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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Being with Grandma

Isn’t it funny how when you’ve known something for ever, you stop really looking at it?  I knew my grandparents’ house throughout my childhood until they moved when I was thirteen, but it had never really struck me what an elegant house it is/was until I read some of the comments. 

My lovely grandma
The interior would not strike anyone as elegant!  One came out of the yard into the back kitchen where there was a big scrubbed pine table in the middle of the room.  That was the main place for food preparation as there was a Calor gas stove for cooking and a big old fashioned Belfast sink.   Water was piped into the house when I was about eight but before that it had to be fetched from the outside scullery.   On that table grandma did her baking, prepared vegetables and once a week churned butter in the old wooden churn.  I loved helping with butter making.  My grandmother had her own unique pattern which she would stamp into each block of butter and I was usually allowed to make one pat myself with a very different pattern on it.  Making butter was physically hard work as water had to be boiled to “scald” the churn and actually standing and turning the churn handle for quite a long time certainly made one’s arms ache.

Above the table there were all sorts of things hanging from the beams but the thing I remember most clearly was the basket used for collecting eggs.  My grandmother had a couple of dozen hens which scratted in the yard.  They were her hens and the egg money, such as it was, was hers too.  She used to rear a few chicks which always included a few cockerels which were for the pot.

Every day the post woman, Mrs Stevenson as I remember, would cycle from the village and was a valued link with the outside world.  The farm had no telephone when I was a child so all communication was by letter.  Mrs Stevenson had to wait a while in case my grandmother wanted to write any urgent replies.  She would have a cuppa and there would be a news swap.

It’s about fifty years since our family gave up that farm and my grandparents were very old fashioned even for the fifties and sixties.  I think I am very privileged to have experienced that lifestyle.  I’ve really enjoyed writing this post.  It’s brought back so many memories.  I hope you enjoy reading it,


  1. What lovely memories, sounds like an enchanting childhood.

  2. Wonderful memories, it reminded me of my grandparents little farm.

  3. I too think you're very privileged to have experienced every bit of that!

    The part about the post woman having to sit and wait in case of an urgent reply... wow, what a different time indeed. Just thinking of that as a reality gives me gleeful tinges. Wow! And to think we've texts with to communicate now (myself not included)...

  4. I did enjoy reading it! You were very lucky to experience life with your Grandma. My life with my grandparents was pretty typical 1950's American. With that said, when my grandfather was growing up in Pennsylvania, the son of Welsh immigrants, his life was a bit more old fashioned -- it was his job to clean the chimneys on the gas lights in the house! I always thought that sounded so old fashioned and quaint!