Monday, 27 February 2012

I Remember the Neck and Earhole Wash

Mother always told us, to wash behind our ears,
Neck and earhole what she called it, in our early years,

The only soap that we had at home as kids was the old green square tablet of carbolic soap, it came in double length pieces with a groove across the middle to either break or cut into two.
Mother had a bar of soap of her own that was scented, but she kept it hidden.
 As the carbolic soap was warn down with use almost too small to use and then was put in a big glass jar with a bit of water.
 This melted it down to a jelly, and over a period of time it built up, then on a washing day all or some if it was tipped into the dolly tub, or later into the new washing machine.

It was used on our hair as shampoo, and in the bath, if soap was needed it was carbolic, and always when we had our ‘neck and earole' wash.

I Remember the Neck and Earhole Wash

Mother always told us, to wash behind our ears,
Neck and earhole what she called it, in our early years,
This is where she always looked, for grime not yet reached,
It'll end up on the pillow, that is why she always preached.

At the sink with bar of carbolic, soap to those don't know,
Lather on your hands and flannel, sleeves rolled to the elbow,
Watched that we made good job, never did she miss,
Must admit it felt so fresh, we went to sleep in bliss.


Father was a dab hand at cutting our hair, but it was not something we ever looked forward to, particularly if he was tired from a hard days work. We had a high stool that the youngest of us sat on at the table, this was what he used while cutting our hair.

The hair clipper were hand operated, the head looked like small sheep shears ( cutter and comb ), and to operate the blades were two handles at the back like miniature scythe handles with knobs half way up to stop his fingers sliding while working them.

Sheep clippers probably work at a few hundred shithers a minuet,these at there fastest would be about fifty or sixty, or how ever fast they could be squose and released with his fist. The other equation in this job was how fast they were pushed up the back of your neck, too fast and its pulled out some of ya hair instead of cutting, and him thinking he was getting on with the job.

He nearly always started with the youngest, the one who would not keep still, so with a free hand would be firmly gripping his chin and face while he cut up the back with the clippers. His patience was often a little frayed by the next one, and so on until the last one had to bite his lip and hold tight to the chair as the clippers raced up for the short back and side job that he did.

I must say he was very good at hair cutting, but he never did anyone else's hair, he did it with pride in his job, if it's a furrow or drilling wheat it had to be straight, if it was hedge laying or thatching his hay or corn stacks they had to be well done and tidy, and so it was with hair cutting. (Even if it was sometimes done in a hurry)

I Remember father Cutting our Hair
It would be around 1946 we went to Seighford school

At the beginning of every, new school term,
Father said with long hair, you'll not learn,
So out with his scissors and comb and clipper,
And lifted us into the old high chair, start with the nipper.

Clippers are worked, by squeezing the handle,
Must be worked at a speed, more than an amble,
He oils them as if, he were clipping the sheep,
And expects us to sit there, without a peep.

He started with clippers, on back of your neck,
And clipped up to where, the cap fitted by heck
Pushing them up faster, than he was clipping,
Pulling your hair by the root, now started blarting. ( a local word for crying)

When he had finished, around sides and ears,
Quake as the comb and scissors appear.
Combing it back, to make it stand up,
And do it again, as if to warm-up,

Gauging the length, one finger neeth comb,
Cut off all sticks through, all over your dome.
Stand back to see if, it's even all round,
Snip to the lock that he missed, falls to ground.

No time for a cloth, round the shoulder or mirror,
Next one he lifts into chair, his turn to quiver,
Only five minuets it takes, as he sweats,
As with sheep, more you do, faster he gets.

The hair cut we had, when we now look back,
Was very much the same, as his corn stack,
Thatched on the top, trimmed up the side,
Old habits' never die, he does it with pride.


It's not white hair that engenders wisdom.
Menander (342 - 292 BC)

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