The plumber, in between valiant efforts to find the part that would fix the boiler and give me back my heat and hot water, has been laughing at my attempts to think of my frigid flat as a London Adventure: "You know Dickens died a long time ago, right?"
The fact is, I'd be perfectly happy to go back to the late 19th century, when my house was built to deal with lack of steam heat because radiators hadn't been invented yet. If there were still a fireplace in the bedroom... if the fireplace in the living room produced more heat than decorative light... if bed warmers were still a standard household appliance; if my everyday clothes still included yards of wool and layers upon layer of crinoline: if only I lived in the world this house was built for. Granted, I'd be breathing soot and confined, by my sex, to the home, but at least I'd be warm there!
As it is, I'm wearing three layers of clothes and spending most of my time under a thick afghan, engaged in the very ladylike Victorian pursuit of embroidery. And drinking hot tea. Lots and lots of hot tea.
Anyone have other keeping-warm ideas? My landlady suggested making a dinner that required lots of prep work and a 250-degree (centigrade) oven, but I shudder at the idea of washing the cookpots and roasting pan in cold water.