No “mod-cons” when
I was a child, just a pump in the yard was our water
supply. No taps hot or cold, but a pot on the fire
our water to heat. No bathroom or sink, just a bowl
to be filled, in the “back kitchen” was
our daily routine. With a tin bath on a Friday, we
all took our turn, no bubbles or smellies just a plain
bar of soap. And down the yard we had to go to answer “nature’s
No cars or no buses just a long walk to school. “We’ll enter you
in the skipping race” Miss Nightingale said, you may arrive early one
day if you did! Call at the sweet shop on my way home. A penny to spend was
all mom could afford! No TV’s or laptops when we arrived home, we made
our own fun, with no fear of being “whisked away” we were free
to wander away from home. So down the Beck we sometimes went, with nets, and
jam jars tied round with string, our fishing to do. In popped our “catch” if
lucky we’d been. Skipping, whipping tops or hop scotch in the street.
Or bouncing a ball on the neighbour’s wall. But, oh dear, sometimes they
got upset! So indoors we were sent, our artistic powers to explore. With crayons
or paint or plasticine, or game of cards if in the mood. Sometimes entertained
by brothers powers on harmonica or accordion. Then round the table time for
tea with bread and jam, sometimes cheese, homemade pies with a taste sublime.
Mother’s pies could win a prize.
On Saturdays into the yard we were sent with the Sunbeam comic and a quarter
of sweets, Sharps toffees were a treat! Whilst indoors mom the house did clean.
Aided by sisters much older than I from top to bottom they did a real spring
clean. No carpets or vacuums just lino to scrub, and a black leaded grate to
polish and clean. Windows and brasses all shining like new. They did a grand
job, then indoors we could go!
The town fell silent when Sundays came, no trading or factory work to be done.
Save for the sound of bells calling the people to worship, the whole town had
an eerie silence. So people donned their Sunday best and went to church or
chapel, Sunday school was a must with different lessons to absorb, than that
of weekday lessons. On Sunday nights we had a treat, as well as our usual tea-time
fare there was pineapple and cream, and homemade cakes for tea. Whilst the “Sally
Army” played hymns in the street. Although with worldly goods we were
not endowed, but with home grown vegs, rabbit stews and mother’s suet “puds”,
we never did go hungry. But with tons of love and family fun we were never
bored or neglected.
Memories by Miriam Parkin who resided in Fleetgate, Barton, now resides in