Saturday, 28 June 2014
A kind of nostalgia
In the indoor exhibition area of the National Coal Mining Museum there was this mock-up of the yard of a brick terraced house, with its coal shed (not the outside toilet!) and washing line. It reminded me very much of my grandad's house, though they also had a vegetable garden beyond the yard. Grandad lived in a tiny house by modern standards: compact little front room with a coal fire (miners got free coal), small and basic kitchen, a high-cisterned lavatory downstairs in a tiny closet just inside the back door. Upstairs there was a largish bedroom and a small one, and a little bathroom with a sink and bath - no toilet upstairs nor a shower. The small bedroom was where I occasionally stayed - and, oh bliss, the high bedstead actually had a feather mattress! I can remember sinking down into it and almost being buried in its softness. Happy memories, though I wouldn't want to go back to that sort of basic living. I can recall my great-aunt putting wet clothes through a hand-operated mangle to squeeze the water out. It was hard manual work. When I was a baby we lived with my grandad, until my parents could afford a home of their own when I was about three.