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At Home & in the Garden

What about the pleasures of black-leading the grates, and doing your washing on the yard with dolly tub and posser and blue bags? How about changing the gas mantles and fetching the coal up from the cellar? I hasten to add that I haven't quite reached pensionable age, though it is catching up with me very fast, perhaps our neck of the woods really was behind the times.........Jeanagh

I Remember the doses of Paraffin Oil, the weekly bath in front of the kitchen fire in the big galvanized bath that hung up on the outside wall of our back to back in Handsworth.......

if there was one thing that could make me sit all day and listen to Mothers storys, it was the tale about the dolls hospital. How I envied her and how I wish I could have taken my dolls. It seemed like a magical place to me as a child......Andrea

Bath Night - Galvanised bath filled from the copper in the kitchen on a Friday night, I was lucky - being the only girl I got my bath first! Ringlets - Hair I could sit on, my father liked his females to have long hair, had a real fight with him to get it cut short when I was 14 ( I won ). Plaits most of the time but rags to sleep in - torture, for ringlets on special occasions......Hilary

Ah but where did you have your bath? Ours were galvanised tin baths; we had the smaller one our parents the larger didn't see that used though. Filled from the copper and used in the living room, in front of the fire in the winter.....Derrick

I Remember the doses of Paraffin Oil, the weekly bath in front of the kitchen fire in the big galvanized bath that hung up on the outside wall of our back to back in Handsworth, during and just after the 2nd W W. Floating pea shell boats down the gutter during and after rain, Ahh Memories....

My Nan's house was her mother's house before and so nothing had changed from 1935 when they bought the house to 1990 when she died. All the furniture had come from the house in Harborne where they had been from about 1750-1935 so how old some of it was, I will never know. My Mom let a house clearance man in when Nan died and he must have thought it was his lucky day. A hundred quid for the lot. Nearly three hundred years of family history gone in one day !!!!!
She had a best room. I always remember hundreds of miniature bottles on a shelf. She also crocheted bottle covers. The glass cabinet was full of all sorts of lovely old crocks. There was an outside toilet which smelt of jays bleach and it was so cold your parts went numb on contact with the elements.
There were always herbs in the garden and peas growing. It was my job to shell the peas and cut up the mint for sauce on an old wooden chopping board.
Her pantry was an Aladdinís cave. Always full of pots of jam, carefully labelled with the name and a little greaseproof paper lid. Cakes baked and put in tins. The Xmas cake sitting there from about September onwards being laced with sherry every week. Then on the floor was my favourite. Masons Dandelion and Burdock. I used to sneak in for a swig and put my finger in the jam too.
Friday was always bath night and out would come the iron tub on the kitchen floor. Then four kettles being boiled at a time to fill it up. Much more fun than my boring bath at home with taps.....Andrea

The black - leaded grate in the living room. Talking of which - how often did the chimney (or chimley as we used to call it) catch fire?.Salt was thrown on the fire and the smoke changed from black to white and we all had to evacuate the house and watch the chimney until the smoke ceased.
We only had a Living Room and a Kitchen. Off the kitchen was the bathroom, with no heating and only had hot water when the boiler was heated up. The pantry / larder with a stone slab to keep things cool (no fridges in those days) and next to the bathroom was the coal hole. This would certainly not go down well with todays Health and Hygiene standards as the coalman had to carry the sacks of coal through the kitchen when he made his delivery. The toilet was next to the kitchen and you had to go out of the back door to access it.
The front room was not exactly big but in it we had settee, 3 armchairs, a table with 4 dining chairs, an extra chair for the dog by the "cubby hole" under the stairs (which held coats numerous pairs of shoes and the Gas Meter), a piano, an organ, a pedal sewing machine in the window with an Aspidistra in a pot on top and later an additional small high table on which sat the back and white TV. Rag rug in front of the fireplace.
I think my main playing area indoors was under the table but I was mainly outdoors. There was an enormous picture over the piano of a woman lying in a cave with a skull - very dark colours, mainly greens I think. When you are under 7 you don't have much Art appreciation ! Anyone any idea what this would be? You can be sure it wasn't an original. This was my grandparent's house with whom we lived until I was 7. My Mom's sister also lived there.
Talking of knitting, my Nan could knit so quick that the needles were just a blur. I could sit and watch her for hours.......Andrea

Did anyone else have to endure an uncomfortable night with your hair tied up in rags to produce ringlets the following morning? (Don't answer this lads, we don't want to know , or maybe we do?). -I'm sure that couldn't have been my idea - What was my Mom playing at?......Mary

Like mine-she thought it would beautify us--some hope-especially- when you had a Mason Pearson hairbrush-on your backside-as well as for hairbrushing-AND the horror of the nit comb in that long hair-UGH!.......Jean

My mom used to put mine in plaits at night to try and "bend" my very straight, long hair. Then she would scrape it back in ponytail for school so "I wouldnít get nits". My elder brother used to say " Mother, Jill's pony tail is too tight she is looking surprised all the time!!!" My fourteen year old could not believe that before we had a shower in the 80's you had to wash your hair in the Kitchen sink with someone to pour a jug of water to rinse it or else wash it in the bath. When we lived in the shop at Aston we had a tin bath and heaven help you if dad filled it, it would scald you so it looked like you were wearing red ankle socks and you would cry because he wanted you to hurry up and sit down!......Jill
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Original page Created by Pickard Trepess . Maintained by dcdudley Revised: 12 August 2001
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