Monday, 19 December 2011

We wus Brung up Proper (1940's)

Did we as kids Survive (four of us brothers) coarse we did

On hearing the back door open, it was never locked,
Foot steps in the kitchen, bedroom door we chocked,
Then we heard mothers Coo-eee, relieved to hear her call,
Have you missed me duckies, we bloomin have an all.
(Our farm house was out on its own and scary at night)

Looking at kids of today all pampered and molly coddled, with all the mobile phones and Ipods, Nintendo Wii. X -boxes and video games, it seems it's every thing you can think of to keep them inside and isolated from social interaction with other children.
After all I was brung up in a cot painted with lead paint, and medicine was always a liquid in different colourer bottles, no child proof lids. In Purple bottles was poison, and I know there was some sort of colour code as to, whether you swallowed the medicine or rubbed it in, just can't remember.
But we survived

In the car we never had seat belts, and the tyres wore out down to the inner tubes, and the parking brake was often a half house brick carried with you. No winking indicators, only an illuminated orange finger that lifted out of the door pillar, this often got knocked off when left on when it shouldn't be.
When we were old enough (11) we had an air gun. Must say there was a mishap when one of our gang popped his head up and copped a slug to his forehead, we did try to get it out by holding him down but the lead slug had flattened on his skull, so we had to let him run home and then to hospital and we got into deep trouble.
And when we were reported to the police, our parents were all on the side of the law, and did not stick up for us.
But we survived (and the one who copped the slug, he's 70 now and still got the mark on his forehead).

We got caned at school, in my opinion for nowt, but then we did try to do thing our way at times, and on the way home we fell out of trees, got plenty bumps and bruises, but then you learn to hold tight and not fall.
When we played football, it seemed every one was a centre forward, with a great group of us lads milling round the ball all competing to have a shot at goal, no one passed the ball, it was every mon for himself. If you did not get a kick and were not bold enough to charge in, it was no use canting and moaning to your parents.
But we all survived

We went tracking, two or three would set out with half an hour lead, laying down arrows along the way of twigs or grass or stones indicating the way they had gone. This would last for hours, arriving back dirty wet and often blooded from the excursions through woods and brambles, remember we all wore short trousers back then. This lasted all day and no one ever came looking for us and I don't think anyone was lost. (or died to my knowledge).
And we all still survived.

Dads farm workshop would be taken over at times when he was not about, the tools came in handy for converting old prams into go carts, where one on the front would sit with his feet on the front axle and a cord to steer with and the other ‘man' would sit with his back to the driver and provide the propulsion, even going down bank it would be important to go faster than your rival, best place was on the public roads, down a bank with a blind bend in our back lane

Until of course the village bobby, who was about on his bike nabbed us, and gave the cheeky ones a sharp clip round the ear with the back of his hand. The police man, our village police man never held back when punishment was to be handed out, again our parents seemed pleased we had been caught, and never seemed to defend us against him.
But we survived

We wus brung up on bacon for breakfast, bacon that was half fat and lean, and slices hand cut from the flitch (half pig) hanging in the pantry. Hand cut thick slices of bread, ( sliced bread had not been invented) floating in almost an inch deep bacon fat, and fried until it smoked, but it never killed us.
Cheese, no slice cheese then, it was cut from a huge wedge in great lumps and eaten with crusty bread, if you had cheese you did not have butter as well, nowadays they call it plough mans lunch.

We, all four of us survived

We learned to swim in the river, and just for fun would plaster black mud all over ourselves, and then dive in, in the deepest corners of the river, narrowly missing what we thought was a whirlpool, to wash clean again. The old railway cottage down where the river and railway almost meet, lived a family. In the summer their well would run dry, and when they wanted a bath they would got to the river with a bar of soap and towel. No one worried about diseases back then in the rivers, it was a matter of being up stream from where the cattle watered and they always stood in the river when the gad flies were about. (Cattle almost invariably lift their tails while standing in the river and it was said gad flies never crossed water)
And we survived that as well.

You could only get Easter eggs and hot cross buns at Easter time, strawberries only in late June July time, turkey was only at Christmas and goose for new year. There were no pizza shops, no McDonalds, no KFC, or Indian restaurants, but some bright spark did loaded up a fish and chip fry pan outfit into a van, and toured the out laying villages having a regular round visiting our village on one evening a week.
It was coal fired and after he had served his customer at their front gate, before moving on would put a bit more coal on his fire, I expect he could get a good draw on the fire with the speed, he always had a plume of black smoke from his chimney where ever he went, he did a regular trade for quite a few years.

Looking Back them Years Ago

Looking back them years ago, when we were little boys,
We bumped our knees and elbows, and father made us toys,
Played around the farmyard, in and out the sheds,
Testing all the puddles, thick mud into the house it treads.

When at first we started school, father trimmed our hair,
Combed and washed with new cap, new shoes without compare
Short trousers and new jacket, a satchel on our back,
We all went there to study, but often got a smack.

Times tables chanted every morning, and the alphabet,
Till we knew them off by heart, of this I‘ve no regret,
Isn't till you leave school, that you realise,
How useful school and education, help to make us wise.

Father showed us all his skills, from very early age,
Studied Farmers Weekly, read almost every page,
The pictures they were mainly, of inter-est to us,
News and reports on prices, what a blooming fuss.

We also had the Beano, a comic for us kids,
Dandy and the Eagle, must have cost dad quid's,
Him he had his farmers weekly, it must be only fare,
Mother had a knitting book, for inspiration n' flare.

It must have taken fifteen years, till we felt grown up,
Left alone at home at night, parents meeting as a group,
In fact it was a whist drive every Friday night,
We supposed to be in bed, but sometimes had a fright.
(Our farm house was out on its own and scary at night)

An owl it hooted in bright moonlight, scared us all to death,
Door that blew in wind, with fright we nearly lost our breath,
Scooted up the stairs so fast, and under the bedclothes dove,
In darkness we were frightened, it was for courage that we strove.

On hearing the back door open, it was never locked,
Foot steps in the kitchen, bedroom door we chocked,
Then we heard mothers Coo-eee, relieved to hear her call,
Have you missed me duckies, we bloomin have an all.

So our sheltered life was over, sometimes fended for our selves,
Mother learned us basic cooking, as long as plenty on the shelves,
One at a time we left home, with basic thing that we were taught,
This knowledge we're to build on, foundations life not bought.

Countryman (Owd Fred)

Learning is not compulory........Neither is survival
W. Edwards Deming  (190 - 1993)