More Memories

By Donald Joy

Strange how so many little things come to mind when reminiscing takes you further back than you thought you could go. Our neighbour Albert, a proper Essex country man, who spoke with a genuine old Essex drawl, worked on a farm all of his life. Most weeks he would come to our house at least twice and ask my mother, in his best country drawl, if she would like a rabbit. What a silly question, as if she was likely to say, no thanks. We ate rabbit 3 sometimes 4 times a week, rabbit stew, my favourite, what I wouldn't give for a bowl right now. Another meal she made was corned beef hash, simple yet tasty and I still make it myself, on the odd occasion. Vegetables and salad veg was grown in the garden along with soft fruits. As we lived in a rented council house the garden wasn't big enough to grow a quantity to make us self sufficient, but it helped. Peacheys used to come around the streets selling fruit and veg from a van, long before they ever opened a shop. I recall them calling out  "potatoes 4 pound a bob", somewhat cheaper than today! As today we now have to pay for carrier bags, I look back and remember mum and all other ladies when buying potatoes, they would be weighed out on the scales and the scoop then upturned into their shopping bags that they took everywhere with them.

We sometimes had exotic foreign foods, in particular pasta, all the way from Italy. Macaroni as a dessert, spaghetti in savoury dishes, now considered a cheap and popular base for many dishes. But back then being youthfully ignorant, I always believed that spaghetti was the inside of macaroni and I wondered how they got it out! Please nobody respond to this part, as I now know how they get it out??? Other favourites were spotted dick, jam roly poly and bacon and onion pudding, which was jam roly poly with bacon and onions  replacing the jam, which strangely enough, nobody but me seems to have heard of. One last thing that I really miss is a nice pork chop with the piece of kidney attached, they really are not the same today without it!

For anyone who doesn't know me but does read my comments. I am not the chubby that my writing often about food might lead you to think.

This page was added by Donald Joy on 13/10/2015.
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As this article is named "More memories", I thought I'd share some more of mine. These are some of the things Mum used to say to me when I was very young, that often left me rather confused and bewildered and wondering if she was just a little bit mad. 

I often climbed trees, as did most young boys at that time. One time after coming home, Mum warned me that it was possible for me to fall from a tree and hurt myself. She warned me, "If you fall out of a tree and break your leg, don't come running to me". I wonder how she thought that I might manage that? Superkid perhaps?

Mealtimes, a time when the whole family would be around the table, a time to have conversations, discuss things. Well one might think so, I know I did. But no, not Mum. I remember her telling me to, "Shut your mouth and eat your dinner". This I thought was not possible, to get food into your mouth while it was closed, although I didn't tell her as she packed quite a wallop!

My favourite though is this one. Mum had a fruit bowl that was full of apples. You need to appreciate that we were not well off and when we couldn't gather fruit for free from the gardens of old houses that had been demolished, they had to be bought and paid for, with money. So being rather fond of apples, I asked Mum if I could have one from the fruit bowl, to which her response was, "They don't grow on trees you know". ?????

One other that is still valid today and likely puzzles today's youngsters. When children use the toilet they are frequently reminded to, "Pull the chain". Now most children have never seen a toilet with a high level cistern and a chain to flush with, so probably have no idea what parents are talking about, but they know it means flush the toilet. I know that when my kids were young, I used that same expression to them and we only ever had toilets with low level cisterns and a handle to flush with. Come to think of it, when did you last see a chain flush toilet?

I hope these have amused you, they still amuse me after all these years. Please don't go away with the impression that my Mother was an idiot, she wasn't, even if, most of the time I treated her as if she was. You may also have some anecdotes of your own that viewers on this site might enjoy you sharing with them?

By Donald Joy
On 14/11/2015

Georgina, you got me on that one. Didn't take you long to figure me out as a bit of a joker. Remind me, just how big were Wagon Wheels when I bought them at your parent's shop, because the makers insist they are the same size they always were. I disagree. 

By Donald Joy
On 26/10/2015

Times were hard and one would eat anything!!!  "Look it up in the dictionary" as our teachers at Laindon High Road would have said, and you'll see what I meant, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you already know, Donald.

By Georgina Nottage (nee Ellingford)
On 25/10/2015

Georgina, I don't for one minute imagine you are the chubby you say you are, you are far too critical of yourself. I suspect the description you merit is more along the lines of cuddly. I think you did well to survive your grandmother's cooking, if, as you say, she stapled rashers of bacon together, my mum used sellotape. Far easier to digest! Lol. 

By Donald Joy
On 18/10/2015

I can remember the food you speak of Donald.  And unfortunately for me I am the chubby you might expect!!  My grandmother would find an egg, a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and a few staples from the larder and hey presto, one sustaining meal!!   

By georgina Nottage (nee Ellingford)
On 18/10/2015

Yet another memory stirred by reading the article and comments re. Cottis bakers van, although not related to that topic, it awakened the grey matter. We, as a family used the services of the Co-op bakery, their delivery/sales man would come to the door carrying a large basket. In this basket was a variety of goods, different types of loaves and wondrous looking cakes, the customer there to choose from. Once your selection was made, being the Co-op any purchases were recorded and would earn you your "divi", all that was required was for you to give your "divi number, that was then recorded in a book. Our number was written in pencil on the concrete surround of our back door, so that it wouldn't be forgotten. The strange thing is that 60 years later I can still remember it, 85638, long defunct, so why, when I can't even remember my own mobile phone number, do I remember a totally useless Co-op "divi" number? Strange how the mind works, storing stuff, just waiting for a site like this to bring it all to recall. Amazing!

Good job Health and Safety weren't around when the baker man called, with his goods uncovered and open to the elements. We weren't all wrapped in cotton wool back then, probably what made us tougher and kept us healthy back then. 

At this time my grandfather Bill Turner had given up his coal business, so we had our coal and coke delivered by the Co-op. We must have had a glut of "divi" whatever it was!

Thanks to this website, I seem to be spending a large part of my days reliving the past. That's not a complaint, I'm rather enjoying it!    Don. 

By Donald Joy
On 15/10/2015
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