Thursday, 22 August 2013

Old Times

Yesterday I had quite a few trips down memory lane.

In the morning friend W collected me and together we went into our little market town to do various bits and pieces like drawing money from the bank, paying the newspaper bill, topping up on shopping.   Then we met in a coffee bar where we always go, and sat and chatted for an hour.   It is a pleasant way to spend the morning and I am so grateful to all my good friends who collect me and include me now that I cannot drive again.   So thank you W, both for the lift and also for your company.

We talked about old times, when we were small.   We found out that W was born in Huddersfield and that I had two aunts who lived there.   I spent many happy holidays with them, so it is more than likely that W and I were both in the town playing as children at the same time.

The houses where my aunts lived will have been demolished many years ago because neither of the houses had much in the way of mod cons.   This got us talking out the old times and how hard our mothers had to work.   There was no job sharing between parents in those days because our fathers also had to work jolly hard to bring in the money.

My maternal grandfather, William Everton, worked all his life on the railway.   He never learned to read and write but could sign his name.   As he rose to a responsible position he used to bring any book work home for my grandmother to do for him in the evenings.

My grandmother died quite young of a strangulated hernia because she refused to go into hospital.  My mother's youngest brother took my grandfather to live with him and his wife.   They were strict Methodists and drink was utterly forbidden.   Mr grandfather liked his beer.   When he was young it was said that he would dance on the table of The Black Horse pub for a pint of beer.  As an old man he still liked his beer and when we went to see him as a family my father would take him a bag of extra strong mints and slip him enough money for a pint of beer (a 'sneck lifter' as it was called).  Granded Everton would say he was going for a walk round the village, nip in for his pint and then suck the mints all the way home.

In the afternoon it was our Poetry meeting - lots of lovely poetry as usual.  Friend S called for me - so thanks to her too.  Friend S read a lovely Yorkshire poem about the old days - about ovens at the side of the fire, about  the back-breaking work women did around the home, about baking their own bread.   None of the members (with the exception of friend S) are Spring chickens and we could all identify with the sentiments expressed - the Monday washday with its copper with a fire underneath, its Reckitts blue, its starch, its posher and rubbing board and its old wooden mangle.

I came home at the end of the afternoon - the dishwasher had finished washing its load, the Aga was ready for instant toast for tea, we've come a long way in the last fifty years - and by golly we are grateful for it.

13 comments:

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Haha...your grandfather was a rascal :) Would do the same myself!

Heather said...

Amen to that Pat! I think my favourite mod-con is my washing machine but I don't have a dryer. I'd like to have known Grandad Everton, he sounds lovely. In spite of having to bring up a large family on little money, each of my grandmothers lived to a good age - 92 and 87 respectively - and in spite of my far easier lifestyle I know I could never match either of them.

Mac n' Janet said...

I loved the story about your Grandfather!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I love stories about the old times - but love the modern conveniences. Your grandfather was a hoot.

Elizabeth Wix said...

Yes, the olden days, though picturesque, were a lot of WORK!
I love my dishwasher.
How fortunate we are to have central heating.
You seem to be doing well for lifts to your various activities.
i must say that the internet is a great boon for people who want to keep in touch.

Em Parkinson said...

I love my dishwasher too! Have only had one for a few years but it's life changing and water saving. Extra strong mints were something my friend used to cover up the smell of teen-smoking, but it never worked.

Hildred said...

What an enjoyable post, Pat. And so true. We had a wringer washing machine that used to take it into its head every once in a while to suddenly whirl around uncontrollably, and we also had an icebox, - it was a great time for the neighbourhood kids when the ice man came in the summer and we could jump on the hose drawn wagon and a take slivers of ice, - probably terrible unhygienic!

jill said...

I love to listen to or read old stories most older people are full of character like your grandfather. So pleased you have plenty of friends who call to take you out, its lovely to have friends. Take care Pat xx

Cloudia said...

Please do find a way to share this with a broader audience, Dear




Aloha

Robin Mac said...

Lovely reminiscences Pat - we also had the copper and wringer and reckitt's blue and starch - I am so glad for my mod cons. We lead a much softer life these days than our parents managed, but I think they were a much tougher breed - my mother lived to 93 and my mother-in-law to 94. Cheers

Irene said...

Although it seems hardly realistic to me, I do remember my mother washing in an antiquated machine with a hand operated wringer on top. She had to use it outside because it was so messy. Imagine doing that in the cold. I am not in the least nostalgic. I only see the benefits of being alive now.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for contributing. Grandad would laugh to think that all these years later he will still raising eyebrows and laughs.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling and joining in the chat - what a difference it makes chatting to you all. Call again.