COLUMN: Memories of my childhood by Anne Jackson

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Every tea time, Monday to Friday, the radio was switched on for all of us to listen to Dick Barton Special Agent.

Talking was not allowed and we would not want to do so in case we missed anything.

In the day time we could listen to Toy Town and my brothers loved this and were good at pretending to be Larry the Lamb or Mr Mayor.

The radio was made of beautiful dark wood with a fretwork panel over the speaker.

There were two knobs, one for tuning the station and the second for controlling the volume. Sometimes it did not work well and the programme would fade. A good thump started it again.

We always sat at the deal table which was coved in newspaper. There was a variety of chairs. Jim’s was a carver and the rest were bent wood with split cane seating, some broken but still useable.

There was a black lead Yorkshire range, with an oven on the left side and hot water tank on the right.

The ashes from the fire fell on to a green tiled hearth. There was a wire adjustable toasting fork on top of the oven and in the winter we had toast for breakfast, sometimes with dripping instead of lard.

If we had any potatoes we put them in the oven to make jackets for our evening meal. This was a focus point of warmth when the outside weather was frosty and unpleasant.

On the mantelpiece was an alabaster clock, a blue jug, Jim’s fags and lighter, plus letters which added to the jumble. There was also a line for airing washing.

On the left of the range was a built in cupboard, housing, on the top shelf, my small basket of treasures, in the remaining space were pots, food and the electric iron, which we plugged in to the light socket, using the table to iron the clothes. This was a luxury after many years of using heavy irons that had to be heated up on the gas cooker.

Below this was a cane deck chair with a slide out bottom and a large cushion to lean on. When I was ten I’d spent many hours on this after I was recovering from rheumatic fever. I used to pretend I was on board ship, traveling to a distant land to enjoy the sun and palm trees.

Mr Terry, our lodger, used to bring me lemonade and a comic the Beano or the Dandy. He always asked me what adventures I’d had each day.

The other side of the room there was a brown leather settee which had seen better days, but we could still sit on it. Sooty, our cat always sat there and he never liked being dislodged.

This was a busy room on wet days when we were housebound, playing Snakes and Ladders, with must cheating and arguing. Card games were played for buttons. My sister Mags hated to lose. When she did she would throw everything to the floor and storm out the room, banging doors as she went.