Friday, 6 May 2011

Making the Most of the Weather: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy - Week 18.

This is the eighteenth challenge in in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.    Week 18 Weather.

Where would we be without the topic of the weather - in Britain it is a standard topic of conversation, one that oils the wheels of social contact.  And why?  Perhaps because the weather here is so varied and unpredictable, but at least we are largely spared the extremes of adverse weather, experienced elsewhere in the world.

I can't say I have any memorable weather memories from my childhood - I was too young to recollect the dreadful winter of 1947  I grew up in north-west England where winters were relatively mild, but  this was the days before tights and girls then did not wear trousers.    A Liberty bodice, skirt with short socks (short trousers for my brother), homeknitted jumpers and pixie hood,  wellington boots, gloves kept safe on string through my sleeves,  plus a long scarf criss crossed over my chest and tied at the back - this was the ritual dress for going out in winter in my early 1950's childhood.   I hated Liberty bodices - the rubber buttons were difficult to do and undo, and if the day got warmer you ended up all sticky inside them.   

 I have no winter photographs of my childhood - cameras must have  been reserved for summer (as here).

Snow meant the chance to make snowmen in the  garden.  Even if it was wet, that was no excuse to stay indoors - we donned welllingtons and an old rain coat and went outside to splash in puddles.  If we were stuck indoors, this was the time for make-believe games - creating a tent from a sheet over a clothes horse;  making glove puppets and putting on a play,  dressing up (essential pre-requisite a long skirt and something fancy for my head), sorting out my cut out dolls, games such as snakes & ladders, ludo and snap (animal snap even noisier) colouring books and painting - and of course curling  up on the settee with a good book - usually by Enid Blyton.   

In Summer we used to go on holiday to Bournemouth on the south coast of England where a great friend of my mother had moved to open a hotel. My main memory was of time on the beach, and enjoying the good weather.  Even on wet days we still went onto an empty beach and constructed a hide-away shelter from the deck chairs.

 Fast forward to 1963 (a notoriously bad winter).  We were living in Edinburgh then and I recall my mother worried at the non-arrival of my father from a business trip to London (before the days of mobile phones and instant communication).  He was stranded overnight on a train stuck in the Border hills, with an engine sent to rescue it also trapped.  He arrived home 12 hours late.  In the 1960's I was very proud of my fur hood - the fashion sstatement  of the times, with echoes of the Dr. Zhvago film.  
I was a September baby, so does that have any influence on my liking autumn?   I once read a comment of someone hating autumn because everthing was dying - what a sad outlook!   I loved as a child kicking through fallen leaves and collecting leaves to make into pictures. Now, living in the Scottish Borders,  I love the  the changing tree colours (can be as great as anything to match the more famous New England foliage), the colours reflected in my choice for both clothes and home, and the crisp air is great for walking,  And autumn fruits are among my favourite food.  

As for today's weather - to disprove "it always rains in Scotland", April has been brilliant  and sunny - the best since records began, with no signs of the proverbial April showers.  So I have been making the most of it in the garden (left)  

As for "being stuck at home in bad weather", It is probably only snow that stops me going out, especially as we live at the top of a hill and I have no intentions  of skating down it!  But what an opportunity to catch up on things I never feel I have the time for, such as baking, trying out a new recipe, doing  my crossstitch or patchwork and of course turning to my family history, the computer and my blog! 

You soon learn in Britain to set out to enjoy yourselves whatever our weather might throw at you! 


No, this is not the Greek Islands, but Scotland - looking across from the Isle of Iona to the Isle of Mull  -
just to prove we do get good weather here sometimes!

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great post -still not sure exactly how a liberty bodice differs from a singlet (sorry I'm an Aussie!). Love the pic of Mull from Iona -so gorgeous and such a peace-full location.

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