Saturday, 21 January 2017

Fish and Chips,Tin Baths and Yorkshire Pudds at Our Ciss's.

   If life at Froggie Road with my sister Beatrice was free and easy,[for us children anyway], at 73, Regent Avenue with my eldest sister Sarah, [known to us all as Ciss or Cissie], most of the time it was all systems go.
   Ciss was very rarely still. Even when she sat down for a while she was either knitting, sewing or crocheting. No lazing in bed in the mornings; it was always, "Come along you girls, time to get moving", and move we did.
   Ciss had a very positive nature; full of vitality she seemed never to be in any doubt as to what we should do and what was good for us. She was like a jolly games mistress, bowling us along and we, unable to resist her enthusiasm, complied willingly. Whatever Ciss did she gave it everything, no half measures and she expected the rest of us to do the same.
She saw the funny side of everything. Her wit was sharp and she picked up on things we said and did which she found amusing and she was quick to make fun of them, but never in an unkind or malicious way.She had the gift of making us laugh at ourselves and not mind: probably because she was as quick to make fun of herself too.
   By the time I was born Ciss and Arthur were already married and had a baby daughter, another Barbara, [ who, to avoid confusion with my sister Barbara was referred to as Barbara B. or little Barbara ]. Ciss and Arthur both worked long hours in the family fish and chip shop on Westmorland Street in High Harrogate, along with Arthur's brother, Herbert and his wife, Mary.
  Brent's fish and chips were famous for miles around. The shop had previously belonged to Arthur's parents and they and their sons had lived over the premises.
Mrs. Brent senior employed a maid. When Ciss and Arthur married, Ciss joined the family over the shop and Mrs Brent sacked the maid. Apparently Ciss was to take her place, unpaid, while Mrs Brent, who did not work in the shop, lived the life of a lady.
   Ciss was a willing worker but she did not take kindly to being regarded as a servant. She stuck it out however until after Barbara was born then, one day, she turned up at our house on Stockwell Avenue with a suitcase and Barbara, who was then about a year old and said that she had come home for a while, if that was alright with Mum. Mum wanted to know if it was alright with Arthur.
   Assured by Ciss that it was Arthur who had suggested she come home until he had found a house for them, Mum was perfectly happy for Ciss and Babara to stay  and that is how Ciss, Arthur and Barbara came to be living at  73, Regent Avenue, Harrogate, just a few minutes walk from the fish shop.  Ciss still helped in the fish shop every day, taking Barbara with her but now she had her own home to return to. Although it was only a two up and two down terrace house with no bathroom and an outside "lav", they loved it and so did we. They stayed there for almost forty years and would never have moved if circumstances had not changed.
   Their sister- in- law, Mary died and Herbert wanted to retire and take his  share of the business and so it was sold. It changed hands a couple of times over the years and a long time afterwards I saw it advertised for sale again with the caption,"Formerly Brent's", which tells you how famous their fish and chips were.      

Meanwhile, we were often at Ciss and Arthur's, with Mum and Dad when we were small; then as we grew older Barbara and I spent weekends there, to keep Barbara B company. Mostly it was just me as my sister was three years our senior and had friends of her own age. We were trusted to be on our own while Ciss and Arthur were at the shop, though Mrs. Chapman, the next door neighbour kept an eye on us.
   Mrs. Chapman was a tiny little woman due to being asthmatic from childhood. There was no recognised treatment at that time.She and Mr. Chapman had one son, Peter, the apple of their eye. Ciss told us that  there were times during the night when Mrs. C. was having an asthma attack that Mr. C had to carry her to an open window to help her to breathe. I'd look at Mrs. C. with awe and wonder how she managed to stay so happy and cheerful. She was a sweet little lady.
   Barbara B. was accustomed to being on her own but for me it was a novel and quite heady experience. We came and went as we pleased, roaming the neighbourhood freely, venturing beyond the bottom of the street, over the railway bridge to the 'Airy Mountains' where we raced madly up and down the tussocky dunes chanting; "Up the Airy Mountains, Down the rushy glen, We daren't go a'hunting for fear of little men. Wee folk, odd folk, trooping all together.  Green jacket, red cap and white owl's   feather". Then, tired out we made our way back home to sit and read or play board games.
   Ciss loved nice clothes. On cold or rainy days we raided her wardrobe, dressing up in her hats, frocks and shoes and parading around as fine ladies calling in for afternoon tea. We made sure everything went back exactly as before as Ciss kept her house and everything in it in perfect order.
   Around mid-day when it was time for dinner, we walked up to the shop for fish and chips and took them to eat back at home along with a large bottle of Tizer as a special treat. After the lunchtime trade the shop closed for a few hours and Ciss came home to catch up on housework and prepare tea. Sometimes we walked up to meet her and on the way home we called in on Mr. Thackeray, the butcher, to buy a joint of meat for Sunday dinner. Everyone liked Ciss with her lively wit and humour. Mr. Thackeray was no exception. His eyes lit up when Ciss walked in his shop. Jokes and good natured banter flew between the two of them while we stood by enjoying the show.
   Back at Regent Avenue Barbara and I set up the drop leaf table for tea. With both leaves up the table took up most of the sitting room, there was just enough room for the chairs  Arthur came home for tea and then it was back to the shop for both of them for the evening trade. We got ourselves off to bed more or less when it was time, with Mrs, C. popping in to see that we were alright.

   I didn't very often have a bath at Regent Avenue as I did not stay long enough. Bathing was not a daily occurrence even if you had a bathroom. We had no central heating or immersion heater. At home our water was heated via a small back boiler behind the open fire. A large cistern of water took a long time to heat so in between baths we made do with strip down washes. At Ciss and Arthur's, bathing took place in a long tin bath in the kitchen. A gas clothes boiler stood next to the sink, under the draining board, [which was lifted off when the boiler was in use].  Once a week water was heated in the boiler and the tin bath was carried in from the shed in the back yard. Fortunately, the rim of the bath just fitted under the outlet tap on the boiler so the bath could be filled directly from the boiler. If I did happen be at Ciss's when a bath was deemed desirable, Barbara and I got in together and had our bath first and, after a top up of hot water Ciss followed suit. Afterwards, dressed again and all squeaky clean, we ladled the water a panful at a time, down the sink. As the water got lower one of us had to tip the bath up on one end, a rather risky manoeuvre but one that we enjoyed as the bath wobbled about and someone was in danger of getting wet.
Out in the back yard, the dregs were tipped as close to the drain as we could get, the bath was dried with clean cloths and carried back to the shed where it hung on two hooks until it's next outing. All this seemed like great fun to us, just as today, children have fun in outdoor paddling pools. We didn't think of it as work.

   On Sundays when the fish shop was closed Ciss cooked a roast dinner. In a family of good cooks my sister Sarah was outstanding. She seemed to have a magic touch.
With very little effort she turned out sponge cakes which almost floated on air; her pastry was light as a feather, and we couldn't get enough of her rich, tasty stews with dumplings floating on the top and meat and potato pies topped with a thick, light, crispy suet crust. But best of all were her Yorkshire Puddings. They were Divine. Baked in large oblong tins, the outside edges rose up the sides, perfectly browned and crispy while the centre was light and fluffy and melted in the mouth. Cut into squares and piled high, they were served on their own with lashings of rich, meaty gravy. To me it was Angel food, fit for the Gods.
 Nowadays we have Yorkshire Pudding buns served with the meat and veg and   while I still enjoy them, such as they are, they cannot compare with the ones our Ciss used to make. I dream of them still.


           I don't have any photo's of Barbara B. and me together as children but here we are as fourteen year olds, at 28 Park Crest with Ciss and David, peering through the window. Not forgeting Rascal, Barbara's dog, sitting on the window sill between us.

  Ciss, Arthur and Barbara came to our house for tea every Sunday. On fine sunny days instead of taking the bus we walked the four odd miles to Knaresborough through the fields. The way led through the "Airy Mountains" to the open fields, by- passed Starbeck and came out above Bilton Fields, across the river from  Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough. Then it was a short walk alongside the river, over High Bridge and up the hill into town and home.
  Sunday tea was as special as Sunday dinner. Mum sliced up the cold remains of that day's  joint and sometimes there was a large pork pie from Holche's Pork Butchers, cut into wedges. A couple of homegrown lettuce with dark green outer leaves and pale, lemon-y hearts were taken apart, washed and placed in a clean tea towel to be taken out in the yard and, making sure that a tight hold was kept on the four corners, the tea towel with the wet lettuce inside it was whirled round and round, forcing water out in a shining arc.  Piled in a large glass bowl the lettuce was topped with radishes, sliced spring onions, quartered tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. Shallow dishes of thinly sliced cucumber and onions in slightly watered down vinegar added flavour along with pickled onions, beetroot and piccalilli. Scrubbed stalks of celery, [ large ones cut in half ], stood in a glass jug in the middle of the table. We dipped the end of the stalk in a little pile of salt and chewed away happily and of-course there was a great plateful of bread and butter. If we had unexpected guests we children were instructed to eat plenty of it so that the rest of the food would go round.

   Cakes of some sort followed the salad, butterfly buns or sponge cake, fruit pies and squares of pastie, filled with jam, dates or currants, [ whatever was to hand ] freshly baked that morning while the oven was going. Topping it all off came tinned fruit, pears or pineapple and more often than not a dollop of Mr Dove's ice cream.I think it was no coincidence that Mr Dove, who with his wife, ran a small tearoom and bakery at the bottom of Briggate and who also made his own ice cream, just happened to be in our neighbourhood as we were finishing our tea. We children were sent off to Mr Dove with a large bowl as there was always at least ten of us to feed. Mr Dove was pleased as it practically cleaned him out and saved him from pushing his barrow any further. Arthur B. bought the ice cream. It was his treat, however many people were there and very often we had unexpected guests. Uncles, aunts and cousins, over on the bus from Brighouse, were welcomed and found a place at the table. One of us was sent running to our allotment over the road to pull another lettuce and a large tin of salmon or tinned meat was opened.
   When there were too many of us to fit around the table in the front room we "younger end" ate our tea sitting  around the kitchen table, an arrangement that suited us very well. Free from adult supervision we larked around, laughed and giggled more than we were normaly allowed to do at the table.

   Sunday teas in Summer continued pretty much the same for years, even after we were all grown up and married with children of our own but the ones of my childhood remain with me in their bright, joyful, carefree innocence, cocooned in the midst of my loving family.    

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Last Christmas Stocking.

   It was Chrismas Eve, almost my bedtime, all was ready for Christmas Day. Our most favourite Aunt, Mum's sister Annie and Uncle George had arrived to spend Christmas with us, as they did every year. Uncle George had brought an enormous chicken all ready for the oven. He had been fattening it up for months and now it sat in the pantry alongside a leg of pork. Already I could smell the wonderful, rich aroma of roasting pork and chicken.
   The men had gone to the Castle Inn, Dad's local,run by Arthur Day and his wife, for a Christmas pint; Mum, Aunt Annie, my brothers and sister and I had hung up the coloured paper chains we had been making for the past three days and the Christmas tree stood, resplendent with it's shiny baubles, tinsel and chocolate snowmen.
   As the youngest member of the family I was the only one now who hung up a Christmas stocking, [ well, actually, one of Dad's socks ], and now it was time.
"Can I have my sock to hang up Mum", I asked. There was a pause.
"Oh, er, well! er! We thought you would feel too old now Eileen,to hang up a stocking. Don't you think you are a bit big now?"
   The words hit me like a terrible blow. Too big? too old? I was always being told-- no, you can't do that, you are too young.-- now, suddenly, when it really matters, I am too old! And to spring it on me on Christmas Eve. Bitterly disappointed I could not speak. The whole room had gone quiet, everyone was looking at me. I stood for some moments taking in the, to me, shattering words, then turned and trudged despondently up to bed, the magic of Christmas suddenly dimmed.
   As I lay curled up in my bed I consoled myself with  the thought that there would be other presents for me to open but still, the Christmas stocking had always come first, always. I was still awake when a knock came on my door and my brother Laurence poked his head around. "Never mind, Eileen", he said. "Maybe Santa will change his mind, you never know", and with that, I did what I thought would be impossible, I fell asleep.
  The next thing I knew it was very early Christmas morning. As I opened my eyes in the dim light I saw a dark shape on the pillow, beside my head. I put up a hand and touched it. Was it? could it be? I leapt out of bed and switched on the light and wonder of wonders, there was my Christmas stocking, bulging with little mysteries.
   Back in bed, warm and cosy, happy and excited, I delved into it's contents and it did not disappoint. A hairslide, a comb and a tiny mirror, a bag of boiled sweets, some colouring pencils, a lace edged hankie, an apple, a tangerine and, wrapped in tissue paper and tucked into the toe, a sixpenny piece, burnished and polished until it shone like a star There was one more special present. Beatrice, my older married sister, had happened to be at our house the previous evening and witnessed the no stocking drama. While the rest of the family rallied round to see what they could get together she dashed home to Frogmire Road, finished off a pixie bonnet she had been knitting for me and brought it back, so that it, too, could go in my stocking. She made three journeys, on foot, between our two houses, on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. It was ten o'clock that night before she was back in her own home.
   I shall never forget my last Christmas stocking and all the love that went into it, all for a little sister who wasn't quite ready to grow up.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Fun and Games at Froggie Road

   Althea and I were in the same class at school and several times a week I went home with her after school. I did nip home to let my mother know on those days. It was one of her rules that we always called home first after school. Then off we dashed down to 'Froggie' Road, past the stock well, the school, the workhouse, over the railway bridge to the gate onto the cinder path that ran between the railway lines and the allotments and on to Frogmire Road. We rarely walked on the path. Instead we clambered up onto the fence bordering the allotments and, arms outstretched on either side for balance, we made our precarious way along the top rail to the end of the path. We became so adept that we could almost run along. I don't remember ever falling off.

   Beatrice and Bill lived in an end house with a large garden on three sides. The railway lay just beyond the bottom of the garden and whenever a train steamed by we stood on the garden rails, waving to the passengers who smiled and waved back to us; just as in the famous book, 'The Railway Children.' On fine days we played out with with other neighbourhood children and when the weather was bad we played table tennis on the dining room table with the leaves pulled out, or cards and board games. The table tennis always started off quite seriously, but before long we got carried away and the ball went flying all around the room until the game became more like outdoor tennis.
There was one wonderful toy which took pride of place in the bedroom where Althea and Mavis slept. Dad and Bill had at one time done some painting and decorating at Conyngham Hall which was then owned by Sir Harold Macintosh. One of the toys that the Macintosh children had played with was an exact replica of an open top automobile. It was huge and seated four children. There was even a luggage box on the back and large headlamps on the front.

   On hearing that Bill had young children Sir Harold gave the car to him. Something was wrong with the workings and the car would not move, it was parked, in all it's splendour, in the bedroom; Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang minus wings.  That didn't deter us, we took off on the wings of imagination. Oh! the outings we had in that car, taking turns to drive. Up and down leafy lanes, pausing by a rippling stream for a picnic of Shipham's salmon paste sandwiches; trips to Scarborough, buckets and spades and 'cossies' packed in the luggage box or off  to see Grandma and Aunt Annie at Brighouse.


    Althea on the right and me, in Grandma's garden at Brighouse.  This time we travelled there by bus, which in those days was every bit exciting to us.

   Beatrice was easy going and great fun. One particular Sunday, after I had stayed overnight we woke up to pouring rain. It was coming down in sheets with no sign of letting up. It was wartime and Bill was away fighting for King and Country, so there was only Beatrice and the four of us children. She suggested that it would be fun to have breakfast in bed with her, there was room for all of us. We thought this a great idea, so using a piece of board for a table in the middle of the bed, we took cereal, toast, jam, tea, books, magazines and games upstairs and snuggled around our table. Legs tucked under the covers with thick cardigans and woollies to keep our upper halves warm, we stayed there all morning, reading, chatting  and playing board games.

   Dinner time came with the rain still pouring down so we had beans on toast in bed and stayed there all afternoon too. It was an unforgettable day. Never before had I lazed about in bed all day unless I was ill. It wasn't until years later that I realised how canny Beatrice was. She had an ulterior motive; by keeping us all warm and cosy in bed she was saving precious coal and money. Both of which were in short supply.

 Beatrice was exceptional in many ways. She had excelled at school, gaining a scholarship to the Grammar school and the full uniform that was awarded to the scholar with the highest marks. Sadly, she had to turn it down and go out to work as the family needed her wages, little as they were. She worked as a waitress at Miss Clarkson's Bakery and Tea Shop in the Market Place.

   It saddened Mum and Dad that Beatrice could not take advantage of furthering her education, as she deserved to, but times were hard and as a painter and decorator, Dad was out of work every winter when snow lay heavy on the ground and there was no outside work to be had. But! Intelligence and wit never go to waste, and Beatrice's keen intellect stood her in good stead as she applied it to all aspects of her life. She was a lovely person to be with; there was a gentleness about her while at the same time an inner strength. Clever and witty, she was also kind and compassionate, always ready to help anyone in need, sharing whatever she had, [which at times was not a great deal], unstintingly.
At some time Bill's Dad came to live with them. He sat in his chair by the fireside; silent and still, seemingly oblivious to everything going on around him. With his jet black hair, wary brown eyes and wrinkled, nut brown skin, Grandad Watson was a true Romany. I often wondered if, as he sat there, caught between four walls, he was dreaming of the open road and rabbits roasting over an open fire.
Then suddenly, one day, he was gone. His chair stood empty, yet his brooding presence lingered on for quite some time.
Beatrice had lots of friends and when one of them, Rosie, hit a bad patch and Beatrice took her in. Rosie was pregnant, no home, no job and no one to turn to. She was a sweet person who had made  some wrong decisions and was sorely in need of help. Fortunately, she had a truly good friend in my sister. Rosie stayed with Beatrice and Bill until after her baby was born and she was back on her feet again. When she left she gave Beatrice the only thing of value she possessed; a Singer sewing machine which my sister put to good use. Life turned out alright for Rosie in the end. She met another chap, got married and got a job as a bus conductress. I often used to meet her when I travelled to and from Harrogate on the bus.
 When the war ended, Beatrice and Bill shared their home once more with my brother Arthur, his wife Irene and their small daughter, Marlene. Housing was in desperately short supply and young couples had to bunk in with relatives while they waited to get on the council waiting list or found somewhere to rent, which was well nigh impossible. The council were building houses as fast as they could but it was a lengthy process.

   At one point the  bedroom  wall between the two couple's rooms developed a huge crack in it and it became a nightly ritual for Bill and Arthur to shake hands through the opening and say 'Goodnight Bill', 'Goodnight Arthur'. No one seemed to be too fazed about the crack and I suppose it was repaired in due course.  I know the two families got on very well and had a lot of fun together.


   Arthur and Irene finally got a council house of their own but not until they had a second child, Michael.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Goings On At Home.

    Mum and dad did not go in for a lot of hugging and kissing but we knew that we were the most valued part of their lives and this gave us a wonderful sense of security.

     My mother was walking home from shopping one day surrounded by children when she met a woman who said, ' Ee! I'm sorry for you missus, all those children to feed and clothe.' To which my mother replied, "Don't waste your time feeling sorry for me; these children are my jewels.'

     Of course there were the usual family squabbles and arguments among us. Barbara and I were the two youngest in the family, Barbara being the elder by three years. We shared almost everything, including the smallest bedroom and a three quarter bed which just fitted from one wall to under the window on the opposite side. There was a space the width of the door and in the corner stood a small chest of drawers. Our few items of clothes which needed hanging up went in mum and dad's wardrobe.

   We fought a lot. We rarely went to sleep without a fight. Barbara's weapons  were words. She tormented me unmercifully and would not stop until she had provoked the desired reaction from me; a fit of blind rage. I am ashamed to say that I resorted to violence and thumped her. She was satisfied then, having successfully manipulated me. She never retaliated in kind, just curled into a ball so all the blows landed on her back. She knew I would not like myself afterwards.

  One night we were having a particularly lengthy, noisy fight. Mum had called up several times to tell us to be quiet and finally she came upstairs with a hair brush to give us a whack, [for only the second time in my life!] The brush had wire bristles. Mum meant to use the flat side but somehow the brush came bristle side down on our bare bottoms leaving large ovals of pinholes. We were all shocked, mum not the least of us, however, she simply said, 'There you are! Now will you behave and get off to sleep?'

    Barbara and I were instantly united, friends again. 'Look what she's done to us!' We compared puncture marks and tried to count the number of pinholes. Were we mentally and physically scarred for life? Not a bit; the whole episode became a family joke, a - 'do you remember when' - moment.

   Another time Barbara and I were in the bath together and the usual baiting was going on. This time however, I happened to be chewing a huge wodge of black bubble gum. I'd been chewing it for a long time and it was good and sticky. Without thinking, I took it out of my mouth and clapped it right in the middle of Barbara's long, thick,, shiny fringe. It was impossible to remove. Mum had to cut the middle of the fringe off, leaving a large gap with short bristly hairs sticking out along the hairline.

   It took weeks to grow back and my sister had to take an awful lot of ribbing at school. I got a good telling off but it was worth it. Every time I looked at Barbara I was filled with a most satisfying, [only slightly guilty,] feeling of satisfaction at having got my own back so spectacularly and I was more than a bit sorry when Barbara's fringe regained it's former glory. My sister was more careful around me after that.

    In spite of the fights we had fun together too. We loved singing and dancing to music on the wireless We harmonised on all the popular songs of the day and the Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald duets from their films. Barbara was Nelson Eddy as her voice was deeper than mine.
   On the nights when we didn't fight we were partners in mischief. We lived on Park Crest, Bobby and Bish Spence lived on Park Row. Our bedroom windows were directly opposite with only a small back yard, a fence and narrow path separating the backs of the houses. Bobby and Bish went to bed at the same time as we did. Instead of getting off to sleep the four of us would be up at our bedroom windows laughing and chatting across the intervening space.

   Only the top portion of our window opened so Barbara and I had to stand on the end of our bed in order to carry on a conversation. The boy's bedroom must have been as small as ours as their iron bed frame went across the window, which was quite narrow. The boys knelt at the end of their bed, crammed into the small space;, window wide open, leaning out over the bed frame.

   We were having a jolly time one night when suddenly, Mrs Spence loomed up behind the boys, lifted their nightshirts and gave their bottoms a good hard smack. Barbara and I collapsed on the bed in fits of giggles, in between peeking out of the window to see what was going on across the way. Mrs Spence glared over at us as she slammed the window shut and whisked the curtain across. She would have dearly liked to give our bottoms a smack too.

 The bond which formed between we two sisters as we were growing up grew deeper and stronger over the years. We still had the occasional fall out but thankfully, I learnt to control myself a little better and did not rise to the bait so easily. I also learnt how to retaliate in kind, with words instead of blows, so teasing me wasn't much fun anymore.  Our differences didn't matter, they soon blew over and were far out-weighed by the fun and the good times. Life was never dull with Barbara around. Beautiful, vivacious, highly intelligent and talented in so many ways, she grew to be a woman of generous spirit and a staunch and loving heart.

   She married a handsome Canadian airman during the war and made her home there for over seventy years. There have been many visits back and forth. When we could no longer visit, we had frequent, hour-long conversations on the phone, still sharing our lives, A friend of Barbara's once said that we sisters were the two sides of the same coin. She was absolutely right.

Eileen, [me].             Barbara.

All done up for my brother-in-law, Bob's, school reunion dinner dance, during my first visit to Canada. I was forty five years old, Barbara, forty eight. Each of us by then, mother to six children.
The top I am wearing was one I knitted myself from gold lamé yarn!


   There were also the odd times when mum and dad had a 'set to'. My mother was almost always calm. She used to tell me,- if you lose your temper, you've lost the argument - a valuable piece of advice which I found impossible to follow at that time.   Dad liked an argument and occasionally started one on purpose and needled away at mum until her calm demeanour gave way and she took action. I once saw her throw a bowl of washing up water over dad, saying, 'There now Joe! Are you satisfied? That's what you wanted Isn't it?' Dad had to change his clothes and mum was furious with herself for giving way; on top of which she had to mop up all the water.

   Another time, [still at the kitchen sink], she wordlessly threw a soapy scrubbing brush at dad just as he was turning away. The brush left a perfect shape of soapsuds on the satin back of his waistcoat. I can see it still. Mum said that dad enjoyed seeing her lose her calm and goaded her on purpose. I think she was right as I noticed that dad had an air of sheepish satisfaction about him as he took himself off.

  Mum and dad never screamed or shouted at each other or at us. Mum didn't need to, all it took from her was a certain look and a stern reprimand. The feeling that we had disappointed her was enough.

There were times when, if things were not quite going my way, I would throw a wobbly, give way to a temper tantrum and as a consequence be sent to bed. In those days being sent to bed was a punishment, there were no computers, TV or mobile phones with which to amuse ourselves in our bedrooms.

   Banished from the rest of the family, on my own, my bad temper soon evaporated leaving me full of remorse at my behaviour towards my Mother. Then I sobbed piteously and loudly so that mum would hear me and eventually come upstairs.  In between gulping, gasping sobs I'd say, 'Sorry Mum', and then she cuddled me and stroked my hair and spoke softly to me and all was well with my world once more.

Until the next time! when, in a huff, I would leave home and go to my sister Beatrice. She, her husband Bill, their children, Althea, Mavis  and Alan,  lived ten minutes walk away on Frogmire Road. Beatrice was the second eldest in my family and as I was the youngest there was a big age gap between us. I was close in age to my nieces and nephew and we spent a lot of time together. The house on Frogmire Road was my second home where I was always sure of a loving welcome.

  "Have you had your tea? no?, sit down then, we are just going to have ours", Beatrice would say. Afterwards,we children played games and if it got late Beatrice put me to bed with Althea and Mavis where we larked about before going to sleep. For a nightie, I wore one of Bill's white dress shirts with a pleated front. Bill had worked at Blenkhorn's boatyard and dance hall when he and Beatrice first met. He worked with the boats during the day and in the dance hall at night, looking very smart in a dinner suit, white dress shirt and black bow tie.

  The job did not pay much and after he and Beatrice were married my dad soon had Bill in the painting and decorating trade with him. The white dress shirts were no longer required and served as spare nighties as needed. It was quite the 'poshest' nightie I had ever worn.

Mum's brother Uncle Sam and Dad on the back row. Mum on the front row, hanging on to Alan, Mavis, my Grandma, Beatrice and Althea.
  Taken in the Castle Yard, Knaresborough.  


Mum never worried about me going off, she knew where I would be and that I would be back next day, right as rain. The only time she stopped me was when I  stormed off one night in my nightgown. One of the boys was sent after me to bring me safely back home.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Homes: Sweet and Not so Sweet - 'Twenty Eight Park Crest'

Mother at 28 Park Crest 1970s

 Flitting  from one house to another on a bright, sunny day was very exciting and great fun for me.
Mr Collins came with his horse and cart early in the morning and moved our furniture. There was no great distance between the two houses, about a five minute walk, which was a good thing as it took  several journeys to and fro before the move was completed. I was delighted as I was allowed to ride on the cart.     At one point Mother's sideboard, [her pride and joy], was resting on the path in front of the window of the new house awaiting its turn to be moved indoors. It had a long shiny top, the result of countless, vigorous applications of Mansion House Furniture Polish, lovingly applied.

It was just perfect for a naughty little girl to slide backwards and forwards on, laying on her stomach: the activity I was happily engaged upon when a face appeared, peering at me through the bars of the gate. It belonged to a little boy from the top of the street, come down to see what was going on. He was a handsome boy with rosy cheeks, brown eyes and
curly brown hair. We exchanged names and other bits of   information and then he went back home. The next school morning he was waiting for me at the gate to walk me to school. He was my first friend on Park Crest and continued to call for me for a long time until we grew older and he was in danger of being laughed at by the other boys.

Mother and Grandma; Sarah Mitton Parker, early days at 28 Park Crest 
 Small as it was, we loved our brand new house and cheerfully squeezed in. We still found room for all our usual visitors. 'Personal Space' was an unknown concept to us and anyway, who would have wanted it?  We liked to be in the thick of things. Our visitors were accommodated one way or another. We 'younger end' slept three to a bed, men and boys shared the big bedroom and ladies the medium one. A fold-up bed was brought out and a li-lo. Whoever got the Li-lo had drawn the short straw as it had a slow leak and needed mouth to mouth resuscitation in the early hours of the morning.  It was patched up eventually but not before I had taken a few turns on it.                                                                                                                                                                                            




         .                                                  .
Eric and Frank Pullan; Best Mates
Eric, Barbara and Frank. 1939


Photos taken in the back yard at Park Crest with Frank's new, Brownie box camera.

We were a happy household although there were the usual family squabbles, arguments and falling out but they never lasted long. Everyone who came to our house was made welcome. We had many friends who came and went continuously and during the second world war they included young service men whom we met at the Town Hall dances. The Canadian Airforce boys who were stationed at Allerton Park particularly enjoyed spending time with us. Being so far away from home it was a treat for them to share in family life for a while. Barbara ended up marrying one of them.

Bob and Barbara on their wedding day.

Handsome Bob Guest from British Columbia. She met him at the Town Hall dance and brought him home and that was that.
Bob wasn't quite twenty one so they had to wait before permission for him to marry could be granted by his commanding officer. Bob also
had to have his parent's permission.
They married just as the war ended and Bob lived with us until he was repatriated. As a married man he was allowed a pass out so he came
home to us each evening and travelled back to Allerton Park on  an air-force truck each morning.  Bob and his pals spent most of their off duty time at our house. Lovely
young men, we had such fun.

Irene in her nurses uniform
 With my five brothers and two brothers-in-law in the army, fighting in various sectors of the war, we were all of us, but Mum and Dad  in particular, in constant fear for their safety. I think it helped my parents to have those young service men around: "Other Mother's sons", as Mum referred to them.  The boys certainly thought the world of Mum and Dad; although a house full of good looking girls and young women didn't come amiss either.  As well as Barbara and myself there were our two nieces, Barbara B. and Althea, [one a bit older and one a bit younger than myself,] my brother Arthur's fiance, Irene and her friend Moira.

They were nurses at Scotton Banks Sanatorium and they also spent their free time with us, and then there were our friends too. My Mother made it quite clear from the start, however, that there was to be no "hanky panky" and there never was, just lots of singing and dancing and laughter and of course; lots of delicious, light hearted flirting. Well! what else could you expect? We were young, full of life and it was war time.

We shared whatever food we had and in return the Canadians were very generous. They turned up with large tins of glorious, golden butter, tinned bacon and spam, tinned fruit, cookies and chocolate. We tasted our first Hershey Bars, all courtesy of their well supplied stores I expect. It was like manna from heaven to us in those sparse days of rationing.

   They also kept Dad supplied with cigarettes. Most people smoked then, including Barbara and I, much to Mum's disapproval. I had to do it on the quiet as Mum would not allow me to smoke in the house. I didn't smoke very much as I couldn't afford it. The Canadians brought cartons of cigarettes, each containing ten packs of twenty, for Dad, which he kept in the side-board cupboard. For a while every pack he took out had only nineteen cigarettes in it. Barbara and I thought he wouldn't notice one missing from each pack. "Those little B------s have been at my ciggies again", he'd exclaim. B-----r and b----y were the only swear words Dad ever used and he was the only person ever allowed to use them.

   I'd gone into the bathroom one day for an illicit smoke. I didn't want Mum to smell the smoke so I stood on the 'lav' with my head poking out of the narrow top window.   I was puffing away happily when Mum came out to throw some rubbish in the dustbin which was right under the bathroom window. I was well and truly caught in the act.                                                                                        

   Then, finally, one day the war was over. All the young servicemen, including Bob, were gradually repatriated. We said our fond fare-wells, sad to be parting but happy for them to be going home to their families. It was a time of mixed emotions for us. Just as our brothers were coming home,
Barbara and Eileen - taken before she left for Canada
Barbara was leaving us to join her husband. She travelled to Liverpool by rail, sailed across the Atlantic and up the St. Laurence Seaway then across Canada by rail. It took almost two weeks, and she later said that as the journey went on she thought she would never see Knaresborough and her family again.  Seeing her off on the train at Harrogate station was heart-wrenching. How brave she was, setting off alone at the age of nineteen for a new life in British Columbia, on the far side of Canada. To a young husband she hardly knew and in-laws she had never met; not knowing when or if she would see any of us again. Only wealthy people could afford to travel and up until then, the furthest my sister had been from home was just over the border into Scotland.

Jack Warner Moore
One by one my brothers and brothers-in-law came  home too. All except my darling brother, Jack. He had died in the fighting in Italy. His wife, Muriel and young son, David turned to us and we grieved together. Her own parents on hearing the news said, "Well, you've made your bed; you'll have to lie on it."   They were cold hearted people; I don't know how they managed to produce a daughter as sweet and lovely Muriel. The war was over but it left it's mark on us. It had changed us, broadened our horizons, made us stronger and more aware of what we were capable of. Married men were eager to be back with wives and families and a home life, most of them, anyway. Young men, thankful to be back in one piece couldn't wait to find a wife, build a new life and a decent future in "civvy street" again at long last.

As for the rest of the Parkyn boys and girl, one by one we fell in love and married, though we did not all fly the nest immediately. Housing was in desperately short supply after the war as there had been no building work carried out during that time. Most newly married couples had to live with relatives. Arthur and Irene and their daughter lived with Bill and Beatrice. Laurence married Irene's cousin Joan and they lived with us at Park Crest. I married Frank, my brothers' pal and moved to Park Close, a stone's through away and we shared a home with Frank's Mum. Cyril and Joan rented one room in a friend's house: Eric and June also lived at Park Crest; Laurence and Joan by this time having moved on. Knaresborough Council got busy building a new estate and eventually my brothers' and their wives qualified for houses but not until they had two children apiece  

Sadly, my Dad died in nineteen forty nine, not long after the war ended, but by then he had established his own painting and decorating business along with his four younger sons, all of whom, like him, were painters and decorators.  F.J, Parkyn and Sons also started life at No 28, working from home. It grew and flourished in Knaresborough for many years. Dad would have been proud.

Just before the war, Mum and Dad were given the opportunity to buy 28 Park Crest. The landlord wanted to sell and gave them first choice, We were a bit better off by then so with the help of a small mortgage my parents became proud home owners at long last. My Mother continued to live in the house she loved until the day she died, just three months short of her hundredth birthday. The only tablets she ever took were two Disprin before she went to bed each night, to ease the pain in her bad hip. Her ten children were all home births without the benefit of any kind of pain relief. Following which she didn't see a doctor again until she was in her mid eighties. She had not been feeling well and Dr. Rushton paid her a house visit. He thought her so remarkable he called in to see her every month after that, mainly for a chat.

    Ciss and Arthur lived with her during her last fifteen years or so and up until her last eighteen months Mum was pretty active. Every evening, rain or shine, she and Ciss strolled up the street, Mum leaning heavily on Ciss's arm, to the old Roxy Cinema which had been turned into a Bingo Hall. Everyone knew her, she enjoyed the company and the Bingo and won frequently. Her mind was as bright and sharp as ever and woe betide anyone who tried to help her fill in her bingo cards.

   Wrestling on TV was a great favourite and horse racing. Mum studied form in the newspaper and knew all the trainers, jockeys and horses. She, Ciss and Arthur picked their horses for each race and Arthur went into town and placed their bets. Between them they did well at the races too and were never out of pocket.

   Mum never lost her toleration, understanding and compassion for others nor her naughty sense of humour. Everyone turned to her for advise in difficult times or with family problems. Sons, daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, even neighbours, all sort her wise understanding.  She never took sides, never told us what we should or should not do, just made suggestions. She encouraged us to look at things from all sides and think very carefully before saying or doing anything we may regret. Her family were her life and her aim was to keep us together and as happy as possible and she made a pretty good job of it, on the whole. My incomparable Mother, a woman in a million and no mistake.

Park Crest - 1970's
My thanks to Barbara for editing and illustrations.
Next blogs will be 'Tales from Park Crest'.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Homes: Sweet and Not so sweet - 'Ivy Deane, Hambleton Terrace'

Number fifteen, 'Ivy Deane', on Hambleton Terrace was a tall, two storey house with a cellar. I never felt quite at home there. Barbara and I shared an attic bedroom. The bathroom was on the first floor and the lavatory was in the cellar. We had to take candles to light our way in the dark. I'm afraid Barbara and I were cruel, as children can be sometimes. We held races with the woodlice on the walls, holding our candle flames under their bums to see whose could run the fastest. Fortunately for them, woodlice can run very fast indeed, with or without a naked flame on their nether regions.

Poor Mum, back to doing the laundry in a cold, damp cellar but at least there was a sink with hot and cold water and a gas heated copper in which to boil the clothes. It  was back-breaking work all the same, using a rubbing board and scrubbing brush in the sink, a large, bulbous peggy tub in which to rinse the clothes with the aid of a  wooden posser; after which the clean, wet laundry was fed through the fat wooden rollers of a monster mangle, turned with a big iron wheel and handle before being carried up five stone steps and hung to dry on the clothes line in the back yard. On rainy days the washing was strung across the cellar, dampening the air as well as the walls. It was in the cellar that Mum made a fizzy, dandelion and burdock drink and nettle beer in another copper, kept especially for the purpose.
Another reason why Mum did not really like the house was that it backed onto the side of the children's home on Stockwell Lane. Though separated by a back road she could see the children out in the yard and it tore at her heart strings to think of them on their own, no loving parents to turn to.

No sooner had we settled in when Barbara went off to aquaint herself with our neighbours; something she took it upon herself to do wherever went.
At number one, just below Kitchen's wood yard lived the Gills. Father, Mother and three small children. They were by far the most intriguing people we had ever met. Very well spoken, upper class and poor as church mice. Mr. Gill was an artist; tall and spare with a lot of curly hair and a bushy beard. Mrs. Gill was tall and willowy. She wore her long hair drawn back loosely on either side of her face and twisted into a bun on the nape of her neck. Dressed in long gathered skirts and floaty tops she was her husband's muse and there were drawings of her, clothed and unclothed around the house; which we found deliciously shocking.

The story was that Mrs. Gill came from a wealthy family who had disowned her when she married her pennyless artist against their wishes.
The Gills took a great liking to Barbara and she spent a lot of time with them, helping to entertain the children; a baby, a two year old and a boy of four called, what sounded to us like Baton. We thought it was the posh way of saying Button: so Button he was to us; no fancy  accent.
I have no idea what they existed on but they all seemed healthy. Their sparce amount of furniture was augmented with orange boxes for chairs, shelves and cupboards, which didn't seem to bother them one bit. Knowing the Gills was the closest I ever came to a romantic, Bohemian way of life and I remember them with pleasure and some affection for the small glimpse they gave me of a rather more exotic, albeit pecunious life.

Miss Mary Jane Thorpe was a retired headmistress and our direct neighbour at number 17. Though small in stature she had a commanding prescence. She told me  that as a young girl she had spent an hour every day with a board strapped to her back in order to improve her posture. It had certainly had the desired effect as, although she used a walking stick, she stood as straight as a ramrod, head held high. Miss Thorpe also came from an upper class family and had received a good education. Whether she was a spinster by choice or circumstance I don't know; there were many young women who never married after the First World War because so few young men returned. Almost a whole generation of elegible young men had been wiped out.
   However, she pursued a very satisfying career as a teacher throughout the late eighteen hundreds up into the nineteen twenties.
  We became great friends with Miss Thorpe. She was a member of the Esperanto Movement. Esperanto was an amalgamatiion of several languages which it was hoped would eventually become a common language spoken throughout the world.

Miss Thorpe loved teaching and soon had my brothers attending classes in her parlour with blackboard and chalk and Esperanto text books, two evenings a week after they came home from work. Sitting at her piano, she taught the boys songs in Esperanto; "Charlie is my darling" and "Shenandoah". They came home and sang them for us. I can still remember two lines of Charlie Is My Darling. "Carlo estas mia caroula, caroula. Carlo estas mia le bravo chevalier."
Miss Thorpe had never cooked or done housework of any kind and in retirement she employed a housekeeper, Hilda, a woman of few words who, in her wrap around apron came in each day and took care of everything.
Crates of bottled stout were delivered to the house regularly and Miss Thorpe indulged in a glass every evening. "For medicinal purposes, Mama", she would assure my Mother. She always addressed Mum and Dad as Mama and Papa.

Another of Miss Thorpe's pleasures in life was a good, meaty discussion. She held firm opinions on many subjects and as her upbringing had been poles apart from my parents these debates were lively to say the least but always polite and reasoning. They listened to what each one had to say and occasionally an opinion was modified or even changed on both sides. Miss Thorpe often finished a discussion with, "Do you  know Mama, I do believe you are right. You have a most excellent brain". How I enjoyed listening to them when I was  older. No shouting each other down, no disparaging or foul name calling of any kind when opinions differed. They were an education in good manners, understanding and toleration, so sadly lacking in some areas today.

Although Hambleton Terrace did not endear itself to us it played a valuable part in our lives by introducing us to the Gills and Miss Thorpe all of whom opened our minds to other customs and ways of life. Miss Thorpe remained a lifelong friend even after we moved, There is more to come about Miss Mary Jane but for the time being I will leave that for another blog.
 We only stayed a few years at Hambleton Terrace; it was too much hard work for my Mother. Looking after all of us and a house with three flights of stairs, attics and a cellar was wearing her out. Indeed, a lesser woman would have collapsed long before.

Left to right, Aunt Florrie, Uncle Sam, Grandma, Laurence, Mum, Aunt Annie.At the front, Mavis, Althea and me.
15 "Ivy Deane", Hambleton Terrace.


Uncle George, Dad and Uncle Sam.  


Even after a long, hard day Mum liked to have a walk on a nice evening. She and my brother Cyril were on their way home after one such walk when she said to him that, if she stayed in that house much longer she thought it would kill her. They happened to have reached the Stockwell on Park Row where a small estate of terrace houses had recently been built, leading off Park Row. Cyril suggested that they have a look round one of them. It was small, with a kitchen, bathroom and living room on the ground floor and three bedrooms upstairs. Mum wondered if we could all fit in but, with a good big front bedroom for the four lads, [Jack was also very happily married by this time to Muriel]; a decent sized double for her and Dad and a just big enough room for we two girls; it looked like a life-saver for Mum. Enquiries were made, the rent was affordable, so our last move as a family was arranged and we took up residence at number 28 Park Crest.

Want to come with us? See my next blog.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Homes: Sweet and Not so Sweet - '22 Stockwell Avenue'

  It was great news when Mum and Dad were told that they had been allocated one of the new houses on Stockwell Avenue and a happy day when they set foot in their new home for the first time. My Mother thought she was in heaven. At last she had a house with a bathroom, hot and cold running water and, if not quite an inside lavatory, it was close enough, being located just outside the back door under a covered entry-way. Was there a lavatory in the bathroom? If so, I don't remember it. In those days the 'lav' was usually separate, even in modern houses.

A view of 22 Stockwell Avenue in 2012

 The kitchen, 'though small was more than adequate and blessedly free from scuttling cockroaches and other creepy-crawlies. The odd spider was easily dealt with.The sitting room was perfect for a family, one large room stretching from the front to the back of the house and outside there were gardens. A small one in front and a large one at the back which Mum soon had planted up with vegetables and soft fruit bushes.

  Barbara and I were born in the house on the Avenue. Ciss and Beatrice had grown into lovely young women and it was not long before young men came courting. In the three years between Barbara's birth and mine, Ciss married Arthur Brent and Beatrice married Bill Watson. Needless to say, Mum was not too happy to be expecting again, [with me], as she was by now a grandmother. Dad was a bit aggrieved and wanted to know, "Am I supposed to put my wedding tackle away then, now that we have married daughters". Mum and Dad were only in their mid forties so it was a bit much to ask, but with no contraceptives available, in those days marital relations were a risky business. As it happened I turned out to be the youngest in the family, though just by good luck, I'm sure.

                                    Althea, 'Big' Barbara, 'Little Barbara, Eileen, [me].
                                                   Sisters, cousins, nieces, aunts.                                                        
      'Little' Barbara and Althea were also born at Sttockwell Road. Ciss and Beatrice each came home, in turn, to be cared for by Mum when their first babies were due.

 The Stockwell Estate was a lively neighbourhood with a wide variety of house-holds. There were large families like ours; the Ledgeway's, Whittaker's, Atkinson's and Grafton's. Over the road from us at No. 33 were the Jackson's with five children and next door but one to them lived Mr. and Mrs. Beck and their only child, Audrey.

Stockwell Avenue electoral roll - 1933

  It was rumoured that Mr. Beck had a false leg which for some reason, was a source of fascination to us. We watched him carefully but it was very hard to tell whether or not this was true. He also had a good job and was never out of work. The Becks kept a little to themselves and were considered 'posh'.

  Audrey was indirectly responsible for putting Barbara off dolls for life. One Christmas morning my sister awoke to find a beautiful doll at the foot of the bed. Thrilled and excited, as soon as she could she went dashing across the road to show her friend, Audrey. Unfortunately, the ground was slippery with snow and ice; Barbara fell, the doll's lovely porcelain face smashed to pieces and that was the finish of dolls as far as my sister was concerned. She was disgusted, she blamed the doll and would never have another. She wasn't really a girl for dolls anyway. Being the first girl after five boys Barbara was more of a tomboy.

Renoir - Girl with a Hoop and Stick

Halfway along, the Avenue opened out into a circle and this was where our house was situated. The circle formed a natural playground and with virtually no motorised traffic about, the younger children gathered there with skipping ropes, whip and tops, 'boolers' [round hoops] and sticks with which to 'bool' them. We played hop-scotch and marbles and tig. In winter we had snowball fights and built snowmen. I was just a small child and could not join in all the games but I was always out there with the rest of them having fun.

Stockwell Avenue - a modern view 2012

  Of my brothers, Jack, the eldest was in his teens and working. The younger boys looked up to him but that did not stop them from getting into mischief. When the houses on the Avenue had been built, the builders omitted to put dividing walls in the roof space between the houses so it was possible to clamber across into neighbouring properties; something my brothers found out on their first foray through the manhole cover in the ceiling at the top of the stairs.

  Our next door neighbour, Mrs. Ingham, lived alone except for her little dog, a terrier by the name of Benjie. My brothers would climb into the false roof, crawl across to Mrs. Ingham's and lift the man hole cover a fraction; their whispered growls and scratching sent poor Benjie wild. He raced about in a frenzy, yapping and barking. Mrs. Ingham said to Mum that she couldn't think what kept upsetting Benjie so. She had looked around and could see nothing and concluded that it must be cats prowling about. Inevitably, the boys were caught in the act one day and Dad fastened the manhole cover so that the boys could not open it.

  A night time escapade involved Arthur, always the most daring, shinning down the drainpipe which ran close to an upstairs window and making his way to the nearest orchard where he filled a large bag with apples. Back home the other boys lowered a basket on a rope and hauled the apples up while Arthur shinned back up the drainpipe. I suppose nowadays these might be considered crimes and my brothers young offenders but back then people had a different attitude to small misdemeanors.

Arthur on the right and friends, Ian Shillington and his sister - grown healthy on scrumping!

Anyone who owned an orchard expected the occasional raid by the local kids. It was known as 'Scrumping' and was indulged in as soon as the apples were ripe. Owners kept a look out and anyone who was caught got a good telling off and threatened with a clout across the ear if they tried it again. More often than not parents were informed and the offenders got another good going over. Adults closed ranks to keep us in order. There was never any point in complaining to Mum if a grownup had told us off. She would always say, "Well you must have deserved it. I expect you were doing something you shouldn't".

  There were the odd exceptions to this, however, such as the time Arthur came home from school in the middle of the day and said that the headmaster had caned him on his back. Mum looked and there were several long, red wheals plain to see. She accompanied my brother back to the school and confronted the headmaster who denied having caned Arthur and accused him of lying. Mum pulled Arthur's shirt up and said," Well, what can't speak can't lie. What made those marks if it wasn't your cane?  I don't care what he does wrong in future, don't ever strike my son again".

   Arthur was a tall, bold, handsome boy and daring. He was always up to some boyish escapade or other and getting told off. He was no favourite of Mr. Carter but he was never caned again by Mr. Carter or anyone else.

  Through work, Dad had a lot of customers and they would often give him items they had no further use for. He came home one day with a complete Robin Hood outfit which was just Arthur's size. Arthur loved it. Every afternoon, home from school, he donned his Lincoln Green suit and cap with it's jaunty feather, took up his home-made bow and arrow and off he went with his band of merry men, roaming the country-side, righting wrongs. Such was Arthur's popularity, none of the other boys laughed at him, he was a leader, they would have followed him anywhere.

 Brought up in the hungry thirties, the years of the great depression, those hoards of young boys who were forever into mischief, grew up and were sent off to fight in the second world war. Those who came back couldn't wait to get stuck into work. They married, had children, many set up in business for themselves and through the nineteen fifties and sixties, through sheer hard graft, they helped to build this country up once more. I don't think you will see their likes again.

The house on Stockwell Avenue was the scene of one of my rare bouts of sickness. I was very ill and needed the doctor. As Dad was working away, Mum had to walk up into town and fetch Dr Dobson who resided and practised at 12 York Place.  
 Quoting from the Karesborough Post, 8th March 2006, Nancie's Knaresborough. "He was of diminutive stature, but a great though modest man. Always calm and unruffled he was the son-in-law of the former practitioner at 12, York Place, Dr McKay,"   

 Jack held me, wrapped in blankets on his knees, with his arms around me. I remember laying there, gazing up at his lovely face, feeling safe.

Jack Warner Moore as a young man

Dr Dobson said I had pneumonia, and did my Mother know what needed to be done to nurse me properly? The only treatment then was a heated bread poultice, applied to my chest every few hours, day and night A bed was brought down to the living room and the fire was kept burning all the time. Mum stayed by my side applying poultices as required. As soon as one cooled a fresh one took it's place. I was ill for quite a while and Mum nursed me day and night and pulled me through. Getting better, my wobbly legs encased from the top of my foot to above my knees in soft as butter, brown leather gaiters to keep me warm, I stood in the front window watching the children playing outside, wanting to join them but, "Not just yet", Mum said.

Schoolgirls nurse training - making bread poultices 1942

  And so the years on Stockwell Avenue went by. Our Grandma Sarah Parker, aunts, uncles and cousins came for holidays. We packed like sardines into our new house with all mod cons; a happy, noisy, fun loving brood. Whenever we fell out it was never for very long. We thought the world of each other.  

   22, Stockwell Road. Back row, L to R, Ciss, Aunt Annie, Mum, Grandma.
                                       Front row, 'Little' Barbara, me, Barbara.                                              
      Grandma and Barbara must be standing on raised ground as they were both smaller than Mum.    

                                                        Aunt Annie and me.                                                                            It must have been my year for the hand-me-down blazer. See my blog, Jumble Sales and Other Ways.    
I never really knew why we moved from Stockwell Avenue to Hambleton Terrace. There must have been a good reason as Mum loved the house on Stockwell.
  She was very pleased to be given a ten shilling rebate for leaving the house in spotless condition. This was customary with departing tenants but not everyone qualified.

  And so to Hambleton Terrace ...