Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few Memories

Below is St Leonard's Church in the village of Scarcliffe in Derbyshire.  It was very, very cold in the churchyard yesterday as we placed a holly wreath on Mum and Dad's grave.  Paul and I were married at this church as were my sister and brother-in-law.  Just a week before our wedding in April there was snow on the ground but it had cleared away and as we stood in church the sun came out and filtered through the leaded windows.

This is a view of the village from Foxes Hill - completely surrounded by snow.  We experienced many cold winters here in the 1950s and 1960s.  I remember waking up to frost and ice on the inside of the bedroom windows; the way we all gathered around an open fire at night not wanting to face the cold bedrooms upstairs even though hot water bottles had been placed in the beds an hour before.  I remember cold waits for buses that never got through into the village.  In the bad winter of 1962/63 the bus did get through to take us to school but it came off the road and  ended up on a slope.  We all had to clamber out of the emergency door at the back and the head girl at the time, who lived in the village, marched us all to school in twos through the cold and snowy lanes.

On Sunday we finally got the Christmas decoration up.  The tree below is in the conservatory

I love opening up the boxes of decorations and remembering what we have and sorting out which items will go on which tree.  I do like colours to match so we have a red and green theme above and a gold and green one on the tree below which is in the sitting room.

I was reading somewhere the other day about the most unusual Christmas present you had ever received.  Well, it wasn't particularly unusual but my Aunt Millicent Mabel, known as Auntie Millie, always gave me and my mother a hand made apron and a huge bar of chocolate.  One year we went to visit and take our cards and present to her and she handed ours to us with the words -'here's your presents - I haven't been feeling well so you'll have to sew up the aprons yourselves'.  When we opened them up on Christmas Day there was the chocolate and the cut out pieces of the apron all ready to sew together.   I remember waking one Christmas to find my pillow case of presents and sitting on top was a blue and white panda.  I still have the panda, although it is more grey and grey nowadays, in a box with two other bears that I can't bear to part with.  I remember receiving things like pens and pencils, colouring and puzzle books,  a selection box,  Secret Seven or Famous Five books, a board game, Mr potato head and a favourite of mine - a fuzzy felt circus!   What childhood presents do you remember?


  1. A lovely post! I used to love Famous Five and Secret Seven books too, and me and my sister would spend hours playing wit fuzzy felt. I wish we still had some!

    I can't thing of a specific present I had at christmas, my fondest memory is of family christmases at my grandparents house in Longnor when we were young. Aunts, uncles and cousins included. We'd save up presents for the evening and then Grandad would be 'santa' and they'd all go into a big sack and he would give them out and the children would spent the rest of the night playing with new toys while the adults talked or played their own games. He was such a fun grandad, but he died in 1997 and I miss him terribly. Christmas hasn't been the same since. I guess I just never had a present that could compete with those treasured memories!

    I didn't intend my comment to be so long, rambling on as usual! Thanks for your comment! I know the feeling of dreading leaving the warm area to get into a freezing bed! Just one more night to go!

  2. I was always George the tomboy! Lovely pics
    Merry Christmas

  3. I remember the patterns of frost on the inside of the bedroom window too; breathing and rubbing to clear a small peep hole!

    Fuzzy felts featured in my Christmas presents too, and Famous Five books. I never really got into the Secret Seven in the same way.

  4. What a lovely post remembering past winters and Christmas. I lived in a colliery house with my parents and it was absolutely freezing upstairs. We had ice on the inside of the windows too! There was a fire in the living room which also heated the water via a back boiler, then there was a very small fireplace in my parents' bedroom which was sometimes lit if it was very cold. Now and again my sister and I would play up there, sometimes with my brother's train set laid out to wind its way around the room and under the bed. We also played in the cupboard under the stairs, we had such fun.

    I remember having a lovely little metal painted bungalow for Christmas one year from an old friend of my mother's who we called Aunty Margaret. She always bought us the biggest Easter eggs ever too!

  5. Your house is looking very festive Rosie. The churchyard looks very pretty. I like your memories of winters past. I remember feeling so cold when I was a child and having a hot water bottle and a paraffin heater in the bedroom! Your Aunt Millicent Mabel sounds like a great character! When I was a child I used to have a pillowcase of toys at the end of the bed and other presents in the living room. I usually had a doll and on one ocassion my mum and dad stayed up all night Christmas Eve sewing a fur trimmed hooded cape for my new doll!!! x

  6. Your post takes me right back to my childhood. My sister was born in February 1963 and my Mum nearly didn't make it to hospital because of the deep snow. I remember ice on the insides of our windows, and the bathroom being too cold to use. We had to have baths in the kitchen sink!
    Special toys? Mousetrap, Sindy, Spiromatic, and a slide projector. I loved getting an annual and books of any description!
    I think we appreciated everything so much more because we didn't get as much as children do now.

    Have a lovely Christmas
    Love Kathy xxx

  7. What a fun post! I remember getting Mr Potato Head and a doll that wore high heeled shoes (this was B.B. (Before Barbie). Fun stuff...oh I just remembered...a little black patent leather purse that was round like a hat box. Thanks for the memories!

  8. I enjoyed reading your lovely memories!
    Have a wonderful Christmas Rosie, my warm wishes also to Paul :)

  9. I was right back there in the 1960's with you Rosie. I always hated the moment when a new shovel of coal went on the fire. It had to be fetched from the coal house (or "coil oil" as we say in Barnsley)so the outside door had been open for a while, and then it made the fire not so hot for a while too. Enid Blyton books were my favourite too. My Grandma (dads mum) always bought strange gifts. She didnt have much money as she had been a widow for a long time and all her presents were bought at the methodist "sale of work". She always got me a pair of slippers knitted in that horrible stiff nylon yard -they were very painful to walk in! Have a lovely Christmas. xxxx

  10. Lovely, nostalgic post! I had a very similar childhood - Fuzzy Felt - ooh yes!!, loved it. And Enid Blyton books. I remember (my destiny as Vintage Tea Time set even then?!!) getting a plastic tea set. We had an outside toilet for many years(I didn't know the word 'loo' then!!), which was always freezing! (this was in Stockport, near Manchester). Happy Christmas! Abby

  11. Thank you Rosie for this most poignant post. A wonderful read as ever.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  12. Loved reading about your fond memories of Christmases past. I still have a doll ("Jane") that I received as a Christmas present when I was four. We were still in Nottingham at that time. I loved the selection boxes (is that why I'm a chocoholic as an adult?) and, most of all, my favourite presents were books. Enid Blyton, annuals and all kinds of books. Many happy hours spent contentedly reading in my upstairs bedroom while the snow fell thickly outside.