approved lodgings - houses where there was a Resident Landlord or worse Landlady to police your behaviour. My landlord was an elderly widower in a widowered Victorian terrace house.

My room smelt. I forced open the window and placed my hands on the sill to look out at my View. At which point the rotten rope holding up the sash window broke and the window descended with the speed of a guillotine onto my fingers. I was reduced to calling for help from my fellow lodger, David Thomas, fortunately in his room and who rescued me, exerting the considerable force necessary to lift the guillotine from my hands.

I moved out shortly afterwards.

If sash windows fit their casings then they exclude the draughts but are impossible to open. If they are easy to open, then they rattle and the draughts whistle through them. Though Estate Agents are enthralled by them as a Feature, it requires specialist (i.e, expensive) carpenters to keep them even half functional. They are a nightmare.

I think they are a uniquely British institution - though I have a memory of reading somewhere that they can be found in Madeira, a legacy of the short lived British colonisation of that island.

They are something which should be uninvented.

1 comment:

  1. Go on. Tell us why you're in temporary accommodation.