Sunday, 1 February 2009



Although we now had two rooms, we still had to do without a kitchen because we were anxious to sleep in a proper bed once more. We also wanted to show off our lounge, which was large and sunny and the perfect setting for our furniture.
We’d bought a new cooker from the Gas Company show room, but that's all we possessed in the way of a kitchen. The gas cooker sat in the recess of the bedroom chimney breast, and a baize covered card table was set up in front of it. This served as my washing up area and work surface. (Remember that the only sink we had, was in the corner of the downstairs landing, and was a triangular shape with each side measuring about nine inches!) The idea was to fold and put away the card table after each meal, and draw a curtain across the front of the cooker. But, in all honesty, this was never done because there was always a bowl of washing-up or pile of dirty saucepans standing on the table. It was easy once we’d eaten a meal, to just dump all the dirty dishes in the bedroom and sit in comfort in the lounge. Quite often, we wouldn’t go into the bedroom again until bedtime. And by then we were too tired to wash up or clear away so all was left for the next evening when we got home from work. I wouldn’t ever go to bed now, unless the kitchen and lounge were clean and tidy and there wasn’t so much as a dirty cup in the sink! I can’t bear to come down to an untidy room!
I had a nine to five job, but Arthur was by now working with his brother Bill at The English Association of American Bond and Shareholder’s, and his hours were from ten till four. Each morning, I would get up at seven thirty and get ready for work. I would cook Arthur’s porridge and, at eight fifteen, leaving Arthur in bed, rush to catch the bus. He came home earlier than me, so he would usually wash up and tidy up before I returned from work. He was always happy to share the workload as best he could, something I was very grateful for.
I was getting a bit fed-up with travelling to Canda’s every day, and thought it would be nice to work a little nearer home. Also, we were still hard up, as Arthur had started at the English Association with only £16 a month take home pay. By the time we’d paid the rent, put away my bus fares (Arthur cycled to and from the City) and allocated lunch monies, there wasn’t much left over for groceries and entertainment. I was still only earning just over £5 a week, which we both had to live on.
Arthur always received his salary monthly, while I opted for a weekly wage. This suited us fine because we used his monthly salary to pay all our big bills, and my money for day-to-day living.
How well I remember one particular time when we were at the end of the last week of the month, and had no money at all. Our supply of food had run out, we weren’t getting paid till the next day, and we were hungry. I searched through the cupboard and all I could find was a little margarine and some flour. Nothing daunted, and being my mother’s daughter, I mixed these together with a little water and rolled the mixture into small balls, which I baked in the oven. We sat and ate these hot, unbuttered, baked pastry/rolls as if they were a banquet!
It was time for another trip to the employment agency and this time they came up with a telephonist/receptionist vacancy at Islington Green. Joy of joys! This was just a very short bus ride away and, once again, the pay was much better than my present wage. The agency told me to report to a Mr. S. J. Ingram at the Angel Warehouse Company in Upper Street, opposite Islington Green.
The interview went very well and SJI, as he was later to be known to me, offered me the job at the weekly wage of £6.15. (£6.75). This job was to turn out to be one of the happiest periods of my working life.
To be contd…


Babs (Beetle) said...

And after finding a new job in Islington, you move to Harringay!
'It was a step up from the other flat, even without a sink in your room.

granny grimble said...

Babs (Beetle)

I didn't move to Harringay until after I left work completely. This blog is all about living in St. Paul's Road!

weechuff said...

When you look back, it was so much harder to live a normal life then, yet we just got on with it, with no help at all from the government and benefits!

GoldAnne said...

That was interesting Leeta.
My mother used to make that- bread-
I adored it ,hot especially yummy,
looking forward to the next tale xxx

love Anne xxx

granny grimble said...

We never thought about things like that. I don't suppose I even told anyone when we were hard up. As you said, we just got on with it.
We didn't live on ready made meals either.

I love hearing about other people's childhood and I'm always amazed that it often is so like mine!

Anne said...

So good to catch up on your life again Leeta. You write so graphically that I can really picture everything from the colourful piano to you and Arthur living in Islington. I hope it is nice for you too to relive these lovely memories for all of us to enjoy.
Anne x

Sandi McBride said...

The story just keeps getting better and better! Did you take any photos of Arthur's piano? Hope the story continues soon!

granny grimble said...


Thank you for those kind words Anne. As I write about the things I remember, it unlocks other little memories that I might never have thought of before!

Sandi McBride
No piano photos I'm afraid, We didn't have a camera in those days.I wish I did have them thought. Another episode coming up. Thank you for your interest, it makes it all worthwhile.