The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

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The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby ladyarcher » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:50 pm

My first married home in 1968 was a brand new semi on a new little estate in the depths of Hampshire.........most of our husbands were off on the 7.30 a.m. to London..... and not back until 7.30 in the evening........our days, as young mums, were our own,............

the first thing that happened, if the weather was good, was the gentle competition to see who would get their line of nappies out first.........nothing like a line of snow white fluffy towelling nappies dancing in the breeze to make one feel that one was a good mother............and if your nappies were out first, it was even better...............proper long washing lines with a 'prop', and mostly wooden pegs........no rotating washing lines then........and no washing machines for most of us.......it was buckets and soaks in Milton, and washing in green Fairy soap which you grated, or if you were feeling flush, in Lux flakes which were more expensive........no fabric softener, all the softening went on in the flapping of the towelling in the breeze..............

A quick wave to others pegging out their washing, and in to feed and dress our babies, and put them out in the garden in their prams........a bit of housework, then off to whoever was providing coffee that morning.......... sometimes coffee continued through lunch........ then usually a walk to the shops with our prams...............Tuesdays was baby weighing day at the clinic......... not many of us had fridges so we all shopped most days for meat and fish and vegetables......milk was still delivered of course.............prams had nice wire racks underneath to put the shopping on............maybe we would meet up in the park where those with older toddlers could let them run about in the sandpit for a while............. then a walk back uphill from the little market town......... Home in time to have the evening meal well on, and babies bathed and fed and in their night clothes, ready for husbands to kiss them goodnight when they walked up from the station.......

Saturdays most of the men would be washing their cars, or doing a bit of diy....... the wives would be gardening and cooking........ often on a summer evening we would all get together........ because the babies had big prams they could sleep in those at each others houses .......so no worries about finding baby sitters ......

.............Sundays were family days......... sometimes out for a drive and a picnic, or to take the babies to Sunday lunch at their grandparents, or the slight panic of having grandparents to Sunday lunch......... sometimes friends who lived further away would come for the weekend.....

....some of us had a telephone, a few had a black and white tv........ all of us had record players and records and radios........only one girl had her own car........if you wanted to do a bigger shop, with heavy things like flour and sugar and tins.......you could go round the International Stores and choose your groceries......and pay for them, they would be packed in a carton with your name and address, and as long as you shopped a bit earlier, i.e. before 12.30....... for the princely sum of one shilling and sixpence, your carton would be delivered to your door by four o'clock in the afternoon..........in town was a fish shop, three butchers, two hardware shops, two greengrocers......International Stores, and another general grocery shop from a cheaper chain which I can't remember the name of now, but it was not the one we went to..........there were several wool and haberdashery shops, several tea shops......... one of which had a sign on the door which read 'no Tinkers or Hop-pickers'......... a jewellers......a cobblers..........Tuesday was market day with stalls in the town square, and once a month an open air auction of useful things like garden tools and chairs and tables, and chests etc...............Banks, Churches and the Cottage hospital where most of us had our babies..........my first son was born there in mid March 1968 ....... but my second son was born at home on 1st April 1969.....

It was, looking back, an idyllic introduction to marriage and motherhood........it lasted nearly four years, then my husband's job relocated us to South Wales...... and that looked good too, but my soon to be ex-husband - though I did not know it then - was already planning his way out of married life.......and a couple of months after we had moved, he left........so with a three year old and a two year old, I had to sell up and go home to my a.mother for a couple of years until I met my present husband.........

LA
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Josie » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:18 pm

You paint a lovely picture there LA.
I was still at primary school when you moved into your first home in Hampshire - but, I do remember Monday as "wash day" - and looking down from my bedroom window at the rows of sheets etc in every garden as far as the eye could see!
My Mother had an evil contraption aka washing machine which fairly bounced around the kitchen floor like a thing possessed - and then laundry was pulled through a "wringer" - very state of art, as it had a button you pressed and off it would go... pulling washing through it 's rubber wringers... Once the edge of a garment, towel or any item was within it's evil rubbery grips, there was no stopping it...
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Turtle » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:02 pm

Do you think life was more social back then? I can remember my mun talking about coffee morning with other mothers. Maybe it is just because I didn't have children and so didn't get involved in that sort of thing. Maybe it still goes on today.

It was funny you talking about the washing. My mum used to have this old spin dryer. It was an amazing thing. It went on for years, but then appliances did back then. Has anyone noticed that? New washing machines and cookers do seem to have the staying power like the old ones did. I seem to be constantly replacing mine. So much for technology moving on and improving.

We talked in anther thread about ironing and my hatred of it. A lot of you talked about not ironing much or ways of getting round it. Unfortunately my husband has the sort of job where he has to look ultra smart and so the crumpled look won't do. Maybe the best way of getting rid of the ironing problem, would be to get rid of him (wink) and marry a vet instead. (I always thought I should have married a vet, it would have saved me a lot of money in vet's bill over the years, especially those emergency ones).
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sylvie » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:54 pm

Hehehe, Turtle, I like your musings on tactical husband-choosing!

My memories of my 1970s childhood are almost all outdoors, playing in the streets with all the neighbourhood children, and playing games that involved hiding in people's front garden's till you got turfed out by someone old and sensible and irate.
There were hardly any cars on our road then, so there was plenty of room to run about and squeal.

I also remember Christmas Day, when the women of our street would hurry across the road, taking a covered plate of Christmas dinner to a housebound or bedbound elderly neighbour, as kids wobbled about on their new too-large bikes.

We also had a phone when our dear next door neighbour didn't, so when one of her family rang from Ireland, we'd absent-mindedly pick up the nearest heeled shoe, knock on the adjoining wall, and she'd come round and have a good chat on the phone. It was a brilliant system, always worked, and we never minded the heel dents in the wall. I still have the sound archive in my head of it: phone rrrrring...knock knock knock...gate opening...gate crashing shut...front door opening...clatter of phone being dropped...phone conversation...cheery thanks...front door...gate...telly.

1970s appliances....hmmm. We had a B&W telly that couldn't hold its picture still unless you belted it on the top. That was fine for a while, but the effect soon wore off and could only be remedied by a wallop on the top and the side. That worked for a bit but then the picture began to spin again and could only be stopped if everyone in the room stamped their feet immediately after the telly had been walloped on the top and both sides. Eventually my mum called the TV man out to see if we could rent a better one. Me and my sister forged a letter from him saying they no longer rented televisions but she was very welcome to look round the showroom with a view to purchasing one....that's how we got our new telly. (We couldn't believe our mum actually fell for our forgery, and didn't quite know how to get out of the big fat fib we'd concocted. She laughed about it later though. When we no longer had to batter the telly every ten minutes.)
Last edited by sylvie on Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sazzer » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:19 pm

I like reading about the old days.

As for appliances lasting longer back then Turtle, call me cynical but do today's corporates really want goods to last 10, 20, 30 years? Today's throwaway society wanting the latest model is convenient. Faults can be built in to design.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Turtle » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:33 am

Love the forged letter story sylvie. That made me laugh out loud. It is true though, back then tv's were rented. Can you imagine doing that now? We used to bash ours on the top to get it to work. Funny how appliances respond. It is like turning the computer on and off if it is having a hissy fit!

My nan did meals on wheels. She used to rush around her neighbour with plates of food. People really looked after each other back then. She did it up to the time she died, in her 70's. An amazingly strong woman. I used to go and stay with her during the summer holidays. Her clock always ran 15 minutes fast, so that we were never late. Most of all I remember her bathroom. Built as an extension on the back of the house, one up from the outside lavie, it was so cold in there and there were massive spiders. The whole house was only heated by one tiny coal fire.

sazzer. I think you are right. Companies don't want things to last. We are such a throw away society.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Josie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:12 pm

What was it with TVs?!! We had various thumping techniques for ours too!
And the knob which we turned to switch channels - needed a stiff bit of paper wedged behind it to stick at BBC.
Dad regularly checked the top surface, to check it wasn't getting too warm. After a prolonged viewing session, such as a Sunday afternoon treat in winter, watching an old movie - the TV would be switched off, to cool down. No matter what was on next. My parents lived in abject fear of ALL our appliances getting "over- heated".

And yes, I remember lots of neighbourly calls to the needy in our street. The men would do regular jobs for all the old widows. The children played outside, running in between each others homes.
The favourite had to be " knock down ginger" - knock at a door and run to a hidden spot where you crouched and giggled together as you watched for the door to be opened.
We had no car, no phone - my uncle across the road used to help us out if we needed special transport, otherwise we walked (a LOT) or caught buses....
My Mum wrote to all her close friends in between visits and weekly letters exchanged between her closest friend.
We always looked forward to the letters, there would be at least 2-3 a week from various ones.
They would fill the pages with the minutiae of their daily lives. Looking back, it was so sweet. LOL.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Josie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:30 pm

Turtle, we had a back bathroom too - I remember many years later, I took my husband to be, to visit and meet - we stayed over night - he said, where's the shower?
My Mum piped up " oh I thought of that for you both dear, I bought one especially".
She then handed him an unopened box, containing a brand new rubber hand- held bath tap attachment with small shower head, the sort you'd use for rinsing your hair.
He came from a home full of very modern conveniences - his face was a picture.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sylvie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:33 pm

Hahaha - Josie, I remember the fear of the telly overheating too!
Even now, my mum goes into an unplugging mania round her flat just before bedtime. Just in case... :lol:

Hey Turtle, your story about your nan's clock running 15 minutes fast reminded me of something my mum did. Because she brought us up on her own, and worked full time, once tea had been cooked and everything else attended to, there was hardly any spare time to for her to relax. Her way round this was to quietly ignore when the country moved in and out of British Summer Time, and surreptiously remove all clocks from our house.
That meant there was always a part of the year where me and my sister found ourselves sat strangely in bed, not tired, with daylight shining through the thin curtains, listening bewilderdly to other kids playing outside. My mum was adamant that it was definitely our bedtime.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:12 pm

For a while, well before the coloured tv came out, I thought we had a colour tv........one of the very few things that my father watched was the Test match....in those days, no 20 20 cricket........Test Matches seemed to go on for days........anyway, one Match our little tv the picture was sort of green, at least the grass bit looked very green and the cricketers seemed to be in very pale green, not white......... it turned out that the 'tube' was on it's way out.......of course, now, with flat screen tv's there is no longer a 'tube'......... and prior to that I think like radios, we had valves.......not too sure about that........

TV's were very basic I think, as broadcasting was very basic too....... I am not sure of the year, I think it was 1947, when I was three, we were invited to friends of my a.parents to see the Queen's wedding.......well, of course she was not the Queen then.........the tv. was in what would now be called the 'granny annexe'.....however the granny in this case had a little cottage on the smallholding that belonged to the friends of my parents........quite a lot of other neighbours and friends were there, and all crowded into this tiny 'bungalow' us children were coralled on the floor close to the set, and having to look directly upwards to see it......... I just remember the crowdedness of the little room, and the very hazy picture, mostly in shades of grey, and the fact that the horses drawing the coach had wavy legs............I guess the reception was not great.............the bungalow, I discovered when I was older, was actually a converted chicken house.....I think it had possibly been one of those Shepherd hut sort of arrangements with a bit built on to it........just two rooms, with the kitchen off to one side, and an earth closet 'loo' outside........

The smallholding was a magic place for children, my a.parents friends - whom I called Uncle and Auntie - had one son a little younger than I, and I did envy him living there with the hens and the enormous black and pink pig who rejoiced in the name of Madeleine............she was quite a gentle pig and we could scratch her back over the wall of the sty, but we were warned to keep away from her daughter Jasmine, who was pink all over and a bit wild.........there was a lovely copse where every year we would go to gather primroses....it was properly 'coppiced' for bean poles and fence poles ...........two huge long wood framed greenhouses where Uncle grew salads and tomatoes, and we could go and pick and eat tomatoes straight off the plants......I have never managed to find tomatoes that tasted like those........there was a huge barn workshop where Uncle had a workshop with a fretsaw set up and he made plywood Missionary boxes for the church........the vast quantities of sawdust he mixed with something smelly, and pressed in moulds and sold as firelighters........

LA
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Josie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:35 pm

Splutter!!!! Sylvie. You must have been in bed so early!
Hey keep them coming...

And LA, more, more - I can imagine the taste of those tommies - bet they were really earthy and sweet.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sylvie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:25 pm

Josie, it was stupidly early!

LA, I remember the slowly psychedelic hues of the telly with a going-wrong tube.
In fact, in my impoverished 1980s youth, me and my friend had two tellies - one had no picture but did have sound, the other had a picture (pink) but no sound. We put them side by side and had to switch them both on at the same time whenever we wanted to watch tv.

I also got my fridge from a skip. The skip was oddly pristine, and had nothing whatsoever in it apart from a fridge. In the freezer compartment was a sealed kipper with a frilly flower of butter on it. I threw that away but kept the fridge. I had to put it in a cupboard in the spare room because it was so damn noisy (probably why it ended up in a skip) - so cooking or making a cuppa involved much traipsing across my flat to the cupboard with the fridge.

Recently I turned two delapidated spider-filled sheds into a pottery studio for myself. My nanna had died and left me a little money, enough to buy the help of a builder friend, some wood for the walls, and some electrics. I got all my eight windows for it from a skip too, including two beautiful deep pink antique glass ones.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sylvie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:32 pm

I just remember the crowdedness of the little room, and the very hazy picture, mostly in shades of grey, and the fact that the horses drawing the coach had wavy legs............I guess the reception was not great.


Oh, I love the perceptions of children! The wavy-legged horses...lovely!
There is a poet called Billy Collins who I really like - his poetry has that same simple quality as a child watching a raindrop wriggle down a windowpane. It's a kind of watchful, observant intelligence that feels like such a fresh way of looking at the world. I think we're in danger of losing as adults unless we decide not to.

Tomatoes - I always thought I didn't like them till I lived in Greece for a short while. What a wonderful discovery the taste of a real tomato is.
After that, I grew them, little sweet cherry ones. Yum.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
sylvie
 
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby Turtle » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:45 am

I love this thread. It is so nice to have a chat about more mundane things.

Yes, TV's with switches to change channels. None of those remotes. You actually had to get up in those days if you wanted to watch something else. No wonder the nation was thinner back then. All that added exercise.

I remember those old shower attachments. After a while they used to split and the water would fly up the wall.

And what is it about unplugging appliances? My mum does that too sylvie. It drives me mad. I try and turn things on over there only to find there is no power because she has everything switched off at the mains.

Talking of TV's, do you remember the programs back then? We didn't get much choice. Every summer I sat through The Singing Ringing Tree. Did anyone else see that? No wonder I am mentally scarred, maybe it isn't to do with the adoption after all, but that horrific series that scared me to death. :lol:
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Re: The Old Days........ironing, washing etc......

Postby sylvie » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:28 am

My fella often mentions the Singing Ringing Tree - I sense desperation when he tries to find others whose brain cells were rearranged by that series!

I loved a programme called Timeslip, where some kids would feel for a hole in the invisible sheet of time (usually in the middle of a field) and pop through to a different time. No-one else I know ever saw that. I thought it was thrilling!
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
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