Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Friday, August 31, 2012


Last week, this blog was posted on 24th August and, along with other old weather rhymes, I quoted this one -

If 24th August be fine and clear,
Then hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

Well, I’ve got to report that the weather that day was a mixture of sunshine and showers, so we're not expecting anything wonderful. Still, we can always hope.


This is a photo of a tenement back court in Springburn, Glasgow taken some time in the 1950s and I thank Springburn Virtual Museum for making it available. The building in the foreground is the wash house.

The wash house was an important facility for tenement-dwellers. Inside, there was a boiler heated by a coal fire and either a sink or a washing tub in which the clothes could be scrubbed by hand. Having been washed, the clothes were squeezed through a wringer and then hung out to dry. Of course if the weather was bad, you might have to dry your washing indoors. In the kitchen/living room of each house there was a pulley (two or three wooden rails) suspended from the ceiling, which could be lowered by ropes and, after the clothes had been hung, raised again.

Each family had their own particular day for using the wash house, and there could be trouble if someone had claimed possession on the wrong day. Can you imagine two women battling it out in the back court, washing being flung everywhere, scrubbing brushes flying. And faces at every window, enjoying the show!!!


This chap shows off his coat of many colours

A few weeks ago this letter appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

“What playing rugby at school in the 1950s did do, was teach me how to stay far enough away from the ball to avoid getting hurt, while at the same time not making it too obvious that that was what I was doing. It was a lesson which has served me in good stead all my life.”

This reminded me of my first years at Primary School. The gym teacher didn’t take the beginner classes, and instead the janitor took the boys of the beginner classes (about 40 of us) for football in the playground. It was all very chaotic and I never knew which side I was on. My mother used to recall that one day I came home and proudly announced that at football I had got a kick of the ball.


Lacquered boxes on display at a market-stall in Uzbekistan


One penny piece

I threw a penny in the air,
It fell again I know not where,
But if it had been half a crown
I would have watched where it came down

Half crown piece

[in pre-decimal coinage there were 30 pennies in half a crown]


This short clip “Dizzy Heights” was uploaded by BFI Films.
Michael Brooke has provided this information.
"Hundreds of feet above the streets of Paris, workmen make adjustments to the scaffolding surrounding huge new exhibition buildings - accompanied by a brave cameraman working for the Topical Film Company, who obtained some scarily vertiginous images of construction at a time long before modern health and safety regulations. The film was originally released on 16 March 1931."




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