My memories in pictures

"We never had much money, but, we did see life"

My children had to compile their family tree and part of the project was to interview their parents and grandparents on the way we lived. When it came to explaining for instance that there was no hot water, we bathed in a tin bath in front of the fire, grandma washed in the wash house in a dolly tub, we had coal fires and no other heating in the house, we went down the yard to the toilet, they could not envisage the way it was. They said, "Describe it Mum, paint us a picture", so I did.

We bathed in the tin bath in front of the fire, Mum would have the gas boiler on to heat the water. Notice the brick under one end, it saved water and the big ones sat in the deep end. Friday night was nitty night, hair got washed with Derbac soap and ragged with the nit-comb. Then hot cocoa and toast Dad made with the toasting fork in front of the fire, and bed

Then dad would take a shovel of red hot coals up into the bedroom, if it was very cold [ice inside the windows] the army coat went on the bed. Potty under the bed, only for emergencies

The toilet was down the yard, at night we took a candle and Mum would stand at the back door. You would keep her talking in case she went in. We cut the echo up in squares and hung them from a nail. Dad got caught out "studying form,"when her next door stood on her stool over the wall to borrow a cup of sugar. He sat there one afternoon shouting, "PAPER", for etenity, no one heard him. We were all in the "Palour," watching telly, [rented from "Radio rental." half-a-crown a month]. The fella next door pushed a rolled up "Echo" through the adjoining gap in the privvy roof

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness"

Mum would sit on the upstairs window sill to clean the windows, we would have to hold her legs inside the bedroom.

Steps were scrubbed, Ashley stoned first, then donkey stoned to make them white on the edge, you would get it if you stood on it

Whites boiled in the boiler with dolly blue bag, rinsed dollied, then rinsed, coloureds done next, clothes mangled and hung on the line, aired on a huge rail in the kitchen, which hung from the ceiling over the fire. If the electric was low, Mum would iron on the kitchen table on an old blanket with the flat iron heated on the coal grate. I can even remember her attaching the electric iron cable to the light fitting

"She never!"

Mum stood in the street and watched us play, but also having a jangle, catching up on all the gossip. at 6.30pm she'd shout, "Come in now school in the morning, " Ahhhhhhh Mum, five more minutes." "INNNNNNNNNNN NOOWWWWWWW". If you protested you were chased up the "lobby" for every word Mum came out with you got a clip round the ear. "I, clip, told, clip, you, clip, to, clip, get, clip, in, clip". The quicker you legged it, the less clips you got.

Snowball fight, Dad brought home a real christmas tree, but, Mum didn't throw out the bottle-brush tree

My favourite things and places


Copyright 2002 / To date