Times change.

I was just reading a blog post that sent me reminiscing.
The lectionary reading has set the Rev. preaching about consumerism the last two weeks. He was brought up in “Old Reekie” Edinburgh, with buses and shops and cinemas and all the conveniences of a City.
In contrast, I grew up in a tiny village in the depths of Sussex.

Our house was next to the horse, the bike is leaning on the railings. We didn’t usually use the store as it was too expensive, but we did go to get bacon, which was sliced while you waited, and sugar was weighed and wrapped in blue paper. The village didn’t change much  in appearance until the 70’s.

Our bread arrived in the bakers van and he brought it to the door in a huge, handled basket . My Mother then selected her loaf. Sometimes there were extras ,such as hot cross buns or a chelsea bun. The fish man came on Friday,also the Grocer who wore a brown version of the Bakers’ white coat, the same as Doctors wear. The Corona Man, remember those drinks, came Wednesdays, always a good day for us kids! Cream soda to die for, and the Butcher came on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A topside roasting joint, steak for stew, and sausages. The order never varied, nor did my Mothers’ cooking…..everything got cremated. I didn’t know that food had any other taste than burnt, until I left home!
Other days were Corned beef fritters and boiled eggs in cheese sauce! There was no choice, you ate it or went hungry.

That was why I learned to cook, and why my children always got one other choice.

It wasn’t just tradesmen who came to call, there were often gypsies selling pegs or heather. Mum always gave them something, as she was very superstitious, the gypsy either blessed or cursed.
In our shed was a big bag called the “rag bag”. All old clothes and material that couldn’t be used were put into this bag. Usually during the summer, a horse would be heard clopping through the village, and a weather beaten man would shout, “raaaaagnbooon”, we children were scared of him and ran and hid. We had heard tales from our grannies about gypsies stealing children! He was only earning a living, and peeping from behind a bush in the front garden, I watched him sharpen my Mum’s kitchen knives and scissors on a big stone wheel in the cart behind the horse. Recycling is not new.

A prim lady used to call selling bibles and childrens’ books. I remember getting a bible of my own with a red cover and coloured plates inside. Jesus was as white and blonde as me! It never occurred to me that he lived in the Middle East, not that I would have known where that was. London , I was told ,was the furthest away place I needed to know about, and very bad people lived there! This was when I was still at Primary School.( I learned that the world was much bigger when I went to Grammar School 16 miles away.)

We didn’t have a phone in the house, we got a bathroom when I was 11, and a cooker!, before it was a Rayburn. We didn’t have a fridge until I was 8, perishables were kept in a zinc cabinet
I remember a very happy childhood, but I can’t say that it is better than the life my children have. Life, technology, church all keep moving on, nothing stands still. We have to keep bending and changing too. I’m sure my son will someday say to his children, we used to spend all day in our bedrooms playing computer games…….


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