15.03.2020  Author: admin   Diy Wood Projects To Sell
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Privacy policy Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. If the walls had contained a recess for a bed, we would have slept in there too. The kitchen faced north, onto the garden, its door re-hung to open outwards to give more space. Any attempt to open the door was resisted by all; even the cat had to cross its legs!

Our meals at home were repetitive and the maximum use of every scrap: saving beef dripping, stewing the meat bones for stock and soups, mixing butter and margarine together. The desired lump, cut off, salted, blended with a wooden cutter, and patted into shape with butter pats leaving a fancy set of marks, before placed into a greaseproof wrap. Coffee never drunk, being a middle-class beverage.

All main shops had an errand boy who delivered the order by bicycle with a basket on the front. Very few families had a refrigerator, normally dairy produce and meats would only last a few days, depending on the weather, all larders had a cold slab made of marble.

However, my mother persevered in all things, which would save money, so puddings were inevitably apple pie and custard. Our weekday clothes were bought second hand, patched repeatedly and darned — to the extent that the foot of a sock was more darn than not. However, Sunday clothes had to be special — to give a good impression. To all the country, the wireless was the chief form of entertainment in the home. To us children it was a liberating view of the wider world — something our parents never had, as well as an exciting form of whiling away moments between play.

There were many much loved programmes especially Out With Romany, written by Bramwell Evans in about , who pretended to go out for countryside rambles with his dog Raq and two children. All the interviewers and introduces were referred to as Uncles and Aunts. Later on, during the weekdays the family spent most of the time in the kitchen, as a special treat, most weekends, we gathered around the fire in the sitting room.

As routine, certain programmes looked forward to and formed special moments of togetherness and companionship. An enemy raid on Sidi Omar. This arrangement continued for many years, even after the war, to allow maximum daylight working hours. After the war, Saturday teatime about five o-clock, the full-time football results would be broadcast after the news.

The sing-song voice of the announcer, annunciating the score in such a way that the listener could guess the final result, would relay the information for the populace as a whole to take down the results — that they could find out if they had won the football pools prize and mark up their coupon.

How excited we all were as the scores mounted. Quite often, my father would go to MacFisheries fish shop to buy a pint of winkles — a small edible sea snail for our tea. My mother would butter some bread and he would bend some pins — to winkle out the snail.

They were lovely and we considered them a treat. Large planks and balks of wood sawn into logs, using the family saw. This my father sharpened by knocking out every alternate tooth of the saw and turning the saw over repeated the process the other side.

If extra care taken, he would file the teeth as well. Oil rubbed onto the saw to ease its passage through the wood and for the last inch; the log smashed to the ground to break it off. He would then chop the wood into pieces for both lighting the fire and into logs. If the axe or chopper proved difficult to cleave the log then a hammer helped it. The backdoor, with fan light above, lead out to the back yard and garden. It was built into the centre of the rear kitchen-wall, next to a small window — dutifully clothed in its regulation net curtain, under which resided an ancient gas stove with polished brass taps.

On the other side, the butlers sink — with traditional wooden drainer, above, which, a range of shelves containing toothbrushes and powder [just imagine the whole family using the same tin of tooth powder]. A whole range of, never to be disturbed, cleaning fluids and mugs… their own layer of clinging dust and debris added to over the years.

Underneath, hung on cup hooks, the flannel and dishcloth, scourer and bottlebrush… ever in the way, swaying and dripping, occasionally dropping into your bowl…. Opposite the back, door — in the corner — the door to the hall, the rest — a Welsh dresser and narrow fitted broom-cupboard.

The top section of the dresser — enclosed behind glazed doors — covered by a patterned film, the tea and dinner service. Under the shelves — screwed cup hooks, holding an assortment of cups, jugs and pots. The bottom of the dresser housed all our toys.

On the side of the dresser, next to the door, a pipe rack — holding at least six pipes… a letter rack, filled to the gills, took up the rest of the space beneath…. The radio relayed the fateful message that September. I can remember distinctly the concentrated silence — the whole house was stilled, as we all listened to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, tell the Nation — that Sunday, September 3 rd.

I was four so it must have been an event etched into my very being. The following May Churchill assumed office; the end of the month… saw the retreat from Dunkirk. My life remained unaltered… I saw and felt no change whatever; it was not until that September that the air raids, the searchlights, the anti-aircraft guns, began to focus attention on what was happening.

It took the victory at El Alamein and Stalingrad to mark a turning point… lead to ultimate victory. Still, that event was in the future, during which time I attended Infant School and marked the map printed in the newspapers as our troops advanced… dropped back… before advancing again….

Every householder had to fill in a census form on 29 th September , detailing who lived in his or her house. This information enabled the government to issue identity cards, a National Registration Number, and a ration book to each person. My mother had to queue as soon as the shop opened — often a scrabble to make for the counter bearing what was currently in short supply.

At home, what would have reminded the visitor that there was a war on, the rifle, propped up in the corner? My father was now in uniform, and his frequent trips away were a trial to my mother. The installation of the telephone all marked a change in routine. Life continued. The kitchen remained the focus, dominated by the dresser, the toy cupboard, and always… the fire…! The bread oven, never used for that purpose but to dry kindling — to light the fire in the morning.

We lived in perpetual fear that the whole lot would catch fire, which it frequently did. Strung under this mantle-shelf a washing line — hung the current tea towel. Above the shelf, a mirror — hanging from a string — with post cards decorating the sides. In front of the range — surrounding the hearth — enclosing the wooden, copper sheathed, fender and upholstered coal boxes — the brass railed fire-guard… also served as a clothes horse. When young we boys bathed in front of the fire in a tin bath — that hung outside the back door.

The towels stretched out warming on the guard ready to dry us when we stepped out onto the hearthrug. Mondays were always washing day; the clothes placed in a large, galvanised iron, washing tub over the gas burner; a convex bottom plate kept the washing off the bottom — from burning.

The washing boiled with frequent turning and pummelling with a large wooden spoon. Soapsuds came from, soda crystals and shavings taken from a Fairy soap block.

The washed clothes then taken out of the boiler and ferried dripping to the sink to be rinsed. Once rinsed, the clothes taken out to the back yard to be mangled, then hung to dry. The mangle, like all the mechanical apparatus in the house, was never new to the family and had seen better days.

To extract the maximum water from the clothes the tensioned roller springs were over-tightened by screwing down the tap-like screws at the top of the mangle — to then turn the rollers, using the crank-handle, needed the strength of ten men. The machine would creak and groan, to spew out its charge flat as a board, sometimes with all the buttons split. The wrung out clothes shaken out and hung on crossed washing lines that divided the backyard.

If it rained, the wet clothes hung on the airer in the kitchen or placed on the clotheshorse in front of the fire. Ironing day a Tuesday, using flat irons heated on the gas stove. I can remember my mother spitting on the iron to see if it was hot enough. The ironing done on a blanket laid on the kitchen table.

His trousers were pressed using an old tea towel to stop polishing the nap of the cloth — using soap from a thin bar run down the inside creases — then the whole ironed on the outside to give them extra sharpness. He always wore pinstriped trousers, black jacket and waistcoat, watch chain, black greatcoat and highly polished shoes topped off with a bowler hat; always carried a pair of leather gloves, brief case, and furled umbrella during the day, at night a silver-topped walking stick.

Mother cleaned and tidied the house but not to the extent that she could be accused of being house-proud. Life proceeded in an orderly manner with the rules laid down by my father. Meals expected at a set times… the weekly routine never altered… made for continuity — a reliable settled existence maintained. There was little formality except when an aunt came to tea and the front room used.

The few visitors who did visit came to see my mother, which was during the day and only then for a cup of tea in the kitchen. I do not remember my parents doing much dusting or carpet cleaning. The Goblin vacuum cleaner did not work and there were no feather dusters. Damp tealeaves scattered over the carpet then sweptusing a dustpan and brush or the Eubank cleaner fetched from the cupboard under the stairs. The damp leaves attracted the dirt and the collection achieved without causing more dust.

This old Victorian habit took the place of sawdust. If there was any hard and dirty work like cleaning the gas stove, heavy gardening, hedge clipping, beating the rugs, blacking the stove, fetching the coal, cutting the wood, cleaning the shoes, decorating and cleaning all the brass work, my father did it. Windows attended to by the window cleaner the only outside labour my parents engaged.

There were never any arguments or discussions about what work that had to be done. My mother was not into DIY nor anything mechanical or electrical. A spring clean was an annual event and taken as an opportunity was taken to apply white wash and distemper to the walls and ceilings. Nothing was ever wasted; worn clothes altered, patched or darned.

Faded clothes were dyed, frayed collars turned, worn sheet top and tailed, towels became flannels, and flannels became dishcloths and dishcloths consigned to the shed. Orange boxes became bedside cupboards, bricks used to take up room in the fire to save coal. Buttons saved lace hoarded, wood stored. Our basic kitchen furniture consisted of an old, dark, polished wood, dressing table which had a hinged flap screwed onto one side — always covered in an off white oil cloth, which had two drawers to the front holding all the cutlery and kitchen utensils.

Under the table was a box on roller bearings — pulled out for extra seating at meal times, a wooden carver, and a folding, wooden-slatted chair. This made up the seating arrangements, augmented by a deck chair — naturally claimed by my father.

For some strange reason our taps would drip incessantly. The tap assembly held into the body by a nut, the size of which our toolbox could not provide a spanner. An adjustable spanner was the universal tool used in almost all cases where a spanner was required. Unfortunately, the adjustable screwing mechanism was deficient of its stub screw. This unfortunately was missing so you had to hold the adjusting screw in with your first finger and thumb whilst turning the wrench.

I was fascinated by the more than excessive grunting and banging so enquired how he was getting on. He explained the intricacies he was experiencing — trying to make a repair using the much used tool kit on a more than stubborn nut.

I do not know what came over me but I remarked how I thought he was being a bit of a twat. He exploded, leaping to his feet whilst bashing his head on the bottom of the sink. I retreated at speed he meanwhile shouting out that I ought to know what I was saying — that I should look up the word in a dictionary.

Later I did just that finding out that I had called him a female genital. I felt such a fool and have never used that term again. Just look at any of the nuts in our house and you will see they all have rounded sides — made by slipping spanners and wrenches. I have known my father resort to tapping a screw round with a screwdriver and a hammer, which made the already rounded nut lethal for unsuspecting users.

The tiles, which surrounded the kitchen sink, did not help because they were only a millimetre away from the tap — there was not a great deal of space to do any repairs.

Having the flannel and dishcloth hanging up under the overhead cupboard was also very handy for they provided extra grip.

Such things were not considered important enough to move — were after all handy to stem any blood flow caused by the slipping pipe wrench. Job preparation by my father was always a little sketchy because he always approached any task with a positive approach. To repair a leaking tap he sought out just one spanner. This meant that he was always going backwards and forwards to the shed gradually to work-through our set of prehistoric tools. Holes would appear in the surface and bits sawn off the sides — made it look as if termites had been at work.

These incidences made up much of my home life, later on used to bring laughter to family gatherings, and remembered with relish. From the hall, the stairs led upto a landing with four doors leading off to three bedrooms and bathroom. The entry to the loft was by trapdoor in the landing ceiling. The lagging to the mains water pipe leading to the cold storage tank sketchy at the best of times.

Every year the annual freeze-up necessitated the pipes and inlet valve, to the storage tank, thawed out. A small paraffin heater put into the loft at night to stop the pipes from freezing-up did not always provide sufficient heat. My brother and I thought this exciting; to my father it was a calamity. It was usually the inlet valve and short section of pipe, which lead from it. Hot water bottles passed up through the hatch, candles and paraffin lamps lit to thaw out the pipes. With any luck, there would be a hissing noise and the water would start to flow back into the cold-water tank.

The bathroom, at the head of the stairs, was to the left. This contained the airing cupboard, the bottom half reserved for the galvanised hot water tank. The hot water, heated by a very small back-boiler, at the back of the kitchen range being highly inneficient — most of its heat needed in the kitchen, not for heating the water.

The hot water system at onetime did operated fairly efficiently if coal was used. My father shaved and washed in the kitchen very early in the morning before we children, surfaced.

My mother did her ablutions later, during the day — in peace and quiet. Normally, hot water provided by a kettle carried upstairs — for those who were shy. Each of the bedrooms, except for the box room, had small cast iron fire grates and surrounds. These were lit on very special occasions — an illness or the birth of my youngest brother. Before the hearth, a fender… gave boundary — to a small hearthrug. Both rooms had carpet squares with an outer border of linoleum.

All the rooms in the house had the walls papered. This claim to middle class convention continued for many years. The wallpaper, purchased from the hardware shop, needed the lap removed to match-up the pattern… achieved with a pair of scissors.

Eventually the manufacturer cut this off. Over the years, my father tired of papering and decorated the walls by distempering over the paper… the simple solution. The windows curtained… with the addition of nets, by convention, always drawn. My brother and I, were shepherded off to bed promptly at nine, armed with a sock-wrapped hot water bottle, and tucked up in bed with two goodnight prayers:. Whichever, the calming influence of the familiar words soon had us off-to-sleep.

Outside: the owls hooted and cats screamed, as the ghostly trains hurried by on the way to Aylesbury trailing smoke and steam their whistles fading away in the night sky…. Beyond the back door lay the concreted backyard — which ran: to the width of the house, side passage, and to about fourteen feet — out into the garden.

My father, at regular intervals, had delivered from his rail yard a lot of used wood. Over time, this was cut-up and chopped for firewood. The garden shed, with laid brick floor, nestled next to the coal sheds — in the corner of the yard. Inside a workbench and a number of shelves lined the walls. To us boys the shed was a source of continual mystery and experiment — gave us lots of enjoyment and excitement. It was packed with a variety of useless tools and half-used materials, piled on top of each other — each vying with each other for space.

The roof beams held a myriad collection of nails, hooks, and screws, each supporting another collection of articles of fascination and awe. Access denied to us initially by a padlock — in time, picked so often that eventually left unlocked.

Folding slatted chairs and a table of indefinite vintage. It was all inviting and we children used all its resources to construct gang huts, tree houses, soapbox carts, stilts, and cricket bats. The assorted tools had the look of Iron Age implements. It could have held the most stubborn of rusted nuts except that the turning screw on the shank had such enormous play it was impossible to make any sort of final adjustment.

From the pole, nailed to the near corner of the shed, ran the radio aerial… strung between two porcelain separators. The wire passed through the kitchen window frame… along the shelf… into the ancient wireless set, there, held in its aerial socket by a matchstick. We were all very concerned when there was an electrical storm — that this arrangement would attract a lightning bolt, when we expected the house to go up in flames or at least the radio to give its final shriek…!

I do remember my father resurfacing the back yard. Like anything else father did, the task was to be completed with minimum effort at maximum speed. To achieve that, the procedure had to follow a set plan. Unfortunately, the plan did not include the right dress, proper preparation, correct tools, or the best materials in the correct proportions.

My father would approach the job in his normal rig-of-the-day, giving the job its proper recognition of difficulty and respect by rolling up his sleeves. Large screwdrivers, filed down to take small screws, the coal shovel act as a trowel, wood rasps to smooth metal, metal files to smooth wood. Speed was essential for all tasks, minimum effort — an equally important work goal; technical difficulties overcome by muscle power and any onlookers bamboozled by an enormous flurry of arms and legs.

Fine-tuning and attention to detail given due respect by a fine selection of hammers: that had rounded heads, heads that flew off — handles that was not at right angles or split. All these would have proved to be a mountain to be climb but the job was still possible, if…. A load of sand delivered and a quantity of cement obtained. The cement, long past its sale-by-date with bag split, was comprised of large lumps. These rocks had to be broken up, crushed, and sieved — to produce some semblance of the original powder.

In crushing, the pile reduced in size, it now looked as if it might be in short? The sand too, had its own variety of foreign particles — came from a number of sources — indeed, multi grained. A tin bath, employed to hold the cement mixture, had a quantity of sand and cement added. The duel-purpose coal-shovel stirred — mixed a slightly aqueous gritty substance ready for spreading.

The yard contained the mangle, a large box — very much like a cold frame, which held firewood, the rabbit hutch, and sundry other, bits, and pieces. This extraneous matter treated as part of the permanent structure — by its longevity. It has always stood countless soldiers in good stead to apply these basic rules.

There are however, another two, which did not apply in this instance, although we children used them on countless occasions. Do not be caught, not carrying something, and, if moving abroad in daylight hours, do so urgently. My father was an old soldier…! The mixture was now ready for spreading.

It soon became apparent that using the right proportions of the cement would soon run out — savings would have to be put in place.

Father decided that 8: 1 would have to do — after all, there would not be a lot of wear on the surface. It was soon discovered the shovel was not up to the job in hand. The wooden handle dropped off — meant holding the metal sleeve. Some of the cement stuck to the surface of the shovel, which steadily grew — increasing its weight, [This never came off and dried solid].

That did not slow down the job only made my father speed up. The yard broom, like all brooms in our house, required tapping down — to ensure the head was securely attached to the handle — which it never was.

It was not odd to see a screw hammered in to secure the handle instead of a nail. This was viewed, like many others, as a temporary fixing, awaiting a more permanent job, later… This was never successful. It could have many nails, of mixed parentage, sticking into the head like a porcupine… some oval others round, with or without heads… Numbers did not always guarantee a firm result. By watering down the mixture a coat of light grey, sandy cement, could brushed on.

At last…! Here was a technique that would solve all the problems — time left to do the job, degree of muscle power available, after much effort, tamping to achieve level and smoothness, and sort out the now obvious lack of materials. Soon the job completed… tools put away — with their own coating of cement, especially the shovel. The broom, now the multipurpose leveller and spreader, was the last tool to be used — walking backwards brushing as one went… could not be dunked in the water barrel to clean it off so retained, ever afterwards, a healthy amount of grit.

It did not take long for the rain to cause its own effects upon the drying mixture. Small rivulets of grey cement channelled its way down the garden steps on to the lawn making the end result something like the Ganges delta. Ever afterwards, the yard grated under ones feet and a thick dust-cloud blew round the side entrance. It was never the same again — I do not ever remember the yard ever being free of grit swirling around — in any sort of wind!

The garden which led off the back yard was to be found below a series of brick steps cut into the bank leading to the lawn. A random curved stone path ran to the ditch at the bottom of the sixty-foot garden. This ditch was a drain — a tributary of the river Pinn, enclosed in a four feet diameter concrete pipe. Flowerbeds ran down each side of the garden from top to bottom. At the bottom of the garden was an oval bed and the side farthest away from the house was four small trees.

This oval flowerbed was, during the first part of the Second World War, our air raid shelter. Our never-never land was at the bottom of the garden, well away from the house. We became very adept lock pickers. Fortunately, they were very simple locks. The garden steps, flanked by two rather moth-eaten, variegated leafed, privet-hedges lead down to the lower garden and lawn.

Their brick construction — their goings one brick high and treads two stretcher bricks deep, were about a yard wide… These provided a number of wheeled contraptions with a suitable descent …. To ease the decent, boards propped up to take away the bumps to make a smoother ride…. Initially, when it had all its wheels, our first carriage was a horse on wheels. Finally, a home built soapbox-on-pram-wheeled, go-cart; boasting many modifications — add-ons and adaptations, all designed to surpass all others… it was to be the fastest thing on wheels.

Extra propulsion — provided by a gentle guiding hand, gave an initial start… this soon became a more vigorous push which considerably increased momentum. After, a go each — excitement being then at its peak, the push turned into an enormous heave taken at a spirited run. This, upping of the danger levels — from running shove to gigantic heave always ended in catastrophe… me crying.

Friday the 1st of September, , was a momentous day. Germany invaded Poland, completely subjugating the nation in four weeks; in a similar number of days, the defeat of Holland followed.

Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg invaded and overrun… shortly afterwards, and the great retreat began… ending with evacuation from Dunkirk on June 4 th. My brother started school the next day, which was a far more monumental event… for me. Prior to the war being declared the Government considered whether air-raid shelters should be built — not for individuals but for high-ranking government employees or particular scientists, living in range of enemy bombers.

It was decreed that particular individuals could apply for special dispensation. Local Councils would deliver free shelters to individuals in need, mostly families, but only in specific danger zones. There were two types of air-raid shelter for families: the Anderson shelter, named after the then Home Secretary, Sir John Anderson, which was a corrugated iron structure with a domed roof for outside — could be either partially sunk in the garden or completely buried — catered for a maximum of six.

They were extremely damp — suffered from condensation and needed to be properly installed — with sump and pump, or proper drainage channel, routed to a soak away. A special bomb blast wall was needed to protect the entrance. The second was a three-foot high steel-topped table with steel-mesh sides — for use inside the house; this was a Morrison shelter, devised by Herbert Morrison.

It was not long before both types were unused — being too inconvenient. People preferring to hide under the stairs, in basements or under the kitchen table, particularly the latter — it was warmer and less damp. Street shelters — to provide for the population of a small road, a windowless oblong brick built structure, with a flat, nine-inch reinforced concrete roof was built at convenient places throughout North Harrow. Our nearest was stationed near the crossroads — at the end of the road. Its main fault, when there was a near miss, the bomb-blast would collapse the walls and the very heavy roof crushed those inside.

They were extremely cold, airless, damp, and smelly; had neither light nor heat and did not boast a door or window. I do not remember anyone using one with a positive outcome… in retrospect; they were a waste of money and effort. Those shelters, which did save thousands of lives, were those that had been purpose built — deep — mainly underground railways.

During the Battle of Britain — the most critical period, people bought platform tickets and waited underground until the all clear sounded. Later, the government realised the benefit and allowed people to enter the platforms after dusk, free of charge — planned a proper organised arrangement for Londoners using the underground railway system.

At the outbreak of the war father dug a trench at the bottom of the garden. A shallow trench with sandbagged walls. From a military standpoint, this was undoubtedly true — allowing easy access and escape. However, for a purely practical family shelter suitable for all weathers a more conventional structure with a roof would have been better. Still, as our shelter was never put to the test, and I do not remember any of my friends needing to use theirs either, perhaps my dad was right.

Even during the most frightful of raids our family never so much as retired to the cupboard under the stairs. What garden furniture did grace the lawn was skimpy — consisted of a seat on a canopied swing and a handmade garden bench painted green. At the right hand corner of the garden, a tall copper beech tree — our tree house — accessed by a rope ladder. Next door, the Tripps had an enormous Lombardy poplar tree, which dominated the area — taking all the goodness out of the surrounding gardens.

During, and just after the war, we kept chickens, as a number of other families did, and occasionally, a rabbit too! Our family was never without a tabby cat. It often monopolized mums lap… playing with the knitting wool… whose kittens — arrived in frequent litters…. Separating all the neighbouring gardens was an open wood fence tightly enclosed behind obligatory privet hedges. At the bottom of the garden, a close-boarded fence indicated the boundary — divided us from the houses in Canterbury Road.

At its foot, ran a ditch and stream — a tributary of the river Pinn. This stream had been contained in a four-foot diameter concrete pipe and serve as a storm drain. Dig for Victory, Wartime Allotments, The Kitchen Front, The Kitchen Waste collection and Pig Club were all government initiatives — instigated to provide incentives to spur people on — to help themselves and others.

The object was to become independent and self-sustaining. It was declared unpatriotic by a government official, to feed birds or throw anything away which could be recycled. The lawn, laid on either side of the garden path — from the bottom of the steps to the oval flower bed at the other end of the garden, was undulating because at the start of the war garden owners were encouraged to dig up their lawns and turn them into allotments — which my parents did.

As far as that went all was well. Like most other plans, it came to naught… grass replanted itself in the levelled off patch. The indentations were never totally made good — the lawn assumed the feature of an ancient burial site. The already much used lawn mower — an apology for a gardening aid, never had its blades sharpened or set and would have graced any respectable antique shop.

The adjusting nuts, their corners rounded by frequent attention, did the job without their necessary locking nuts. The uninitiated who attempted fine-tuning ended up having bruised and bloodied knuckles. The selection of spanners, of doubtful manufacture acquired over the previous industrial age, was impressive — in size and assortment… but rarely delivered up the correct size.

This fault, however, was secondary to the lack of sharp blades properly set. The handlebars covered by rubber grips — over time worn and torn. Rubbed raw blisters on your hands. This slipping, of the smooth back rollers, also added to the grass becoming squashed, scuffed, and made many flattened mud patches. None of this was helped by the handles of the mower being adjusted too low — the pusher always started with a slight stoop which would progress to become like a potato picker — doubled up.

The reader has to picture all this going on with my father who never removed his jacket, always insisted on wearing a waistcoat and continued to wear long johns even during the hottest of summers. He wanted to show the neighbours that everything was going according to plan — that the mowing was effortless — accomplished with panache and skill, even when the chain had jammed and the stationary rollers skidded on the muddy surface.

My father used oil and grease on the mower as tools rather than lubricants… a trail of black slime followed the mower wherever it went. Today, the mower would be an heirloom and much sought after — fetch a tidy sum at the Antique Road Show. The slack driving chain contributed to the already worn down driving sprocket. The front wooden rollers had always been there, partially rotted away by being left with mud and grass cuttings over the winter months.

Overall, it was an excuse of a lawn. The weeds grew abundantly, provided extra pocket money for us boys to prise them out with a weed trowel, and the depressions created pools of water unable to escape from the present glutinous clay soil. One flowerbed held two apple trees, a cooker, and a very sweet red desert apple. Both trees produced apples so small and worm eaten they were hardy worth peeling. That never put my mother off extracting the maximum from what the gardens offered.

Apple pie was mums forte, first and last. There is no doubt that by the end of the nation had developed a core of fortitude. It was not obvious to the casual onlooker but underneath — showed itself increasingly by grim determination — a flame that was not going to be extinguished.

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