i well remember my mother putting a handful of soda crystals in
the bowl and after boiling the kettle, she poured this on the top
and slowly the crystals melted. all this was for the
washing up of greasy plates.
washdays, much the same, but soap bars filled the air with pungent aroma amongst the sudsy steam, and the reckitts blue bag was much in use for the whitening of shirts and sheets.
my mother had an old housewifes encylcopaedia in her head as to what to use for each and every thing to be cleaned in the house. candlewax on clothes, no worries, a piece of brown paper placed on the cloth, and a medium iron placed on top. et voila, a little elbow grease and care, and wax gone.
everything else on clothes dabitoff was used. boy, didnt that choke, all those fumes!
large white handkerchiefs were used to place on delicate fabrics and trousers and other items to be pressed, say for pleats, and one dipped ones hand in the cup of water, and flicked the fingers over the article so placed.
pressing the hot iron on top,[ for pleats and trousers, not delicates,
that was a cool iron] one then slid the iron across the surface of the ironing board, and watched the mutinous steam rising.
it was a days work in those days to complete ones days chores. not so, now.
bathroom, easy, doddle street. just get a pressure container with a new up to date, very latest product inside, and pull the trigger. wipe over surface with other hand and its done.
mums day, a coarse product for placing on the bath, wipe and scrub round, rinse, and rinse again to remove all smears. satisfaction guaranteed a wonderfully clean bath, but nice backache and washday red hands.
carpets? i used to watch my mother using the broom and dustpan and brush, then when we had enough money for a hoover, cylinder variety, early model, life became a breeze.
mirrors, newspapers, vinegar and water. oven cleaner? my mother with caustic soda.
flash? no more hands and knees, a mop and bucket, and a few scattered newspapers on the floor. it made light work of what had previously been hard labour.
when the steam iron became common though, my mother still kept her electric flat iron. funny that, shed been using it for too many years i suppose, and it had grown old with her. a number of miles that thing had travelled, from one end of the wooden ironing board to the other.
i still have it in my cupboard. it reminds me of her and her neat little fingers, smoothing collars and sleeves, in preparation for the decreasing of wrinkles. no-one could touch my mothers laundry, and the final view of her work on my fathers shirts, were a row of them hung round the picture rail, like soldiers on parade. all clean neat and ready for inspection or wear.
i have my steam iron and a few pressure triggers cleaners, well i am a little bit modern these days, who needs to labour when you dont need to, but i keep my memories of her each time it comes out, and the steam rises.
come what may, it was a two mile walk to school for us, and for my mother who was a very diligent mama, a walk back too, without her brood.
i can well remember the winters of the early to mid fifties. oh dear, it was cold. we dressed for the journey, wrapped up against the arctic wind and the deep snow.
my day would start with getting out of bed, and rushing into my dressing gown, kept under the eiderdown to keep warm. then downstairs to shiver daily in the back loo. no central heating then to deprive one of the cold.
wash, dress, breakfast, [lovely, jubbly porridge made by my mother] and teeth. the next thing was to get the outdoor layers on. i was stood there in my vest and pants, liberty bodice, blouse, tie, gym slip, cardigan, long socks.
next, a large scarf folded diagonally was wrapped round my little chest and shoulders. next my long socks, [with garters] were put into my wellington boots.
next, my coat. a little faux fur variety, a hand me down of one of my cousins, in mid brown. i stuck my arms out and my mother levered it all round me and buttoned me up right to the chin.
next, my knitted woolly pom pom hat and gloves, made by my mothers own fair hands. i felt like a stuffed tomato.
my sisters able to do their own, were already by the time i had been seen to , and my mother had on her own defence against the winters hardest bite.
i was very warm in the house, but oh, when the front door opened, and the long trawl began through the deep snow to school, by the time i was at the end of the road, i had lost the feeling in my toes, and my cheeks with the biting wind, were an agony.
we nevertheless, progressed. down the road, down another, then another, then another, then turn left, and up the hill. it took forever.
my mother squelched us into the cloakroom. my sister removed her own garb and hopped off to her classroom.
the cloakroom smelled of wet things, and the floor was awash with the melting snow.
finally, having divested my little person of my winter array, my mother saw me to my classroom, and turned with her last smile for me, to make the same journey home.
i went into a room which glowed with heat, carefully shutting the door behind me. in the middle of the bright and cheery effect stood the author of the glow. the big pot bellied stove, railed all the way round but, with clusters of children standing warming their hands.
the teacher came in, morning miss, we all trolled out with practice. she listened to the bell ringing outside, to your desks, and we meekly obeyed, giving the stove one last reluctant look.
break times, we could either go outside for a few minutes, depending on the sun, whether it shone or not, or we could sit and read comics and play indoors, with the ample amount of toys around.
it was noisy and the condensation ran down the windows from the steam and the amount of little bodies in a closed room. it became stuffy in the afternoons and i was inclined to be sleepy in that atmosphere.
the bell at last rang. home time, and there was my mother waiting in the cloakroom, lifting down my little coat from the peg. it was another trial getting my clothes back on again. with a final hitch at my satchel, we wended our way home through the darkening sky, and complained bitterly at the end of the road again, about our toes.
the gloves were sodden from being out to play and those snowballs. so, wet handed to begin with, the mitts slowly froze on the outside, and by the time we got home, a tiny crust had formed on the backs.
my mother, such a trojan, would set about derobing me, and then preparing tea. we rushed to the fire, after hanging up our coats, and setting our wellies by the back door.
there it was, in the front room. the fire. crackling and spitting, the guard removed, red hot, we sat grumbling about our fingers, which we nursed back to life oh so painfully. exchanging school news and tummies rumbling, we soon forgot the long trek.
on the table, wash your hands, came the cry. a dash for the bathroom, giggling with the soap, shivering in the cold, we assembled at table, ooh,
bangers and mash, lovely.
and so it was.
We went up to him and I said, 'Come on, how about giving an OAP a break?'
He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a dumb idiot. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn-out tyres. So my wife called him a something even worse. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.
Just then our bus arrived, and we got on it and went home.
We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired.
It's important at our age.
With thanks to Les E - who has a wicked sense of humour!
i wonder where that word came from, spud, perhaps the topic of another blog.
my father and his father before him, made good use of the plot of land that the house stood on. every square inch, that wasnt used for our little play area, was fulfilled and bursting with good things.
not forgetting a square for the common or garden potato. there were a great many varieties grown then that have now long since disappeared.
i havent seen a king edward for decades. in the supermarket, there are 'baby' ones, red ones, and baking ones. i always opt for the baking ones, variety unknown as they always 'do' for a great many purposes.
everything is done now to suit the modern woman, and is washed, cut up and prepackaged for todays lifestyle.
my mother as a young woman, would struggle home with her daily shop in the willow basket, with a lovely sweet gnarled potato, soil still clinging to it in part, and it smelt of the fresh air and open spaces.
whilst not being actually disinfected, potatoes nowadays have very little flavour and are scrubbed and ready for use, before you get them home.
i suppose in the race for production of food for the masses, flavour and
texture have been discarded for a good looking shiny product. never mind what it tastes like.
so many times my friend buys apples and more often than not is bitterly disappointed with them. they are pappy and watery and a leathery bright coloured skin. of course, they are subject to the same production process as all else. and then at the crucial point they are put through the machine that kills off bacteria.
but the earth apple, our lovely potato, used to contain wonderful flavour.
sometimes, when i throw my cap over the windmill,, or have a mad moment, i buy organic stuff, just for the benefit of reminding myself how life used to be.
it is more expensive, but so worth the extra pence when im in pocket, which isnt often. but having said that, long may the organic growers reign. carry on growing you guys out there!
theres absolutely nowt like a really good mashed potato, is there.
watching the 'pots' bubble away in the pot, flushed out in the colander at the appropriate moment, and whilst you are reaching for the masher, or fork,
there it is, a large knob of golden butter, sitting regally atop the potatoes, melting gently into the white floury panorama.
using a little elbow grease, necessary for a beautiful mash, one pounds away
in the rising steam, adding a little milk, seasoning and sometimes a little grated cheese, and et voila, a dish fit for a king.
setting it on the plate with a large spoon, in a mountain of fluffy buttery white cloud, one gently places the required amount of sausages on the top, and drizzles a little of the sausage juice over all.
airship in the clouds my mother used to call it, and certainly her family couldnt wait to get their knives and forks on the whole thing. the whole thing being a work of art on a plate.
if you like, add a nice flavoursome brown gravy, and there you are. oh dear, im dribbling with anticipation. i think its sausage and mash today folks. are you coming round?
i had misery as a child, my mother used to buy shoes at the co-op as she used to have the divvy. we all went and stood with our feet in the predestined brown lace-ups for school. mother and father werent millionaires then, far from it, and school shoes used to do for hometime as well.
my prime problem was that my toes dislocated and my second toe was much longer than my big toe. winter time it worse, an agony a step.
also, my socks also 'went to sleep' on a regular basis by the way i walked, still do as a matter of fact, if i attempt to cover my feet these days.
i also had wide and big feet. try getting anything nice for that category. fashion was a rarity those days, basic style was the usual commodity then, but even so, the shoes my mother bought were not happy ones.
and my father [fresh from his soliderly activities in the war] would insist on keeping all shoes bright sparkling clean. good spit and polish was the order of the day.
we won all the clean shoe competitions at school hands, or should i say foots, down.
years passed and i grew up and went to work and at last had a say in my foot comfort. i bought a massive amount of high heels, and scholls when they were fashionable. i loved them but hated them. trying running for a bus in them, you come off the back and land with the shoe in the middle of your foot. makes my eyes water to think about it.
i then went to austria and broke my ankle. this determined my shoe choice for the rest of my life. i had saved hard for this holiday and wasnt going to go into hospital for the duration. as my ankle swelled to an enormous size, i borrowed a pair of sandals and a bandage and walked with a few shouted agonies round the tourist beauty spots.
more years went by, i forgot the incident and at forty started getting real trouble with my right ankle. i had it xrayed at raigmore hospital, inverness.
madam, the consultant said, what have you done.
i saw the xray and it was a mess of messes. the bones had healed back into the wrong shape. no wonder i was in so much pain.
but, i still soldier on. i sit in an unhappy bunny state as shoe salesman after shoe salesman brings out each tasty little shoe, but when it fits it looks wrong, and when it looks wonderful, it doesnt fit.
so, after years of struggling with the fasion trends, i have settled on the jesus/artistic look, with the roman type sandals.
no socks, i have that trouble. when i walk its with a little twist to my gait.
when i look down ten minutes later, there they are, hanging out over the front of my sandal, squeezed through the front like a twisted sausage.
so, i dont go out in the snow, unless some kind soul has cleared the path, and i just have to put up with puddles and wet toes.
i dont mind, i dont suffer with any closed shoe syndrome, such as athletes foot. i dont suffer with my toes dislocating any more either, which is a real blessing.
my mother used to have bunions with closed in shoes, but i dont. so another bonus.
people get so upset that i have bare feet all year round, but they dont have my feet do they. its a long story to tell and i cant always be bothered to explain. i just say, its the artist in me, and leave it at that.
but, oh, its so nice to have comfortable feet. big and flat they may be, but worth a millionaires bank balance to have comfort in the pegs region, dont you think.
it is a source of amazement to me though, that two people who are so close as my sister and myself, should be so different in our outlooks.
i am chock full of victorian views and my home reflects the cosiness of that period. my sister? she is so modern, with new trendy colours in paint on her walls and the furniture as up to the minute as her widowed purse will allow.
i brought my children up with my views, and she with hers, but it really doesnt make a whit of difference, as they all survived the manglings of parenthood and grew up to be wonderful people all the same!!!
my childhood was filled with the wonders of radio, and my victorian grandmothers house, filled with dusty sunlight and the usual victorian motifs on the wall, created by her hand, reading the legend 'abide with me' and others.
i also had some wonderful next door neighbours when i lived in the house that we moved to where i stayed till i was seventeen and flew the nest.
they had a dog called laddie which when whistled would take one bound over the garden fence, its copious fur flying in the breeze, and land at my feet for a snuggle. they would also invite me round when they had family there, for a game of tiddlywinks, and brought out some wonderful drinks glasses filled with orange cordial bearing brightly coloured patterns on the side.
so, i know where that particular influence comes from, i have my own drinks glasses with brightly coloured patterns on, and i smile in remembrance of those far off fun hours which made my little life so happy.
i can remember going to the guildford lido when i was a child, with its strange smells and the wonderful fountains. the scratchy hot sensation on my little bare feet of the pavement, and the joy of splashing about in the water.
we sat on the wall containing the fountain or on the grass surrounding
licking at ice lollies.
it was there when i was twelve years old, fifty one years ago, but still as bright in memory as if only yesterday, that i nearly drowned.
i can remember getting in to the water, with my second sister beside me, my older sister already swimming lengths.
my mother sitting on the side watching over her brood. the day was wonderful, the sun was shining, the sky was oh so blue, and i was happy.
i jumped up and down holding on tight for a little while, with not a care in the world, being a child able to enjoy the day with no worries, and then what happened i dont know.
one minute i was there and the next, i was sliding down under the water, the bubbles coming from my mouth and i could see the legs and bodies of the others moving in slow motion around me. i was not afraid, just amazed.
i remained there on the bottom for a little while, until whoosh i went upwards like a sky rocket. the noises which had been muted and slowly fading, became normal and loud and merry once more.
my mother had apparently said, wheres vivien? and my sister said dont know. they both looked round and there was my hair rising and floating upwards in the water. quickly my mother knelt on the concrete and put an arm in the water, and dragged me like some stoneage woman by the hair, to safety.
i survived to tell the watery tale. but still retain the memory. i went on to enjoy the rest of the day, eating sandwiches, licking ice lollies and generally being a child, not wanting to go home.
i love my long hair i have to this day, although it is white and grey and now, but my hair brings the memory this time, and i smile again.
getting a torch for christmas, brings alight a new memory. it meant i could read a lot later into the night, and made the wigwam of my blankets with my back, as i pored over my enid blyton famous fives and secret sevens till late. of course, when parental footing was heard on the stairs, i hurriedly extinguished the light and laid on my side with eyes tightly closed.
sometimes, my elder sister would collect scraps, aided and abetted by our mother, and we would have a midnight feast, probably about half past nine, consisting of little jam sandwiches and odds and ends from the larder, or a few sweets. i went to sleep with a sigh those nights, contented, with a sticky mouth.
nights when i was young were hot, hot hot. i remember having to have the window wide open, and the moths and insects would blunder through and sail out again, after inspecting the human domain. my elder sister would go mad as she was frightened of moths. but to me they were a source of fascination.
those were the days before children decided they had to have their own bedroom. what pleasure can be gained from not having a friendly companion at night. someone to share combing the frosty night sky for father christmas on his sleigh, someone with whom to have confidences with after lights out.
i loved it. when we had my future brother in law move in, my elder sister moved in with us. so there were three of us in that small room. she was a lot older, but i loved it when they tiptoed upstairs to bed, believing us to be asleep and she, nightied up, would climb into her bed.
my sister and myself already ensconced in our bunk beds, made by my father, would then have further whispered opportunities of having a natter with her, before we all fell asleep.
time came when elder one married and i, at the grand age of twelve, moved into the smallest room of the house. it was a strange sensation to be alone at last, but i made it a good one.
occasionally, just because i could, i would change all the furniture round and make it look different. at the end of the day i would go to bed early just to have the sensation of a 'new room' and would sit there in my bedroom like royalty, with my bread and dripping and glass of milk, and feel like a queen.
pictures were never allowed on the wall. but i never minded that, i had the window sill and put my ornaments on there, a large piggy bank, white with a pink nose and a flower design on its back. that i still have and treasure. my eldest sister gave it to me for my tenth birthday.
sometimes i would be ill as a child, and i well remember the stairs creaking with my mothers footsteps as she bore up a light lunch on a tray, with a lovely clean white cloth and dainty things to eat to tempt the invalid. this accompanied by a lovely glass of ribena.
i suppose what i am trying to say of all this, is that memories are important and make us what we are. i treasure my memories as a prized possession and turn them carefully from time to time inspecting each with a loving eye, as someone rich would a picasso or a gold bar.
well they make good stories to tell dont they as well.
1974 was when it happened. id been struggling with lessons
long before then. i then was instructed by my ex-husband, a truck
we had about six divorces during the nightmare of me getting myself au fait with the business of moving a lethal weapon about the roads, without knocking into anyone.
one day there it was in front of me, the day had loomed and was happening.
i felt a little sick, having taken the test twice before and so, up i got that morning, washed and dressed and put on my warpaint and sallied forth to do battle with the driving test man.
it was a fine april morning, lovely to be elsewhere other than the place where i was sitting on cold leather, looking at the ominous figure by the side of me.
i did all the usual things, [we didnt have seat belts then] mirror, signal,
manoeuvre, after id had an eye test of seeing a car registration plate many feet away.
'i want you to.....' and so it went on, i nervously started the engine, i was familiar with its little foibles by now, and i looked right and left and right, and sailed away from the kerb with ease.
we did the hill starts, reversing round corners, and three point turns.
i didnt have one stall, which i was afraid of. i went through the motions crawling into my parking space back into the testing station.
i answered the questions and sat with my breath tucked tight in my chest.
he sat penning his sentences to his paper on the clipboard. i couldnt stand the suspense any more, and he said in his usual grim fashion, giving nothing away from voice, 'well...' 'yes' i said expectantly, 'youve...passed'.
oh, sez me. oh.
he congratulated me, and removed himself from the car. my husband got in the drivers seat as i moved over. well?.....
ive passed. and i cried all the way home. my face was a picture as i looked in the mirror. the mascara had run all the way down my cheeks, but the smile that was there was unmistakeable. it wouldnt move off my face all day.
i went to work, and couldnt wait to get home that evening.
first thing i did after tea, was go out and get in the car, drivers side mind, and
mirror signal manoeuvre and pull away from the kerb. i went for a ride, so conscious of the empty seat beside me, and felt an exhilaration that never left me all these years.
since i first put the pedal to the metal, i have loved the business of driving. i never get road rage, and i remember all the well learned lessons and tips from my ex lorry driver husband. 'now remember, when you are driving,
always look ahead and plan how you are going to cope with the hazards in front', sound advice indeed.
advice i have used not just on the road, but in all of my life.
its a great life on the road, and i just love sitting behind the wheel of my car
and hearing the engine purr as i change gear, and slow for hazards, and speed up on the slip road, as i put my foot down and zoom into seventy miles an hour on the motorway.
i now have a caravan and tow that behind me, its a doddle. only much slower.
driving, bring it on. love it.
and thank you to all those who dont comment, you are valuable too as an unseen audience.
i get real pleasure in sharing my memories with you all.
so thank you very much.
i dug it two spits deep and shovelled horse and sheep manure into each row and covered it lovingly with each spadeful of dirt. i had gone to the stables round the corner, and they willingly and freely, let me take as much as i liked. you are not supposed to take hay with it, but heyho, it came with each forkful, and it didnt matter one whit in the end, it made a wonderfully fruitful garden.
i had previously bought all the accoutrements of gardening, a couple of large plastic bins for compost. also, one red hot summer day i had struggled
balancing precariously, [i am never stable on a ladder] i put up some extra guttering and a downpipe, and installed my prize possession, a water butt.
filling up my bins didnt take long, and when time came for use, there was plenty there for filling the rows of spits.
nicely rotted down compost is a pleasure to the eye as one knows what is going to happen at the other end of the hard toil.
so, the time came, three months later, when all was set fair for sowing the seeds.
i feel i must explain that being disabled, and an utterly determined nature,
i took three months to dig because of my infirmities. as i cant breathe properly, i had to dig a bit, then sit for half an hour to get my breath back. dig a bit more...and so on. i also have arthritis in my right ankle, and that is my 'spade' leg.
i huffed and i puffed my way to victory though. and surely after the top soil had been nicely combed and set, i drilled a little hole and lines for some, laid the first seeds, and went and sat on the garden swing to puff again and feel a sense of achievement.
with a certain amount of sweat on ones brow from hard labours, sitting in the evening breeze looking at ones handiwork, one is allowed to feel a small glow of accomplishment.
some time later, the first shoots showed themselves. ready for action if watered and kept the weeds at bay, well, until they were old enough and strong enough not to have to compete for sunlight and food.
from previously bought peppers, tomatoes and down the depths of a sack of potatoes, i used the seeds, and chitted potatoes to make my own food.
taking the seeds from supermarket buys, i laid them in the earth to grow.
when they had become strong enough, i let the weeds grow, on purpose.
i had learned that the large gaps left by all the nations growers encouraged insects to lay their young in the earth. so, i tried my experiment grew weeds in the gaps, also using anti green/black/white fly plants at intervals.
well, i am delighted to say, the experiment worked on a grand scale.
my cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, marrows, potatoes, and all the other vegetables i grew, were hardly touched by those little feet, and there was nary a nibble at my dinners to be.
i had too much in the way of produce, and made all sorts of things with it.
besides the stuff i put in the freezer, jammed and pickled, i gave many items away. but, oh the joy of going down the garden and seeing it all there.
so, what happened. fate happened. my father fell downstairs during an alzheimers attack, with a mini stroke. living here and them in the great metropolis meant i had to abandon my wonderful garden, hurry to their aid, and give up any hope of very fresh vegetables for the foreseeable future.
it got so there was a jungle down the bottom of the gardens, and no fairies. the weeds taking a liking to the wonderful atmosphere of so much manure, grew to a phenomenal height, and the nettles spread like wildfire.
so, after a miserable soul wrenching decision, i let a friend of mine dig it over and lay it to grass. i was going to saw lawn, but with having doggies, it didnt get to look that smart.
then the woeful days when my doggies got so old they passed away, it came to be the last resting place for all seven. i talk to them when i stroll round the garden these days, i say sorry about walking over your grave, ive just got to hang the washing out, my apologies.
the three remaining use it as a sun bathing spot, and the squirrels dig little holes in the grass to store their nuts, which, seeing i have a hazlenut tree in the garden, simply means there are plenty of items to hide for the winter.
i dont mind at all, i love watching them.
but i do sigh from time to time as i think about the wonderful tasting vegetables i used to have. nothing like home grown food, in all ways. its true what they say, one takes a stroll down the garden path, savouring the evening sun, pick what you want and hurry back and cook them to get the very best from your labours.
nowt like it.
i remember when i lived elsewhere, in herefordshire, and
the countryside woke up to its first rash of car
the nation came out in a body and aired its goods from the rear end of the car, and me, i was there getting my bargains.
ive always been a second hand freak since i was a child. i dont know why i started being thrifty then, maybe it was the post war era i grew up in, but it served me well for the rest of my life.
i got the well earned nickname in my family, second hand rose, justly so.
when i first married, in those days before credit cards, one had to save for what you wanted, or buy second hand.
i went out looking for a second hand bed, spotted one in a large furniture shop, and went in to enquire. it was a large wooden bed head and foot, dark brown, as was the usual colour then, with a comfortable looking ticking mattress, with the regulation amount of little toggles, spaced evenly over the surface.
it was priced at £14 but with a lot of haggling, i got for £2. that was in the beginning. since then ive had some wonderful take homes. recent years i spotted in the dead of winter, a garden three seater swing chair.
boy oh boy, i agonised over that. it was at an absolute knock down price, and i enquired. the cushions were extra, but i got the lot for £25.
you must understand why i agonised. i do not and never have had, a large income. far from it. so every penny is carefully weighed and justified.
it was a dream id always had to have a garden swing. for me, it was a particularly cheap dream and one i would never see the like of again. so, i went for the jugular.
it looks a little down at heel these days, but my word, have i had every pennies worth from it. i just love it. and i still sit there every now and again and take my ease, to gaze at the garden and listen to the birds. sometimes my big doggie jumps up when im not there, and lies back sun bathing and shoots the breeze herself.
sometimes the bargains have been ridiculously cheap. wallpaper at 25p a roll. come on, that has to be a bargain. it was years ago that, when i was taken into leicester. i wandered into this large barn like place, on a sort of very large island in the midst of heavy traffic.
it was cool in there, large, draughty, but oh my, there were hundreds of rolls of wallpapers, differing in quality and price. i shuffled along in a trance.
finally i pounced. there, thats mine. i hauled off my prize, paid and went home victorious with my new bathroom and dining room wallpaper, for an absolute song.
i am just now tearing it off the walls to make way for the new as it has now been there for a little too long, but now, where shall i get the next lot from i wonder.
when im out shopping for anything im on automatic pilot until, angels zero bargain, bargain, bargain, and i veer to the left or the right till i home in on something good.
the gentleman who runs the local secondhand shop in my village, laughs at me, but is also irritated when i come in as i will discuss a bargain, but go away for a while to see if it is still there when i come back a week later.
i haggle away, and then we both sigh with relief as a deal is struck. yesterday it was only eight little pots of high quality jams, and a picnic basket.
smiles all round as i sail out like a stately galleon with my latest finds.
sometimes i go looking round the countryside for free things from nature. when my children were young, we would spread out acorss the fields, picking dandelions well away from the fumes of traffic and doggy walkers.
arriving home, i made dandelion wine which soothed the throat and made the world seem a rosier place, when sipped a few months later. damson wine, anything that would 'wine' i would make it.
cant do it nowadays, but wonderful memories.
i bought a stanley recently. you may ask what is a stanley. well, everyone has probably heard of an aga, well this one was made in ireland and is much more modern. it has a see through cooker door.
im looking forward to cooking on coal this winter. it will heat the central heating for much less than gas, and will make the house toasty warm.
you can burn all your rubbish and heat the house, dry your washing, cook on it, and simply stand and admire it. oh and did i mention, loads of kettles of tea if the spirit moves, and it regularly does.
this was another justifiable bargain. my little friend in the kitchen. so, im off now to grab a summer bargain of cheaper coal.
i cant say my house looks like a palace with the latest modern equipment, but each piece has been lovingly collected and hard won. but, most of all it is comfortable and cosy. i like comfortable and cosy, thats me all over.
so, wipe your feet on the mat and take a seat, ill push the kettle on the hob when you come calling. cupcake anybody? or a piece of apple pie?