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Musing on "Making ends meet"......

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Making ends meet:

 

During the post World War II period many of us experienced life in the "Make do and mend" era. This was a difficult time for all ordinary working people, where money was tight and goods scarce. Many will remember the daily shopping expedition down to the local greengrocer, grocer and newsagent for essential supplies such as 2lbs of potatoes, a few carrots and perhaps a cabbage - you get the picture. In that period, from the end of the war though until the mid-1960s there was no such thing as a supermarket and all food was bought at either the local shop or the town market. In Nottingham we were lucky to have the Central Market, where farm produce was available alongside fresh fish; although many could only afford the fish as an occasional treat.

Cars were few and far between and family holidays tended to be either the odd day out to Trentham Gardens, Alton Towers (Before the white knuckle rides were invented), Dudley & Twycross Zoos, Newstead Abbey, Edwinstowe for the Major Oak or if lucky, Skeggy or one of the other East coast resorts. Travel to these places was mostly by bus or train. I think most trips in my younger days were taken on 'Skills' coaches and sometimes the train from Daybrook Station. Local parks, such as Wollaton, held occasional fairs and events too. Towards the end of summer and into autumn the travelling fairs became the focus of attention, with the Goose Fair being the highlight of the season followed by numerous local "Wakes" such as Basford, Heanor, Ilkeston, Arnold, Hucknall, etc..

However, I digress; the memories I am trying to convey are those of having little in the way of material possessions and mothers attempting to make a small wage feed a family - remember, there was no benefit system like we have today, you worked or got your pittance of a dole and nothing else but a few pence family allowance for your second and subsequent children. In order to accomplish this they had to shop daily, making every penny count - and by gum, they did anorl! I clearly recall going down to the shops armed with a tanner (6d or 2½p for those who are too young to remember old money) for some spuds and veg! As for health, had it not been for the advent of the NHS in 1948 many more of us would not have survived to tell the tale.

I think my own parents had a big struggle but in my opinion, they did a great job and I wish they were still alive today so that I could tell them so.....

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Yes, trips to the cobblers as a boy and watching my shoes being repaired, then polished on the leather belt driven buffing machine. Borrowing my uncle's hobbing iron and nailing Blakeys (sp) into the heals and toes of my school shoes. Buying cod roe because it was cheaper than the fish. Patching my bike inner tubes until there were as many patch repairs as there was original tube. Then when the tube had to be replaced the old one was cut up for elastic bands and to make new large patches. Lots more things that we did to survive in the 40's early 50's.

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Mum mixed the butter ration with milk to make it go further when spreading.

 

She also cut off  the toe end tops of my sandals so they would last a bit longer before having to  buy new ones.  (I actually still did this with my daughter's sandals when she was little in the mid 1970s)

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Even during the fifties things were still pretty tight.  I remember going to the individual shops with me mam.  My dad got called back into the navy because of the Korean war.  So my mam worked afternoons at Boots to add a bit of cash.  I used to go to my grandma's after school.  My grandad had an allotment so we got quite a lot of fresh veggies in season.  I never really understood how tight things were, but I never heard any of them moaning.

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Back in the early sixties we didn't have a phone, but my elder brother (23 years older than me) had got married and got his own house with phone.

My parents used to give me a few pennies to go to the nearest phone box to ring him before going round to visit. I was scared stiff of being shut in one of the old phone boxes (the doors were really heavy)  so I used to hang around out of sight then go home and say nobody answered. I still have this phobia about going in phone boxes. Even as an adult (before mobile phones) if I had to use one I would keep the door wedged open with my foot.

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38 minutes ago, West Bridgfordian said:

I still have this phobia about going in phone boxes. Even as an adult (before mobile phones) if I had to use one I would keep the door wedged open with my foot.

 

You'd be lucky to find one these days. I can't remember the last time I went in a phone box at all.

 

I agree you often needed to be a weight-lifter to get in or out. My memory of them is that they were always dirty and smelly. I definitely don't miss them.

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1 hour ago, West Bridgfordian said:

I still have this phobia about going in phone boxes. Even as an adult (before mobile phones) if I had to use one I would keep the door wedged open with my foot.

My Mum was always petrified of being stuck in phone boxes, lifts and public toilets.  I remember being in town shopping with her and having to ‘stand guard’ outside the open door of the loo.   I’ve never had such a phobia, even though I did get stuck for ages in a lift at Vic Centre years ago.  It did make me sweat a bit as nobody arrived when we pressed the alarm button, then my boyfriend of the time used a big plastic hotel key fob he just happened to have his car keys attached to, squeezed it between the doors and forced them open.  Phew! 

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There could be a phone box topic started

 

2 hours ago, Cliff Ton said:

You'd be lucky to find one these days

 

P1060251.jpg

 

Rog

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We’ve got a book exchange and a defibrillator in our village ‘phone box. No telephone though which is a pity because mobile reception here is very iffy.

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I've seen them around in that kind of location and, although I've never needed to use one,  you can't tell if they're actually working or if they're just in someone's garden as an ornament.

 

There must be instances of someone going to make a call, only to find the box full of flowers and someone's personal belongings.

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Ha, ha, Rog. We've had the shed one, we're currently swamped with the castle topic. Now the phone box one is gathering pace.

Where's the greenhouse one ? Then perhaps we can move on to coal bunkers. 

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We had a nice concrete coal bunker when we lived in the Wimpy house off Stockhill Lane.  Right outside the kitchen door it was.  Nice and handy.;)

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Our house in Nottingham had a brick built coal shed which was at the end of a path in the garden.  A greenhouse was built on to the side of it.  I've just remembered the distinctive smell when dad was growing tomatoes in the greenhouse.  He tied up the tomato plants as they grew taller on to string hanging from the roof of the greenhouse.  One of philmayfield' s relatives delivered our coal (but I didn't know that then!)

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Well my plastic bunker at the side of the house is full of pallet blocks, and the other one beside the greenhouse is full of hardwood off cuts from my son in law who is a director of a furniture manufacturing company.

Also, at the other side of the greenhouse is several bags of logs that my nephew gave me.

I can elaborate but.....Zzzzzzzzz  :sleeping:

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34 minutes ago, loppylugs said:

We had a nice concrete coal bunker when we lived in the Wimpy house off Stockhill Lane.  Right outside the kitchen door it was.  Nice and handy.;)

Me too at my first house in Awsworth, same location as well, right outside the back door

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6 minutes ago, FLY2 said:

Well my plastic bunker at the side of the house is full of pallet blocks, and the other one beside the greenhouse is full of hardwood off cuts from my son in law who is a director of a furniture manufacturing company.

Also, at the other side of the greenhouse is several bags of logs that my nephew gave me.

I can elaborate but.....Zzzzzzzzz  :sleeping:

All you need now is an environment destroying log burner!         :rolleyes:

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Yeahhhhhhh . I had one in my cottage at Saxondale. It was a Morso Squirrel. Brilliant !  

Again, I could elaborate how I built the fireplace and installed it, but.   :flyswat:

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Oh oh, you were in Saxondale........ 'splains a lot that does.....    :Shock:

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Oh dear, maybe I should be posting this in the Boring Repetitive Posts topic !

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No Brew, not the Big House, I lived in the village half a mile away !

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According to the perverted logic of the time.. our pre war designed Council house didn't have a coal bunker.  There was a hatch half way down the side wall through which coal could be delivered by the bagfull into a 'coal hole' which was accessed via the kitchen.  That didn't last long.  There was another little space accessed by a door at the back of the house and intended as a 'tool shed' type place.

My Dad put boards into that space to hold back the coal and they could be progressively removed as coal stocks depleted.  Didn't happen often though as we had NCB 'Concessionary' coal.

Coal was mostly delivered in bags, but sometimes just dumped in the road.  We all mucked in to 'bucket' it into the coal hole.

The internal 'Coal Hole was converted to take assorted domestic stuff like Ironing boards and other assorted clutter..  And a small but beautifully formed shed was installed in the garden.

 

We didn't live in a Castle though..

 

 

 

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Col, reading your post reminded me that my mum always referred to our coal shed as 'the coal hole'.  I haven't thought about/remembered that for over 60 years!  

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We had a coal cellar with a cast iron grate in the back yard. When the coal was running low we scraped the slack off the cellar floor to keep the fire embers burning. Coke from Basford Gas Works was cheaper than coal and I used to take an old pram down there and get it filled for half a crown. Coke was difficult to make a fire with but it was OK for topping up a coal fire. Another 'eaking out' trick was to have a second or even a third 'mash' of tea using tho old leaves in the teapot. 

Just thinking about our back yard which was behind a hosiery factory - there was an iron fire escape in the shared area. At the bottom of the fire escape stairs there was a high steel gate with a huge rusty padlock securing it. In the event of a fire there was no way that the gate could be opened by escapees. 

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Often the coal came in enormous lumps which you had to attack with a hammer to break it into useable pieces. This of course produced lots of dust and slack. My uncle was our coal merchant but he could only sell what was available from Gedling colliery.

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