Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Things I remember

Things I remember that don’t happen nowadays – at least not to me!

Taking a can to the hardware store to get it filled with paraffin for the paraffin heather.

The rag and bone man with his horse and cart and later just a handcart coming down the road shouting ‘Any Old Iron’ though it sounded like ‘Neeien’ . The shout and clip clop of the horse’s hooves are probably the most evocative sound of the road in the 1950s. By the time the 1960s came the horses had disappeared and vans from Hunter’s Handy Hams hurtled down the road at great speed to the real annoyance of the residents.

Elasticated belts of red and green stripes with an s-shaped metal snake clip.

The knife sharpener wheeling his bicycle to the door to sharpen Dad’s shears.

The black burned bits on the top of a rice pudding floating around one’s bowl in a most off-putting manner.

The chimney sweep (Mr Downs) with all his brushes on his bike. Putting a great dustsheet over the fireplace and slowly feeding his brush through, screwing each successive section onto the handle.

We didn't have school trips from prep school - the furthest we went was occasionally across the road to King George V playing fields where a grumpy groundsman would watch the girls tucking their skirts up into their knickers and rolling down the hill or making daisy chains. I can't recall what we boys did (apart from watching the girls!) - I suppose it was catching a tennis ball or handstands or something, we weren't allowed to kick a football there.

Mr Judson driving his Morris Traveller up to the gate and unloading the groceries on the rare occasions we had them delivered.

The fish van coming around and the neighbours looking in the back to choose some fresh fish. I can’t recall Mum ever buying from him.

Standing around, hopping from one foot to the other, as Mum talked to some neighbour or other on the way to the shops.

Being caned by Miss Twomey who had a strong right arm and used it to good effect. She also used a thick cane which bruised your hand and made it throb. Mr Illingworth - who only caned me once - used a thin whippy cane that momentarily stung but the pain of which was gone in a few minutes.

Mum working from home doing jobs like making hares for the race track. Her boss would drop off wire frames and loads of calico and she would sew the hares. Special occasions demanded posh hares and these were of a gold plush material which was awful to sew because it kept slipping.

The attic room at Nana’s with thousands of locks and keys from Grandpa's case-making days.

When a horse (presumably pulling the coal cart, milk cart or rag and bone cart) deposited its droppings outside our house one time Dad went out with a brush and shovel to get the manure for his roses.

Fish and chips served in newspaper.

Sugar butties with plenty of butter – how’s that for healthy eating! (I should point out they were an exceptional treat!)


  1. I'd be hard pressed to come up with such a list because my memory is terrible. However I recall Mr Judson when he had a beige Ford Prefect and delivered groceries every Thursday evening.

    Things are returning to me. Perhaps....

  2. Please explain a sugar buttie. Surely Father this wasn't just buttercream in a sandwich - yuck! Although perhaps the bread then had less salt in it making it more appetising?

  3. Bread (white) with butter lavishly spread on it and then sugar sprinkled on top!
    (Nowadays, apart from the fact that I don't eat sugar butties, I control my own amount of salt in bread because I make my own.)

  4. Oh those sugar butties! they were divine.

    Lovely memories for me too.

    Love Granny