« The Numbers Game | Main | 45 - Cricket And Current Affairs »

Around The Sun: A Lovely Old Bird

...Mum stood by the window, gazing upwards. "Come see the spacemen land on the Moon,'' we said. "I can see the Moon,'' she replied "and nothing is happening. I don't believe a word they're saying.''

One day I peeked over her shoulder as she was trying to complete a crossword puzzle. The clue was "extinct animal''. Mum had written Elephant...

Steve Harrison pays tribute to his wonderful mum.

*

Some children walk the high road, some children walk the low, a parent’s life determines which way the child will go.

I like those words because they sum up my parents. They were not rich, but everyone felt richer for having met them.

My mother was a lovely lady with a generous attitude and a kind nature. She was always cheerful, full of good humour. She seemed to like everyone she encountered, and they liked her.

We were poor. Supplies were meager. Yet she always scraped together a meal for us youngters. She went to the local shops every day, chit-chatting over almost every fence to our neighbours, asking if they were OK, wondering whether they wanted anything bringing from the shops. Shopping wasn't for her just a necessary task. It was a neighbourly ritual. Some folk have to read the local newspaper to find out what is going on in their part of the world. Not mum. She found out everything she needed to know by going to the shops.

Years later, when I was earning a bit of money, I offered to buy mum a refrigerator in which to store perishables, so that she would only have to go shopping once a week. In hindsight I now see that it would have destroyed her social life.

Mum was the best cook in the whole wide world. She could make beans on toast seem like cordon bleu. Her Cornish pasties and meat-and-potato pies were to die for. Nothing fancy, you understand. Just simple food, cooked and served with love.

We always had a roast dinner on Sundays. Dad disappeared to the pub while mum prepared the feast. Yorkshire pudding and gravy for starters, then roast beef or pork with Yorkshire puddings and potatoes and maybe even brussel sprouts or green peas for the main. Then, for dessert, Yorkshire pudding covered in treacle. Yummy! I can still taste it all now. Often this was washed down with dandelion and burdock. Dad would go off to sleep for the rest of the afternoon, and the rest of us would stroke our full bellies, basking in the security of home.

On Mondays we were served wih what was left of the roast, with chips. Tuesdays, more of Sunday's left-overs, fried potatoes mixed with what was left of the vegetables, bubble and squeak. On Wednesdays it was bread and dripping - the dripping from Sunday's roast. Thursdays, beans on toast, jam or treacle (my favourite) on toast. Friday was fish and chip night. It was dad's pay day. Once again we were in clover. He brought home the precious food wrapped in newspapers. We sprinkled the fish and chips with salt, drowned them with vinegar, then ate them out of the paper they were wrapped in. That saved washing up.

On Saturdays mum baked cakes: parkin, buns...and of course Cornish pasties. I loved my pasty smothered in gravy. I wish I had the recipe for those pasties, but it went to the grave with mum.

I loved baking days. Mum handed me the baking bowl, and I used my hand to scoop out what was left of the mix. I was so eager to eat the sweet goo that I almost swallowed my arm.

I remember the day when man first landed on the Moon. We huddled round a small black-and-white television set, absorbing every word that was said. It was pay-to-view TV. You had to drop two shillings into a slot to keep the thing running.

Mum stood by the window, gazing upwards. "Come see the spacemen land on the Moon,'' we said. "I can see the Moon,'' she replied "and nothing is happening. I don't believe a word they're saying.''

One day I peeked over her shoulder as she was trying to complete a crossword puzzle. The clue was "extinct animal''. Mum had written Elephant.

"Mum elephants are not extinct,'' I protested. "They soon will be the way we're all carrying on,'' was her reply.

Another talent of my wonderful mum was to restore clothes from rags to something that was wearable. Few clothes were thrown away. Holes in socks were darned. Patches were sewn onto the seat and knees of trousers. Collars and cuffs were removed from shirts, then sewn back on inside-out.

That was the age when everyting was repairable and recylable. Nothing went to waste.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.