Friday 12 December 1662

From a very hard frost, when I wake, I find a very great thaw, and my house overflown with it, which vexed me. At the office and home, doing business all the morning. Then dined with my wife and sat talking with her all the afternoon, and then to the office, and there examining my copy of Mr. Holland’s book till 10 at night, and so home to supper and bed.

19 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

Anyone know anything about the history of gutters, drainpipes, &c. in this period? Are there drips in the house?

A. De Araujo   Link to this

No comments about Susan?!
What is going on with our Hero?

Terry F   Link to this

"Are there drips in the house?"

Well, yes, at least of the bipedal sort; there were surely gutters and drainpipes in use at this time (the Roman faves were terra cotta); but whether Seething Lane on this day was properly equipped with them, given the recent irregular remodelings might have been hard to know, except experientially/experimentally.

Next Q.: Are there buckets in the house?

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

The leads be walked on too much, and there be the flat parts that the snow when melted would drain under the lead sheathing then run down the inside of the walls. Flat rooves [roofs] be bad for the snowy winters, 'tis why the alppy types and them there northern folk like high angle gables so there be no collection of winters finest.

Terry F   Link to this

"examining my copy of Mr. Holland’s book till 10 at night"

Is this a continuation of yesterday's lessons with Mr. Creed?
John Hollond (sic), experienced in paying of ships and the politics thereof in times of fiscal shortage, wrote about naval administration, esp. abuses in victualling, dead-pays, misuse of stores, etc.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Vexed Sam may have been about the water getting into the house, either through the roof or under the eaves or through poor gutters or just flowing in from the street, but there is no question but that he will have nothing whatsoever to do with any clearing up. I see him tip toeing through water out of the house tutting in annoyance whilst Jane and Susan are busy with mops, brooms and buckets - with Wayneman to carry and Elizabeth to instruct (with petticoats tucked up).

Australian Susan   Link to this

"sat talking with her all afternoon"
Wish we knew what about. How long would "all afternoon" have been I wonder? What modern husband spends this sort of time doing just this with his wife? Even if they are with their wives during the day, they are usually attached to a mobile phone or a laptop.

dirk   Link to this

"thaw" -- the water getting into the house

This is most likely the result of condensation - not a leak. The temperature in the house would have been very low during the night (but well above freezing point), given the poor heating / lack of it during the night for safety reasons. Windows and shutters would have been closed. The air inside the house would have cooled down considerably overnight. (The breathing of the sleepers in this closed space would have added more water vapour to the air.) The early morning cool would then reduce the capacity of the inside air to hold its water content, part of which would become liquid water, dripping of the walls etc -- in other words, it would actually have thawed inside.

Pauline   Link to this

“thaw”
Plus Sam seems to have a basement--wherein he stored some gold and into which a neighboring house of office overflowed at one time. So a "great thaw" could have overflown his basement. And maybe his doorsteps and entries as well.

Pauline   Link to this

"...sat talking with her all the afternoon..."
Given Gosnell, Sarah, and Susan, I do wish we were in on this conversation!

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Damp walls were the bain of normal English Damp.For those that be unlucky to have lived in normal winter heat of coal and never central heating type and lived in thick bewalled domains of the Elizabethan/Stuart/Georgian period will have experienced the Damp/moisture that be coming down the wall, Sam would Know this, this be the unusual/ once every few winters, were the Piled up snow/ice be thawing and be slush in every way, which way into the house innards creating a delightful mess for the females to cleanup. Tis why the older English suffer from chest ailments of the smoke and dampness variety.

Mary   Link to this

"overflown"

refers to an overflow. Pauline's take seems by far the most likely. All that snow in the courtyard, garden etc. has been unable to flow away ino the street, but has seeped into the house, with its cellars, instead.

Dave Bell   Link to this

Remember that we're talking about the short days of an English December. "Afternoon" suggests before sunset, and, allowing for other distractions -- how long would the dining have taken? -- it could be only a couple of hours, compared with five or six in the office reading Mr. Holland's book with the Navy's candles.

Xjy   Link to this

Damp walls
Some of my favourite stories about university relate to this kind of thing. The story went that some poor bloke tried all night to gas himself at Trinity College in Cambridge but failed cos the room was so full of cracks and draughts. Another told of the student at the same college who used the ice on the walls of his room to practise his rock-climbing skills...

chris   Link to this

Thatched buildings are not usually fitted with gutters even to-day.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

A little extra attention to poor lonely Bess, making up a bit for his concentration on Gosnell earlier...And perhaps helping out with placing buckets, etc as the melting snows poured or seeped through. And it allowed him to keep an eye on Balty's latest protege.

Bess has been a good sport about losing the flighty Ms. Gosnell and he's responded with a little kindness especially on a day that must have vexed her as well.

Beware mold, Sam...

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Sam wakes

& goes downstairs to find Susan wading prettily through the entrance hall. How vexing!
-Well, I'm off to the office. See that it is mopped up by dinnertime.

Sam dines

& lingers as Susan clears and sweeps, catching up with Elizabeth's gossip, who then says,
-Sam, there's more mopping up to be done, and I've saved a mop and bucket for you.
- Many thanks, but I've a bit of catching up to do at the office. Have a Navy to run. See you later.

Glyn   Link to this

"the river was full of ice, as there had been a hard frost" - from the Diary of a Dutchman named William Schellink, who lived in England from 1661 to 1663.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Two Discourses of the Navy, 1638 and 1659, By John Hollond,
Also a Discourse of the Navy 1660 By Sir Robert Slingsby
http://books.google.com/books?id=0Nc-AAAAYAAJ&p...

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