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Topic: But Candlelight Seems so Romantic in the Books!

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Subject: But Candlelight Seems so Romantic in the Books!
Date Posted: 9/23/2011 11:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I love historicals, so obvioulsy see lots of references to candlelight, carrying a candle, waiting for someone in the candlelit room. 

We were without power for 2 hours tonight and had candles lit all over the house.  I liked the atmosphere, but it really makes you stop and think how hard it must have been to DO anything.  I tried to read the newspaper and had about 4 candles burning on the table.  Then there's the safety issue. We just aren't used to being careful carrying around an open flame. For instance, I wanted to get something out of my walk in closet but decided  taking a lit candle in there was just asking for trouble.  And with a flashlight, the inclination is to get closer, to point the light at what you want to see. Not really the best strategy for a candle.

And, yes I realize they had other devices - lanterns, and candles with glass chimneys to help with safety.  But still it was interesting to make due with candles for a couple of hours.

Date Posted: 9/23/2011 11:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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Bill Bryson's book At Home has a very interesting chapter about what it was like to live without electric lighting, It was thought provoking as I live with vision issues which demands lots of light.  I would have really struggled before consistant electric light. 

Date Posted: 9/24/2011 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2009
Posts: 1,178
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Agree-having to make do in candlelight makes you appreciate electric light.  We usually lose power for a significant period of time(couple hours or more) a couple times a year.  Once it was out for 3 days.  Yes, we have a generator but it can only be connected to so many applicances-unfortunately my reading light isn't one of them. 

Date Posted: 9/24/2011 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Gives a whole new meaning to "going to bed with the chickens".   My grandmother used to always be up at dawn and to bed before 9 pm.  Just habit from the old days when she didn't have it.

Date Posted: 9/24/2011 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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Can you imagine having to use candles and wearing the kinds of clothing women wore back in the day?  Yikes!

Date Posted: 9/24/2011 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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Can you imagine having to use candles and wearing the kinds of clothing women wore back in the day?  Yikes!

That  makes me think of poor Longfellow's wife.  I can still hear my Junior English teacher telling us how her skirts caught on fire and she burned to death.

Last Edited on: 9/24/11 4:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/24/2011 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Also far more romantic in books than real life: sex in water. no

Date Posted: 9/27/2011 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2005
Posts: 30
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Even less romantic in real life: tallow candles, the common "everyday use" candle in middle ages Europe and beyond, which I understand smell very bad. Paraffin really does makes candles far more pleasant.  Between the smell, expense, and the lack of real light, I suspect going to bed early was probably a very reasonable alternative through most of human history. :)

And Willa, I agree 100% about the water. Too much hot water "cooks" me and drys my skin out all the same time.

Date Posted: 9/28/2011 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,632
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Funny candle story:

Last week I'd had a difficult day and decided to take a bath.  Before I started undressing I lit a candle that sits atop a wicker catchall on the toilet tank.  I was planning to move it to the tub edge after the tub filled.  As I was undressing I heard a little "snick".  I turned around but didn't notice anything at first.  But as I looked closer, I realized the wicker catchall was on fire!

I keep a large hair clip on top of the catchall to pin up my hair when I bathe.  The flame had caught the hair clip on fire which melted on top of the catchall and set the wicker on fire!

I managed to get the fire out without much damage to the catchall (although the hair clip was toast).  Unfortunately, the plastic from the clip melted onto the wall behind the catchall too! 

So now, whenever I'm in the bathroom, I'm scraping burnt hair clip from the bathroom wall.  We were planning to paint the bathroom over the Thanksgiving weekend anyway but hadn't expected to have to sand it down first!