Monday, October 15, 2018

The rain beat against the windows

From Death Under Sail by C.P. Snow. Page 180.
The first hours of the morning might have been extracted from our peaceful holidays of the years before, so marked was the lull in our anxious suspense. Inevitably, however, the tranquility became broken. Long before lunch-time Tonya was sitting with her reddened lips set in an angry straight line. Minor irritabilities crept in insidiously throughout the afternoon, which turned cold and windy enough to keep us together in the sitting room. The close contact made our tempers worse. The rain beat against the windows; grey clouds followed each other across the wide marshland sky.

On the river there was a solitary yacht, beating slowly up against the wind; two young men, with rain streaming down their faces, were sailing her grimly but without any skill, and they crossed and re-crossed the river in front of the bungalow without gaining a yard. I watched their maneuvers dejectedly.
Magnificent description but very much of its time. Having lived in England in the mid-1960s, with coal fires, no central heating, old fusty infrastructure and damp houses, cloth covered furniture with generations of smells, few phones and scarcely any TV, I can picture exactly what he is describing. But it is a world now gone and remembered by fewer and fewer each year, immortalized in old stories such as this.

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