Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Bells! The Bells!

I’d like to take you a little farther into my grandmother’s house so come through the kitchen with me.   Apart from the back door the only way out of the kitchen led into a very dark corridor known as the passage.  The passage was used for hanging coats but children found it to be a wonderful place, for in the passage there were the bells.  In an earlier age there would have been maids in such a large house as this, although grandma had no such help.  The bedrooms would each have had a bell pull to summon the maids and these were connected by a system of wires to the bells hanging in the passage.  We children loved to play with the bells but adults endured it for a very short time only!  Oh the temptation!

Half way along the passage there was a door off to the left which led to the pantry.  This was quite a large room and here Grandma kept not just food but crockery, cutlery and the paraphernalia of food preparation.  There was a brick gantry and on there were kept the great pansions of cream, covered with muslin and waiting for the next butter making session.  There was a small cupboard whose door was made of fine mesh wire; this was the meat safe.  Flies were always a problem and food umbrellas and muslin cloths were needed for everything.

Washing up was always done in the pantry in a bowl on a table.  One quickly learnt the best order to wash pots as there was only one bowl of water, heated on the stove and carried through for there was no tap of any kind in the pantry. 

Beyond this pantry there was another pantry (there were three pantries in all) and this one was used for storage.  The thing I remember most clearly is the great wooden trough in which bacon was cured.


I realise that I may have made life in that farmhouse sound almost idyllic but it was very hard work for my grandmother.  I was privileged to have such wonderful times there in my childhood.

8 comments:

  1. I would love a big pantry to store jams and pickles in beautiful jars and collect enamel pots. Its nice to dream.

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  2. Such an interesting post, thank you for sharing

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  3. Nowadays houses are never built with pantries. They were such a useful part of the house. Grandma kept so much in hers, including a big pan of eggs in Waterglass. What they tasted like I cannot remember, but it was a solution for keeping them fresh. I think!

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    1. I can just about remember preserved eggs - I think. They were not very good and were used in recipes which would disguise them.

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  4. I wish you had photos! I can just visualize this house on the inside and I think the bells are very interesting!

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    1. Sorry, my family left there fifty years ago and shots of house interiors were not for the likes of us! I wish I had some though!

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    2. That is a shame, for sure but I know how you feel. My mother didn't much believe in "Kodak moments" so there are no photos for most things in my life. The photos that I have generally came from somebody else. But, you have your memories and that is what counts.

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  5. Your next letter will go out on Tuesday as we have a postal holiday on Monday. I don't know how long it is taking for them to get to you but it should be there soon.

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