My father died in January 1970 and it was a cold winter. He had a heart attack, probably because of a weakness caused by the dreadful bout of ‘flu that he (and all of us) suffered from for several weeks beforehand. At present, I’m finding a cheerful log fire is very comforting, both to look at and to sit by and I expect it was for a similar reason that we felt it was worth the bother to carry coal upstairs and light the fire in my mother’s room. She lost a lot of weight very abruptly – not that she had been fat in the first place and I know it’s one of the reasons that I’m taking such care of myself now: I don’t want to increase the risk of osteoporosis by becoming underweight – as a result of this, she felt the cold severely and used to have three baths a day to warm herself and bring herself some comfort.
The fire was such a success that she decided to take it further. As I said, the bedroom, bathroom and dressing room were all en suite, with the bathroom in the middle and the only room not to have a fireplace. She had a bath etc. installed in the dressing room, and put wardrobes in the bathroom to reverse their use, which was a very good idea, both because having her clothes in the room next to the bedroom made sense and because it enabled us to enjoy the great luxury of bathing by firelight. A clotheshorse with towels warming, a comfortable armchair at the side, the bath in an alcove so that it didn’t obtrude into the room, it was all done in shades of pink and brown and looked very pretty.