Thoughts on a Rainy Day
To escape Storm Freya I went to the Russell Cotes Museum in Bournemouth today. Both the house and its contents are an enormous splurge of Victorian bad taste. I couldn’t help noticing the buckets in the conservatory (see photo). Fair enough, I suppose, the wind and rain being so fierce, but I did wonder how watertight most Victorian conservatories were. According the memoirs of Hector Berlioz, who seems to have secured out-of-hours access, the Crystal Palace leaked. He noted several discreetly placed buckets, as well as some green streaks on the inside of the roof glass. (He also found a sparrow nesting in the muzzle of cannon.) The summer of 1851 was one of the wettest of the century, which lends credibility to a description in a Hardy short story (‘The Fiddler of the Reels’) of excursionists to the Great Exhibition arriving at Waterloo in the first stages of hypothermia, having travelled up from Wessex in open carriages.