'Saving' is not a very fashionable word at the moment - there doesn't seem to be a lot of point in saving (even if you can afford to do so) when the banks are in such turmoil and offering such poor rewards. But there was a time when saving for a rainy day had real meaning.
As I look out of the window this morning, it is thick fog. In spite of there being quite a breeze blowing, all it is doing is blowing the fog from place to place. It is the kind of fog which, up here, usually only goes away with a good heavy rain shower.
Here in the Dales we have always been mostly grass land and I dare say there would often be jobs for the farmworkers to do indoors on wet days. There were cattle to feed and clean out and milk etc. But on arable farms, once it rained the men had to go home for the day = hence the expression 'saving for a rainy day'. Also the reason why they all had vegetable gardens and all tended them after work every night. Imagine working on the land all day, coming home, eating your dinner and then going out until it was dark to work in your garden. But they needed the produce to supplement their meagre wages.
In the days I am talking about almost everyone in the village would be a farm worker; maybe a road man (the road man in the village when I was a child was called Joe Hardy. If you saw a blocked drain or if there was water on the road, you went to Joe's door and told him and soon he would be there with his barrow, seeing to it. As kids we used to go specially past his house on a Monday to see his long combinations hanging on the washing line!) and then the 'posher' people, like the vicar, the doctor and so on. But, by and large, all were farmers or farmworkers.
I have now lived in our village for twenty-seven years and even in that time it has changed. Now the farmer (who was born here - and his father before him) hardly knows anyone. A lot of the old inhabitants have died and their children have moved away - sometimes to better jobs but often because the village has become 'trendy' and houses are too expensive for them to buy. Also there has been quite a lot of new building.
I expect this is probably the way with all villages these days. The trouble here is that because we are perhaps too far away from large towns to become a commuter village, many of the occupants are now retired. The school closed some years ago (before I arrived) and there is no village shop. The pub has changed hands a few times but the new owners seem to be trying all kinds of things to attract customers - they had a Hallowe'en Party and a Bonfire Party and they run a Quiz each week.
But there is our monthly coffee morning, when the hall usually has a few children dashing about on the little bikes provided for the Play Group who meet there a couple of times a week; there is a Village Study Group who meet weekly in the winter and walk fortnightly in the summer and there is a thriving art group and camera club.
All so very different from the days when my father-in-law was a lad. He used to speak of going over the fields in winter with his milking stool strapped on his back, to milk the cows in the barn - before going to school.
It is all a mixed blessing isn't it? Sadness that many of the locals are no longer able to afford to live here (low cost housing is a long time coming), yet when we think of those working men struggling to make a living and dreading the odd wet day when they just had to hope that they had married a careful housekeeper who had a bit put by in the old teapot on the mantelshelf to tide them over until the sun shone again. I am hoping it soon shines again here.