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Open Features: Family Life: Five - Green Tomato Chutney

Lucy Oates recalls her father's gardening achievments.

To read earlier chapters of her life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=lucy+oates

The trouble with writing from memory is you don't always remember things in their correct order. This has made me remember that before Mother was ill,the work at the chapel was getting too much for her, so we moved from the chapel house at No 27 to No 19 Dunford Road. the bedrooms were bigger and we had a sitting room as well. Still an outside toilet, but it wasn't shared with anyone else.

I enjoyed working for Mr. Bainbridge the plumber and electrician, and I was shown how to mend a fuse, change a lampholder and a plug. Again this came in very useful in later life as we didn't have to pay to have small jobs done. After a year or so however, a job was advertised for a counterhand in the drapery depatment at the local Co-op. They wanted someone with the ability to do alterations. Father had been on the committee for many years so I applied and got onto the short list. He wasn’t able to attend the selection meeting and when I got the job he never went to another committee meeting. The relatives of staff were not allowed to serve on the committee.

He turned to gardening for a hobby. Getting two allotments by the house he grew really good peas, broad beans and after he got his greenhouse he grew lovely tomatoes, much better than any bought ones. He also grew gladioli and chrysanthemums, but when it was time for the chrysanths to be moved into the greenhouse, the tomatoes had to come out, but any green ones went into a basket hung up on the ceiling, Alice was very good at making green tomato chutney and also beetroot chutney.

Father entered the Chrysanthemum Show one year in the novices' class and won the Cup, having got two firsts and a second out of the three classes. I don't know if he realised how proud we were of him, to have won at the Huddersfield Chrysanthemum Show. He didn't enter again as the open classes were also for professional gardeners so they usually won.

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