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.