We wouldn?t take off our fur caps when we had showers. Or went to our friends? to wash our hair. We lived in an old house and the gas pressure was really low. We used gas for heating, but gas was scarce.
One thing was sure: you had to do the cooking late at night. Gas pressure was slightly better at night.
And if you wanted to bake a Christmas cake, that was hell, because the dough just wouldn?t grow because of the cold. I think I only managed to make my first decent Christmas cake after the Revolution. There were 5 degrees in our house. I?m afraid one winter the water in the heaters froze and the heaters just cracked.
They were stupid enough to leave water in the plumbing system and when the water froze and it broke my toilet basin and my heaters. Poor father was very ill and I spent all the money I had on electricity bills. I had a terra cotta stove, a huge one, connected directly to the source of the whole building?It helped a little, it made temperature rise to 10 degrees Celsius.
Anyhow he was just sitting there in the armchair, muffled up in a thick bathrobe and with a huge fur cap on his head. (S. R.-B., D. R.-B., 137, 138)
Heating was a hellish business back then. The majority of the Bucharest lodgings were connected to thermal power stations. The heating was extremely weak, there was no gas, and people lived for years beneath 10 degrees Celsius. There was no heating source. No heat at home, no heat at work, no heat in shops. People suffered from cold, many fell sick. We kept our long coats on when at work. I kept one permanently at my work place. I saw people fall ill and die with cold. It was appalling. At home or even at work, people would clandestinely use electric radiators; at work, they improvised electric plates and other devices. We were not even allowed to use boiling vessels to make coffee. We all had them in our offices but were not allowed to use them. If we were caught by the administrative directors whose task was precisely this, to catch us red-handed, we were taken to the director, in front of the party committee, and were denounced, admonished, penalized. I remember one day we were making coffee and so using a plug (usually the plugs were under seal). We were told Craiceanu, the administrative director, was coming. I took the boiling vessel and tucked it under my coat. My colleagues were terrified. He knew at once. He came to me and blustered: ?What are you hiding there?? I said, nothing, and he started to feel me. So he seized the boiling vessel. You cannot imagine the sort of nervous attrition we had to endure. I bought myself another boiling vessel, you could still find them then. In the late ?80s, you could no longer find any electric heating device, not even boiling vessels. (A.-I. B., 77)