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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Winter Woolies: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 2.

This is the second challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history - a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011)  by Amy Coffin that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants     Week 2: Winter. What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc. 

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 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  Boys were stuck in short trousers until  the milestone of their voices breaking.  I have no winter photographs of my childhood - cameras must have  been reserved for summer.

Getting a cold meant a Vick rub on the chest and a hot drink of lemon and honey - my mother's panacea for everything.  Food was simple and hearty and all home prepared - a roast on a Sunday followed by cold meat & chips on Monday, sausage and mash, stews, cottage pie, steamed puddings such as spoted dick with custard  or golden syrup sauce, and rice pudding (ugh!), with the weekend treat fruit pies or crumbles and chocolate cake.  I can't remember ever going out to a cafe or restaurant  for a meal.

By 1963  (a notoriously bad winter) we were in Edinburgh and I recall my moother 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..

In the late 1960's I was very proud of my fur hood, the winter fashion statement of the times,  with echoes of the  Dr. Zhvago film.

Birthday 1978
Birthday 1977
My daughter was born in January which meant on birthdays it was always  a question,   will relations  and friends travel to the Borders for  her party?  (I know the snow we get is nothing compared to outher coutnries, but this is Britain where the excuse is we do not get bad winters often enough to deal with them efficiently.)

Then came all the talk of global warming, mild and wet winters (umbrellas the essential accessory) and the decimation of the Scottish sking industry.  2001 was a blip with some of  the worst snow for years, and Hawick was cut off for three days and I could not get to work.   I resorted to creative  cookery from what was in my store cupboard and for the first time for years had time to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

Winter 2001

We had to wait until 2009-10 and 2010-2011 for real winters to strike again, coinciding with the first two years of my granddaughter's life.   

She is enjoying it but I have now reached the stage of rather favouring winter hibernation!

Winter 2010 - the frozen Rriver Teviot

1 comment:

  1. I also remember the Vicks rub and lemon and honey drink for colds (administered when I was growing up in Southern California). Sorta miss that cure - I think it worked about as well as anything we ever used for my daughters' colds. An aunt also added a bit of rum to the lemon and honey - that didn't hurt, either.


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