How life has changed – from the archives of the Brighton Evening Argus

I have been trying to thin the bookshelves, and at one end is a volume called ‘Evening Argus July and August 1958’ which I had never really looked at, but I could not throw it away without a brief look. Many hours later I offer this selection of observations and illustrations.

Work and Pay:

J Sainsbury Ltd is seeking grocery and provisions saleswomen. Wage at 18 £5.18s.0d pw, rising to £6.8s.0d within 6 months (approx. £333pa). 45 hours per week. Overalls supplied and cleaned free of charge, pension and sick benefit schemes.

Sales careers in SE Gas Board: 21+ years men and women. During training £545 men and £499 women. Then men from £585 and women from £534. (gender – say no more)

Intelligent women required for clothing factory work, training provided, excellent pay and prospects. Harrimonde, The Hyde, Lower Bevendean. (clothes made in England, how quaint)

The Mullard Radio Valve Company, Hove, require young women and girls to train as valve assembly workers. (valve operated radio and TV still the norm)

Young women (15 to 35 yrs) – clean, light, interesting work at Ferguson Radio factory, Newhaven. £6.2s.6d pw at age 19yrs. 8am to 6pm Monday to Thursday, 8am to 5pm Friday. (44 hours pw and about £306 pa. Valves built in Hove, put into radios built in Newhaven)

“Only an attractive girl need apply – we want someone with Personality-Plus to introduce an exciting new product – Flav-r Straws, at the MilkMaid Pavilion, lower promenade.”

Brighton Council Housing Department seeks clerk/collector. Male 25-45 salary depending on age and experience – £450 to £550 pa.

Machine-tool manufacturer CVA Jigs, Moulds and Tools Ltd have completed a 150 ton, 140 feet long machine-tool for an undisclosed customer. It took nearly a year to complete at their Hollingbury factory which employs 230 workers. (a week later they laid off 70 staff, with another 80 to follow soon)

Brighton Education Committee seek P/T teachers of cookery and needlework for evening institutes from September. (an education committee in the Council? Employing people to teach non-statutory courses?)

Housing:

Two storey non-basement 3 bed and 2 rec. house in Princes Crescent, (Round Hill), Brighton £1925. (4 times a clerk’s salary, just over 6x a grocery assistant’s salary)

Terraced house, level ground close Lewes Road, bay fronted, 4 rooms plus kitchen £750.

Franklin Road terraced house 3 bed 2 reception kit/bathroom rear garden £1675.

Aberdeen Road terraced house 2 bed, 2 rec kitchen and bathroom £1875.

Brighton Council is considering joining the Government scheme in which local authorities guarantee mortgages so that lenders will lend 90 to 95% rather than 70%, enabling more people to buy. At this time 705 purchasers have Council mortgages at 6.5%. Investors can earn 5.75% for every £100 invested.

House for sale on Upper Lewes Road, 3 storey – vacant upper maisonette – 4 rooms, bathroom, kitchen and garden. Ground Floor let at £1.11s.2d pw comes with the sale at £1350.

Local building societies dominate the lenders advertising – Hastings and Thanet BS, Regency BS, Alliance BS, Brighton, Hove and Preston BS, Sussex Mutual BS, Pelham BS and Citizens Permanent BS. Only the Halifax BS and Northampton Town and Country BS from elsewhere.

Consumer Goods:

Men’s suits in Huddersfield worsted (woven in Yorkshire)

Men’s worsted/Terylene mix suits £20 at Hills of Hove summer sale. Burberry all-wool gaberdine raincoat, £10 to £17 at Hannington’s. (natural fibres dominate)

BMK, Wilton and Axminster carpets all mentioned in adverts, usually containing British wool.

Valve radios and TVs advertised – cash or terms:

Radio Rentals – rent a 17″ TV for 9/- a week (nine shillings, 20 to the £) which includes continuous service, free replacement tubes and valves. Or buy a TV for BBC and ITV stations for 67 guineas (£67 and 67 shillings, or £70.7s.0d.) to include 2 years service and repairs.

BBC and ITV already here, in Black and White, but Southern TV coming in August 1958, from the Isle of Wight transmitter.

If you want to dance to music you could buy a record player. Wickham, Kimber and Oakley of George Street, Hove have a Dansette auto-changer for 25 guineas, and they add “Mr D Stewart-Baxter will attend on Fridays and Saturdays to help you select jazz records.”

Buy a new fridge for £39 (7% of our clerk’s annual salary) or buy second-hand, like the rebuilt Hoovers from a Boundary Road shop, and repaired radios from George Barnard in St Georges Road.

Curry’s advertised valve radios for £10 to £16, and the modern transistor radios at higher prices (change coming soon on this pricing). Cash or terms available:

For moving your baby about the Best was still a perambulator, but smaller models were available for those living in small apartments or with stairs to negotiate. Champions was the premier store of these, but even they were moving with the times and stocking buggies!

Food, Fags and Wine: For everyday items prices were better, Bellman’s Food market on the London Road had butter at 1/1d, self-raising flour at 1/4d a 3lb bag and sugar for 1/2d a 2lb bag. 20 Park Drive tipped cigarettes would set you back 2/6d. Dominic’s the wine merchant was offering red, white and rose wine in half and one gallon jars “for the daily wine drinker” for 17/6d and 34/6d respectively, being roughly the equivalent of 3 and 6 bottles. Pressing their offer further by stating “our vans deliver daily throughout the town”.

But Sunday Trading Laws would restrict when you could buy them all – shops could only open on 18 Sundays a year. (probably a tricky one to police though)

Cars and motoring: For the better off you could buy a new Hillman Minx car for £498, but the government tried to dissuade you by adding a further £250 Purchase Tax! Petrol (at the Lion Garage, Richardson Road, Hove) was just 4/- a gallon. But your motoring freedom was threatened, as reported in ‘Motoring Notes’ “Today is P-Day in London, P standing for Parking meters. I hope no similar day is ever celebrated in Sussex” said the correspondent. Car brands mention in the newspaper but not made now include Studebaker, Jowett and Borgward.

Services:

A Mr M F Reed of Hollingbury Road is still waiting to be switched over to AC electricity from DC! SE Electricity Board say the lack of suitable site for a sub-station is causing the delay (Does anyone remember DC electricity supply?)

Eating out: Royal Albion Hotel Saturday dinner dance 17/6d, supper dance to midnight 5/-. Marine Grill (at the Clocktower) 3 course lunch Monday to Friday 3/-

Telephones: The new automatic phone system is still causing problems – some people are still dialling 0 for the operator to collect local calls, rather than dialling direct. The new telephone directories are being delivered to subscribers, the Post Office asks that you have your old one ready to return. (Recycling as part of the system!)

The National Coal Board urges everyone to place their winter coal orders soon to avoid winter delivery problems.

Polio Vaccine: Brighton and Lewes Hospital Management Board will urge the Ministry of Health to give nurses priority for polio vaccination. Supplies of American vaccine should be available towards the end of the year. By 27th July East Sussex County Council report that 41,000 people have now received the US polio vaccine, 11,000 are still waiting their turn and 7,200 have decided to refuse it and await a British vaccine.

Crawley Council has accepted a tender of £74,000 from G T Grouch Ltd to build an old peoples home. The Council are applying to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government for consent to borrow £81,000 to cover the cost of the work. (Councils delivering services!)

and a bit of foresight:

During a Young Conservatives “Question Time” quiz the chairman, Pavilion MP William Teeling, suggested that Brighton should consider a Festival on the lines of the Edinburgh one, (the first Brighton Festival happened in 1967, nine years later)

“Will Brighton ever be a city by the sea?”, Cllr Cohen said that the coming of a University to Brighton should improve the odds but, “We should try to amalgamate Brighton and Hove so that the whole can become a city”. (city status was awarded to the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove in 2000)

But some things never change – it was always better in the past:

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Bicycle Hangars coming to Round Hill in 2022?

The city of Brighton and Hove has a walking and cycling strategy, and we might be the lucky recipients of part of that – not one but two cycle hangars – secure structures in which those registered to use it can safely store their cycle (and keep it dry as well). Of course the hangars would be most useful to those living nearby – no point in walking up the hill to reach your bike, though it might be worth walking downhill to it, if the steepest part is usually spent pushing the bike.

So where are the 2.5m long, 2.1m wide and 1.4m high hangars? South end Mayo Road, east side, and N side Richmond Road outside number 11.

The Mayo Road hangar site
Richmond Road site
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The Fens, a narrowboat and fossilised dung.

A few weeks ago four of us took a 60′ narrowboat out of Ely and burbled along to Cambridge and St Ives.

I was especially keen to see Wicken Fen – possibly the most biodiverse piece of land (and water) in England (labelled W on the map, midway between Ely and Cambridge). On our second day we moored at a pub known as the Five Miles in the hamlet of Upware ( U on the Map) where we drank a few beers and ate a pub lunch in order to meet the obligation to use the pub if we planned to stay overnight. It was a hot day but the others generously agreed to walk to Wicken Fen, explore it a bit, and then walk back. I said it was only about 4.5 miles in all – and it was, but a hot and exposed 4.5 miles in the sun.

Beers at the ‘Five Miles from Anywhere – No Hurry’ pub, taken by Tamsin

Just outside the hamlet we found the old wooden Mission Hall, built in 1883 and still a pleasing structure even as it crumbles into the earth. If any of the 10 or so households of Upware need a church today they visit Wicken village

I rather liked the touch of the Gothic in the window and door heads.

We reached the edge of Wicken Fen after just a mile, but there was no way across the boundary drainage ditch. Another mile got us into a dry part with the pleasure of shade trees. Here we found signs of an old brickworks. The clay pits were rectangular, and form rectangular ponds today. The biggest pit had seen exciting hawk activity before we arrived – a pair of raptors ( I admit it, I’ve forgotten the species) exchanging food in mid-air. Its a bonding activity – like taking a bunch of the first asparagus of the season home to your partner.

There may well be 9000 spp. of animals and plants in the Fen, but what impressed me most was the engineering in creating parallel rows of reed beds, straight and narrow canals (called lodes) running to the river, and evidence of old industry. There were a couple of restored wind pumps still capable of moving water into or out of the reed beds – depending on whether the plan was to grow more for thatching, or drain it for harvesting.

Wicken Lode with Wicken Fen on the far side

Looking at the map later I noticed that 3 lodes enter the River Cam, through a lock, at Upware – Wicken lode, Burwell lode and Reach lode. Each lode links the river to a village, and the villages are typically on slightly higher ground, above the 10 metre contour. Without locks the lode could go no further. It seems that the lodes connect working villages to the main transport route of the day – the river.

The village of Reach had a chalk quarry (and a 15m contour), Burwell and Wicken villages both have windmills, and there would be reed and bricks to move to market. But it was at home that I discovered another local product, mined here for over 40 years, and exported as far away as Queensland.

1920s map of the area showing Manure Works on Burwell Lode.

First discovered in 1851, in thin seams within the Upper Greensand found here, was a deposit rich in phosphate compounds. At its peak, in the mid-1870s, it was profitable to strip the topsoil, then remove up to 20 feet of overburden to reach this material. It was washed and crushed before being treated with sulphuric acid which produces a soluble phosphate fertiliser – typically called artificial manure. Afterwards the overburden was replaced and the topsoil spread out. At first farmers did not want to have their valuable arable fields dug up, but when they saw what they would be paid for the temporary disruption many hooked up with businessmen like Samuel and Joseph Fison who became big in the trade. Because this material was so rich in phosphorus and contained many fossils of long dead animals it was called Coprolite – fossil dung!

The Manure Works seen above on Burwell Lode was run from 1864 by Masters and Company. They owned steam tugs to tow barges to rail heads on the Cam. By 1888 new owners Colchester and Ball developed a brickworks using the Gault clay below the Greensand to increase their income. You will see a mineral line heading North and East from the works. It linked to the Ely and Cambridge railway, and was surely used to bring in coal and to move out finished bricks, but it came too late for the fertiliser. That business died after very rich phosphate deposits were discovered, first in New Jersey and later in Chile and Spain. The brickworks finally closed in 1970.

But that’s not the end of Fenland construction industrial history – one final product deserves mention, by me in particular. These villages on slightly higher ground attracted settlement because of reduced flood risk, the higher ground is chalk, more resistant to weathering then the underlying Gault clay (exposed in the lower-lying land to the west). This particular chalk is not very pure calcium carbonate, but is mixed with clay. If you want to make cement (and who does not?) you normally have to mix pure chalk with a clay, then roast it at very high temperatures before grinding the resultant mass to a fine powder. Here nature has brought the 2 ingredients together, and a nearby railway (the now gone Cambridge to Mildenhall line) offered a cheap way of bringing in Coal and taking cement to market. Between 1892 and 1932 one Robert Stephenson and Son established and ran a cement works two miles north of Burwell.

1925 6″ to the mile OS map – the overall length of the cement works main buildings is about 110 feet

The cement works perhaps illustrates the permanent shift from industrial water transport to railways. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries our overnight hamlet of Upware had two pubs serving the waterborne transport industry, by the mid-20th century there were no pubs, but the Five Miles opened for the boating tourists in 1995, adopting the name which had been used for the previous pub nearby.

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Unveiling a Blue Plaque on Round Hill, Brighton

Thursday 10th March was as near as I could arrange the event to International Women’s Day for this very woman-centric event: celebrating the first hospital in England to offer help to poor women suffering ‘borderline insanity’ or ‘early nervous disorder’.

In 1905, when the hospital opened, insanity was the only officially recognised mental health issue. Middle class women could withdraw to a Convalescent Home, or be cared for at home by servants until they recovered from the stresses causing problems. For poor women there was no way to escape the pressures of bad housing, overwork, poor food and near permanent pregnancy.

Chair of the Brighton and Hove Plaque Panel listens whilst Cllr Alan Robins, the Mayor, opens the event

Dr Helen Boyle had worked in an Essex asylum when she first qualified as a doctor, as well as helping in a clinic for the poor of East London. These situations gave her a life-long interest in mental health issues of poorer women. When she and a fellow female doctor opened a practise in Hove, in 1898, offering medical services to affluent women, she had the opportunity to pursue her wish to help poorer women by initially helping establish and run a clinic dispensing advice and medicine. But after a while it became clear to her that advice and pills were not enough.

“By the removal for a time from unsuitable and depressing environment, and by the provision of skilled treatment, care, rest and good feeding, many such patients may be permanently cured and made fit to resume work.”

Helen Boyle in about 1890, from a family photograph.

In February 1905 the dispensary began an appeal for funds, and in April of the same year a lease was taken on 101 Round Hill Crescent for £50 a year. The hospital had 10 beds and an all female staff of two nurses and a matron, as well as the services of Dr Helen Boyle. In the first 6 months of operation the hospital admitted 19 patients for periods between one and five months. Soon it became necessary to take on a house doctor, a woman of course, and newly qualified, to help out, gain experience and – no doubt – encourage her to take mental health treatment seriously. By 1911 the hospital was full and employing a new house doctor each year. Patients came from farther afield than Sussex, and some could afford to pay part or all of the costs. It was so successful that the hospital could afford to open its doors to offer an outpatient service to ex-patients, who could return to share in the social, cultural and conversational programmes offered.

101 Round Hill Crescent, you might make out some of the words on the frontage – ‘Lewes Road Hospital for Women and Children’

On the day we had speakers from Brighton Housing Trust Mental Health Services, The Brighton branch of Mind, and Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, as well as two actors from a play called ‘Clean’, first performed on Round Hill and telling the story of poor women laundry workers and Dr Helen Boyle.

Caroline Lucas MP was not able to attend, but sent a message which was read out by long-term Green Party member and Round Hill resident Vivien Eliades.

Vivien, in the red duffle coat, speaking, and the actors from ‘Clean’ (green coat and blue skirt) listening.

In 1912 the lease expired so the hospital left Round Hill and moved to bigger premises in Hove (35 beds). Later it moved again to even bigger premises, and was eventually absorbed into the new NHS in 1948. Helen Boyle became the first honorary woman doctor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, with the title of Consultant for Nervous Disorders. In 1939 she became the first woman President of what is now the Royal College of Psychiatry.

I’m really very pleased that the first step towards medical care for all mental illnesses is now celebrated with a blue plaque right here in Round Hill.

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Spring has Sprung

Yesterday I had a fasting blood test – so I had to be up at my Seven Dials surgery just after 9am, sans breakfast. The lawn of the surgery was a mass of violets and some celandines

Violets and a celandine in the lawn at my surgery

That very morning I saw the first celandine to flower in my own back garden, which was also when I saw two toads in the pond. This pond has always been late – there have been toads migrating across our catcreep (a sort of alley with steps) for weeks now.

After a full English breakfast in Al Campo Lounge (London Road Brighton) I strolled round to the Mitre for a breakfast-finishing pint of Harvey’s Porter. I was the 4th old man in there at 10.30am. Every one was commenting on spring having arrived – the sunshine I guess, and perhaps the amphibians and wildflowers.

The blackbirds here have been singing just before dawn for a week or three now, and again at dusk – but today they have continued to sing on and off all day – surely another sign of spring, when a young bird’s fancy turns to, well, mating and territorial defence.

Today the pond is much more active – at least 3 pairs of clasped toads floating amongst the hornwort and duckweed – and a couple of sadder looking solitary toads just looking on. Plus a big blob of frogspawn, though the frogs responsible are staying out of sight.

one pair of toads in our pond today
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A sad tale of premature purchase

Some time ago (I have not been vigilant about posting here for several months, sincere apologies) I heard about a book of articles by Clive James on the subject of the poet Philip Larkin. Being a fan of both penmen I thought I’d buy a copy. Went to World of Books and found a copy for not a lot (but perhaps slightly more than I had expected) and ordered it. Lovely hardback with a dustcover design created by Mr James’s daughter showing an earlier Hull estuary frontage. All good. Tackled several articles and enjoyed them when they concerned poems I had hard copies of (is that still a bad grammatical form?). BUT struggled when they concerned poems I do not have in print. I like print, I like the feel of well bound hardback books.

I do not have Larkin’s ‘High Windows’ – sad but true. But a good friend has, and I borrowed it. That helped with some more pieces. Then the latest* issue of London Review of Books arrived (now, I don’t want you to think this is a posh reference to gain some sort of literary advantage – I hardly read any of it, each article has at least 3x the number of words I could ever want to read about even the subjects I’ve heard of). The key point was it offered a £1 subscription to a worthy political journal (three issues anyway) which had the extra come-on of a free copy of ‘Somewhere becoming Rain’, the Clive James book about Larkin. I really hope its just a paperback!!! Seven pounds I paid! and its not stitched, its ‘perfect bound’. Perfect binding – a flexible gap-filling glue, which, over time, changes – ‘somewhere becoming dust’.

Of course, rather like Eric Gill’s sculpture and lettering, Larkins’ poetry comes with baggage. When Andrew Motion published his biography Clive James wrote:

“By now everybody with something on him is bursting into print. Glumly we learn that he wasn’t just a racist, a wanker, a miser and a booze artist, he was also prey, in his declining years, to such nameless vices as conceiving an admiration for Mrs Thatcher.”

I’ve just one more anecdote to add. I follow a Facebook site called ‘A Hull of a Place’ – its about Hull, the one that was in Humberside but has now been restored to its rightful place in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I mentioned there that I used to visit the town centre pub The Old Blue Bell on Sunday evenings for folk music hosted by the Watersons. This instigated a response from someone describing his memories of both the folk club and a Jazz Club on a weekday night. On the latter he recalled Philip Larkin seating himself alone at a table with 40 cigarettes and a treble gin and tonic, working his way through the cigarettes, replenishing the G&T regularly.

*when I say latest, it was 18th November 2021 – I said I was remiss in keeping this blog current.

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Cemeteries and some woodland – April 2021

A ninety minute circular walk starting from the Gladstone pub on the Gyratory, about 5km. Beware – you may need to slide under a gate in the cemetery north of Bear Road, but its a big gap (G on the map).

Walk up the Woodvale entrance road to just past the offices where you ascend the steps on the left to enter the Extra-mural cemetery through a gate in the wall. The Council have recently been mowing paths to increase accessibility, so seek the one which is about 45 degrees north of the route parallel to the east-west wall, and go down, being careful not to slip on wet grass or, worse, mossy horizontal gravestones. At the bottom you will be on a rough road, follow it ever eastward looking for what I call Monument Valley MV on the map, I did toy with Death Valley but it seemed a little direct).

Looking south across Monument Valley to the boundary wall of the Extra-Mural Cemetery

As you look east there is a delightful grassy South facing slope often full of flowers.

Looking north up the grassy slope

A path runs eastwards at its base – take it to the end of the extra-mural. You enter Woodvale through a wide hole in the North-South wall.

Take the sometimes slippery path diagonally up to your left. This will lead you to the best place to enjoy the sun, and there is a bench or two as well. Moving ever east your way will be blocked by rose beds, but there are gaps at the left end, around a bench and onto the grassy surrounds of a mausoleum once dedicated to The Marquess of Bristol (who lived part-time in Sussex Square from 1828 until his death in 1859). He did occupy his mausoleum for a few years until his family took his remains to the family estate in Suffolk. It was he who gave the land for Woodvale cemetery to the town in 1857.

Continue east, either along the drive, or across the grass and pass north and east of the memorial areas under the trees, until you reach the gate where the road leaves the cemetery. Take care crossing the road and enter the somewhat bleaker City Cemetery and make your way to the NW corner where you will find a row of war gravestones marking burials of WW1 German soldiers who died of flu whilst prisoners of war in Brighton. Elsewhere in this cemetery there are many war graves, but presumably it was deemed better to bury the enemy away from the ‘our boys’.

One German was carrying his photograph when captured, and here it is;

Joseph Schonwetter, 32 years old, 3rd Bavarian Regiment, died 3rd Nov 1918

You could consider going over the wall to access the lane if you don’t want to go under the gate further east (G on the map) – but the gate might be open if the maintenance team are around. If you decide to try the gate then head south and east around the house and the adjacent Jewish cemetery. (Sometimes there are unrepaired holes in the fence which give access to the Jewish cemetery where this walk goes soon.) I suggest walking to the very NE corner to gain a view over the flint wall and across the Lewes Rd valley to the wood south of Wildpark. This corner has been used to store the XS spoil that accumulates when digging and filling graves so a higher viewing point is often available.

You could hop over here and follow the road away to the left!

Make your way to the gate and pass through/under. You are now in the Jewish cemetery, where graves are placed much closer together. The track leads past a monument to remember the dead of the Holocaust (H on the map).

Leave the cemetery and look across the road, you will find a sign for a footpath passing behind the houses opposite and heading east again. Take it, after a while it opens out onto a grassy space and you will find a track crossing the grass and plunging into the wood, down a steep slope. You need to go down and then west along the woodland strip, passing entrances to a big badger sett (BS on the map).

and a rather interesting tree that has swallowed a steel handrail

Eventually you will encounter a flight of steps, go up them to the road and go south to find Bevendean Road, head south towards Bear Road. You will pass a lot of newish houses on the right all exhibiting external cladding to protect thick layers of insulation, hopefully making these easy to heat homes.

On the left you will pass all that remains of the old Infectious Diseases hospital (IH on the map) – just the gates and one gatehouse. It was in this hospital that the Brighton victims of the last outbreak of smallpox in Britain either recovered or died in 1950.

Continue to Bear Road and re-enter the cemetery by a pedestrian gate just a few yards up to your left. Turn right and follow the grassy track downhill staying a few yards from the boundary wall. You will pass a rather delightful carved gravestone in the form of a Celtic cross

As the trees approach the wall seek a path through them to the south. With luck and perseverance you will find a huge granite monument to the man who was in charge of building the London to Brighton railway, and the slightly later London Road viaduct, John Urpeth Rastrick (R on the map).

The monument is said to be in the form of a railway turntable, its certainly as wide as one, but rather higher. Keep heading south to an east-west road with some interesting monuments on the north side, and some catacombs behind them. Take the road west (downhill) and you will soon pass the chapel attributed to Amon Henry Wilds, but as he never designed another building in the Gothic style perhaps not his? You can exit the Extra Mural down this same road, coming out past our Mortuary and passing between two blocks of student housing onto the gyratory. Good beer available at the Gladstone.

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A new (to me) sewing technique.

many years ago, when British Home Stores was a busy business keen to sell us clothes of quality, I bough a pair of cotton trousers. Over a decade later a fall from a bicycle created a permanent hole in one trouser knee (and a temporary one in my knee), so I cut off the legs (trousers) and made shorts. After a few more years they were getting a little tatty so I wore them when house painting. Over several more years they became paint spattered and wore through one one half of the seat revealing a little too much me.

Of course such a long and personal association made them treasured shorts so I was thinking of a big patch. A little internet searching found sites offering ideas of ‘visible mending’ – making a feature of the stitching. This appealed to me, and the photo below is the first bit of Sashiko repair I have tried. I know I can do better and I have found another pair of battered trousers to experiment on.

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Home grown and cooked bragging!

August already, and the wet weather has caused lots of growth – so we have to eat it! So, at the risk of being predictable here are pictures of meals largely made up of our own produce.

Runner beans from the front garden with Charlotte potatoes boiled, bashed and roasted with olive oil and salt, our courgettes cooked with lots of garlic. But the steak is bought in.

There were more potatoes and runners coming, so they appeared on the menu again a few days later. Courgettes rarely turn up in small numbers, so even more to eat.

Courgette flan with homegrown tomato decoration, a potato and bean salad, and purple sprouting broccoli leaves (from the freezer).

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Greenhouse full of chard, so bake a pie

Last years chard plants seem to enjoy the greenhouse, each plant is producing huge leaves.

And there was a packet of way past sell-by filo pastry in the freezer, plus lots of last years broad beans. So a quick trip to the Co-op for feta and build a pie, six buttered filo sheets in a laminate, cook and de-skin the beans, cook and squeeze dry the chopped chard and assemble the mixed filling on half of the filo, fold over the other half and press the edges. Bake for a while (about 20 mins at Gas 6), and here it is:

A third each for dinner, this third will be our lunch later.
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