Ruby and Tango

Ruby and Tango
Me 'n' Ruby and of course Tango

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Well folks another year has gone, how fast they go when you get older,  but |I find that as each one goes by  I tend to give more time  to reflection. Sad isn't it, However it's not all maudlin, sometimes it can be funny, it can be humbling and it can in my case, as in many others, you can look back with a sense of gratitude on how your lives may have improved over the years. Now I don't know how you feel, but for all the moans and groans about the government, the banks, the crime etc, I think the world is a far better place for us than it was for our grandparents, even much better off than when we first got married or left the nest.  Now I'm not talking about the people born with a silver spoon in their mouths or ones lucky enough just to be born well off, I'm talking about the average Mr and Mrs who are maybe past the first flush of youth, say in their 50's. I'm not rich by any means but when I compare what I have now compared to when I first got married, or what my parents and grandparents had. I married in the late fifties, No car, phone, washing machine, television, forget about the modern inventions such as computers, Ipods et al. just the things we take so much for granted that makes life so much easier in many ways.
Rationing was just coming to an end, so food was not exactly plentiful nor varied, there were no supermarkets , and with no freezers, far less fridges  shopping was done  every day at the corner shop. No general stores, so you did the rounds of the butcher, baker and vegetable shops. In the butchers, whole or half carcasses were hung up in the shop where the customers queued, you had to be careful not to stand too close, not from the hygienic point of view, but so you didn't get blood on you, that used to drip onto the sawdust floor. You asked for the specific cut of meat, whether for stewing, frying or what, you soon learned what was what, and I can remember being sent to the butcher for a bit of brisket, or some gigot chops. I recall mother boiling up a calf's head and making brawn, which was in bowls on the window ledge to set, [no fridges remember?] It was used for sandwiches damn delicious it was.
Bread was unwrapped., and in Glasgow where I came from,  the bread was either plain or pan loaf, pan was the slightly more expensive, and to call someone a bit 'pan loaf' meant they put on airs. LOL, After school I'd be sent to the shops for bread and given a tea towel to wrap it, [ sometimes tore a bit off to eat], and a half a stone of potatoes, and possibly a cabbage, meat she always bought herself.
Talking of rationing, I had four brothers and a sister all older, you were allowed something like 4 oz of sweets a week, and the coupon I think was D [always remember soap was K]. I digress, My brothers conned me into believing I didn't like sweets, and bribed me with a comic for my coupons, they obviously wanted to impress the latest girl friend when taking them to the cinema. -  damn cheek.
My mother got a washing machine, a darn great hulk of a thing with a paddle in the middle, it was a days work with all of us at home. She used to cook tripe on that day,   possibly because it only needed boiling, not in the washing machine, I hasten to add, and I always associated the smell of tripe with washing suds, I used to heave, still can't bear to look at it.
When I got married no washing machine for me, though I did have a wash board,

. You weren't considered a housewife till the scabs on your knuckles healed and hardened through rubbing on the board, all the nappies were 'terry cloth' and had to be boiled on the stove after washing, just think of lifting a bucket of boiling water on and off a stove every day. damn hard and risky job. Then you had to wring them by hand and hang them on a pulley suspended from the ceiling. There was no central heating then, the fire [coal] was on permanently, so clothes dried overnight., though the nappies were a bit hard, I understand now why so many babies got nappy rash.:-((

I recall when my brother's wife got her first washing machine she gave me her wringer.

This isn't mine but very similar. I was like a dog with two whatsits, as I found wringing was the hardest part of the wash. I suppose that's why I've got arthritic hands.
Anyhow folks, if you're still with me I hope you've enjoyed this little reminisce., I could go on a and tell you much more, but I expect you all have your own tales. BTW I didn't get a washing machine till I came to England and been married about four years, I first got a spin dryer, paid for it then got a washing machine.
This post was prompted by my finding my wash board in the shed when clearing out, yes, the wash board is mine, and I think it serves as  a reminder of just how lucky I am now compared to when I first got married., and puts things into perspective.


    I remember these things so well, my mum used to wash the blankets then me and my sister would help her put them through the mangle, and as for the wash board well manys a time we used that and then when Lonnie Donigan became famous we used to use it with mums thimbles and pretend we were in a group .......Ha ha they wouldn't know what it was now days with all the automatic stuff around
    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.... i love your blog it is looking great

  2. It's a dreary and sunless day here today, but no more after I read your post, Arlene. This was so good! It was the same in my house back then -- no phone, no car, no washing machine; everything was done by hand and the work never ended. But you know, I look back, and even though it was so hard and things are SO much better now, those days were still the best and most innocent and trusting of my life. People in general were better and everyone knew everyone for miles around. I guess that's why the phrase The Good Old Days still rings true :D
    You could have written for days and I would have been very happy to read it all. Thank you for such a wonderful post today. XOXOXO to you, Tango, and Ruby...and even to the washboard.

  3. Arlene, I so enjoyed this post as I recall these things from childhood.
    It's dreary, rainy and quite cool here, in low 30's tonight the guessers say.

  4. Ah, thanks folks for appreciating my reminisces, as you say Jenny |I could have written for days, but crikey, it would maybe be a bit depressing for to-days brighter world, but I do agree, that things were much better now, or is that through the rose tinted spectacles of age. Though I do admit, I miss the innocence of these days, and what you don't have you don't miss. Sometimes I think we're travelling too fast, and not taking time to smell the daisies.
    I too remember using my washboard to try and do a Lonnie Donnegan impression. Ha, ha, maybe I'll have a go at that when I've got a few spare minutes. The weather here is dry and chilly but not the evil spiteful cold of last week.
    Happy \New Year to all from me and my tribe.
    it's bedtime here very shortly.

  5. I remember many of the same things you mentioned. Times were hard in those days and I am ever thankful for what I have today.
    I really enjoyed your post today.

  6. Nice reminiscence. Long ago I lived for a time on a small farm in rural Ireland which had no running water, plumbing or electricity. While I was there I found I did not miss the modern conveniences much but then again I was a small boy. As a middle aged person I marvel at people's ability then to do all that hard physical work as they aged.

  7. hiya Arlene,
    I left a reply on WordPress,. just dropped by to say Hi and bye, before taking Bess out for her constitutional, I keep promising 'in a minute' but she doesn't believe me...'cos a minute on here is a few hours in the real world!!
    hugs 'n licks and woofs to your pack from ours.!!
    xPen n' Bess.x

  8. Given how women did the wash, it's incredible that they accomplished anything else. I remember a similar wringer at the laundromat. My mother would take the clothes there and wash them before we had a washer and dryer. She wouldn't let me wring the clothes. She said it was because she was afraid I'd get my fingers caught between the wringers. I bet she just wanted to get the wash finished quicker than a little girl could wring.

    Happy New Year, Arlene!

  9. Wifie...It seems that things were pretty much the same on washday no matter where in the world where you were, women's work was damn hard.
    Pen.. I hope you got dear Bess out in time, or you'll have Tango coming round to take over. I replied on WP thanks.
    Laoch, I can see where you're coming from, Youth just isn't aware of hardship in quite the same way
    I can remember when a child getting up in the morning with ice on the inside of the windows and marvelling at the patterns, but that was a long time ago, now I'd panic thinking the central heating had packed up and I would freeze to death.
    Hi Beth nice to see you here, glad you enjoyed the post, and I too am grateful for what I have.

  10. Thank you Arlene for stopping by my recipe space. I still have a lot more to transfer so I hope your reader doesn't get clogged. Just ignore them if it does.
    We have light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. You could use either one in the recipe.

    Substitutions: 1 cup packed brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar or
    1 cup brown sugar = 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses

  11. You are just super sweet, Arlene. I saw what you said on my page. Let me tell you, I don't have a ton of followers by any means. Some folks have dozens if not hundreds. But then again, I don't look for "numbers", I'm only interested in the really nice folks where we actually connect with things in common and a real bond for friendship. Why do you think I followed you? For just that reason. I love people that are up front and honest. I love that we all have up days and down, even though I wish we all had nothing but up. But if that were so, we'd never appreciate much, would we. It's all a balancing act.
    I think many build up their followers by clicking on the followers of others and then joining. Just a guess, but seems like it would work if you're looking to build up readers. I can barely make it around on a blog walk to catch up as it is. By the time I finish, I see all new posts have been done. Wow, it's a full time job, isn't it!
    Love to you and Tango and Ruby :D

  12. Hi Arlene,
    I think the chicken rice casserole should freeze well.

  13. Thanks Beth I might well try that out, I've got a mini dinner party fro some friends at the end of the month, and it's nice to have something new and 'preen a little' LOL
    I don't make a lot of casseroles and stuff unless I can freeze it, living on your own it's just not worth it otherwise.

  14. Hi Jenny< You're probably right about lots of followers, I know I wouldn't have the time to get back to them, I clicked on a blog the other week and they had well over a hundred comments, it would take all day just to read them far less reply, no thanks, but like you I do appreciate the ones I have.
    Tango and Ruby said to thank you, they are too knackered to do so as we had a three hour walk with Sue, Widget, Nettle, Stroodle and Jasper, it's hard work keeping up with all these youngsters. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ time for them.

  15. Great post, I don't think we do appreciate how lucky we are, you're right :) I remember seeing one of those washing wringers you mention when I visited my grandparents - they had a farmhouse and I don't recall them ever buying a washing machine! The outback was full of wonderful treasures such as you mention. I imagine it was a great place to wring the washing whilst watching the abundance of chickens they kept!

  16. Thank you Sun Wolf, To say to-day's youngsters don't know they're born may seem a bit harsh, they have their own, and different types of problems, but they are definitely a bit favoured by the softer side of life, I suppose I could maybe be in the class or age bracket of your grandparents. :-)
    I bet the're life was hard.

  17. Hi Arlene just catching up I do love this post. My mum had one of those and a wringer which she kept out side, it was a hard life those days. Washing machines today so simple wonder what mum would have thought and oh no fridge either. Hugs Sheila


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