Saturday, June 28, 2008

Teatime memories........

When I was a child my mother always made a roast dinner every Sunday without fail - we always ate it at lunchtime, never in the evening - we weren't that posh!

I have vivid memories of listening to Family Favourites on the radio and her singing away in the kitchen as she mashed the potatoes - we usually had mashed potatoes as well as roasted ones and after all the years of practice I've had I can never get my potatoes like hers - smooth, creamy tasting, white and ever so slightly peppery - that is her secret, she always adds a shake of ground white pepper to them with a little butter and milk - she reckons it makes them whiter - who knows? But they were always delicious. She would often sing the most bizarre things in that kitchen - Song of the Hebrew Slaves was one of her usual renditions - maybe that was how she felt slaving over a hot stove to serve up our Sunday roast.

Then on a Sunday afternoon in the summer time we children would go out to play with other children who lived locally but in the wintertime the whole family would all tuck up in the living room and watch the Sunday afternoon film on the television - The Dambusters, Genevieve and 633 Squadron spring to mind. One of the shops in our village opened on a Sunday morning to sell the Sunday papers and very occasionally we would have a walk up and bring back a chocolate bar for each of us to eat after lunch while watching the film, mars bar, milky way or Fry's turkish delight. I have vivid memories of walking with my mum up the lane to the shop on a windy wintry day - my mum always loves windy weather - she finds it totally envigorating, and I think I take after her because I like nothing better than a blustery walk to blow away the cobwebs.

Then tea on a Sunday would always be boiled eggs with bread and butter soldiers - not toast as I prefer now and thus always make for my children, but white sliced bread sandwiched with best butter and cut into strips for easy dipping - no matter how tight money was in our house my mum always, always bought proper butter as I think her upbringing, which bordered on real poverty, meant that margarine had always been the order of the day.

After those boiled eggs - one each but two for Dad - we'd have tinned fruit topped with evaporated milk - Carnation. Usually it was peaches or pears but very occasionally she would push the boat out and buy fruit cocktail and my sister and I would fight over the solitary cherry!

If we were really lucky the icecream van would call round just at the right time, immediately before tea, and mum would head out with a bowl and get him to put five scoops in it to store in the fridge for a short while and have instead of the Carnation - most houses didn't have a freezer, in fact there were many in the 60s who didn't even have a fridge so ice cream was a real treat only indulged in on high days and holidays and on those days that the timing was right for the chimes in the distance.

Last week after our beach visit and pub Sunday lunch I decided boiled eggs were the order of the day for tea.

So here we are - with the toast soldiers in the background just ready for dipping. But you can tell my children don't have this wondeful 'nursery food' kind of meal often because the two youngest still haven't mastered the age old art of getting into them! Now then, are you a tapper or a cutter? My father is a past-master at slicing the top off his egg with a knife, I always followed my mum and I use the more gentile tapping approach myself.

My kids are so much luckier in some ways than we were back then - everything is more affluent and last weekend they had strawberries, freshly picked and accompanied by vanilla ice cream from our freezer to follow the eggs, rather than squabbling over that lone cherry.

Next weekend is the turn of my parents for a Golden Wedding celebration - we will head off up to Ambleside in the Lake District to join my sister, her partner and her teenage son. My brother and his wife and baby son will bring up my parents and we'll all spend the weekend together. Sadly my niece, who doesn't really get on at all well with her mother, has declined the invitation and this has taken the edge of things a bit for me but I guess it will be her loss most of all.

Hopefully by spreading the celebrations over a whole weekend in a very relaxed informal manner, letting my parents' health dictate the pace, it will be less of a strain for my father who struggles with 'do's' and of course they will get to enjoy time with five of their six grandchildren which will just make my mum's year, never mind her weekend. Thinking of all this has, I suppose, made me remember how it was when I was a child - hence the reminiscing about boiled eggs!

Sarah has been at home all week chilling after her exams - next door's cat has taken full advantage of a bit of quiet attention and often kept her company on the computer!

The house is so quiet this weekend as the two youngest are away at District Scout Camp up on Exmoor. As Louise is the only girl in the troop and not allowed to either sleep alone, or with the boys or the leaders, Daddy has had to accompany them as a sleeping chaperone for her.

However as a scout of long standing, man and boy, this is not much hardship to him and he will probably be more of a clown than any of the kids. They have watersports on the programme and the three of them headed off early yesterday evening with their wetsuits and loads of enthusiasm.

With the house population reduced from five to two and Sarah babysitting last night and working this afternoon it has been very quiet - rather strange and I did feel I was rattling round like the proverbial pea in a drum last night.

We plan to have a girlie night tonight with the cinema followed by a chinese buffet meal - well why should the other three have all the fun?

I have had some lovely post this morning.

Some lovely soft pastel coloured felts I bought on ebay - you often only see bright primary shades and so I thought this would come in useful for something a little more subtle - I just have to hide it from a certain absent, blonde, small girl to stop her purloining it.

Also in the post something much more exciting.

My mini quilt from Lucy Locket..............

and it's a real beauty - understated and elegant - thank you Lucy I just love it!!!

As for my own stitching I've been quite busy this week.

From a batik New York Beauty block........... for Kate's Birthday Block Swap which needs to go out in July - ahead of myself there. This is the first time I've ever attempted this kind of thing and those curved seams were a real b*gg%r! I even drafted the pattern myself - with more than a little encouragement from Kate I might add :o)

............. to something a bit more homespun and ever so slightly 'prim'

I've always liked four block quilts - so dreamt up this. Lots of plaids and shirtings - Sarah's not keen on it, thinks it's far too busy, but I rather like it.

Three blocks done - one to go and then lots of HSTs to make the sawtooth sashings between and around them.

That's what I'll be doing this afternoon while Sarah's at work.


Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

I'm so glad the quilt arrived and that you like it! Lovely weekend memories in this post! Lucy

Sweet P said...

What wonderful memories you have shared. I remember having a roast dinner every Sunday growing up.

Happy Anniversary to you mum and dad!

Hedgehog said...

Love those last plaid blocks! Too busy? No such thing. :)

meggie said...

You are always so busy Anne. Your work is lovely, as always, & do look forward to seeing it all completed.
I loved our roast dinner every Sunday, usually night. Great memories here.

Fiona said...

Great post - I remember when having bridge rolls with tinned salmon on them was the height of luxury at kid's parties. Love the pastel felts - and the 'busy' blocks - busier the better if you ask me.

Fiona said...

Great post - I remember when having bridge rolls with tinned salmon on them was the height of luxury at kid's parties. Love the pastel felts - and the 'busy' blocks - busier the better if you ask me.

Jeanne said...

Your memories are similar in many ways to mine. In the summer, we would pile into the car and get an ice cream cone from the dairy. (Five kids and parents). I love the plaid blocks. Happy Anniversary to your parents.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

You paint a fantastic image of days gone by...makes you feel all fussy and warm.

Love the picture of the neighbour's cat...looks very at home ;o)

Also...I really like the last picture of the "prim" appliqué...can't wait to see further progress on that one...just my cup of tea.

Clare said...

We didn't have Carnation, we had Ideal in the blue and white stripped tin and tinned pears or peaches. Fruit cocktail reminded me of school dinners - yuk! After Family Favourites (or was it before) there was the Goon Show, or Jimmy Clitheroe, or the Navy Lark, or Round the Horn. I'm a chopper! Do you remember wafers?

Love the plaids with the appliqué

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I hope you don't mind, but I've given you an award...please feel free to join in if you like, but don't worry if you don't. :o) Details are posted on my blog.

Karol-Ann said...

OooH Ooh OOOhhh! I love the plaid applique! And you clever thing with your NYB!

Egg and soldiers reminds me of my dad! And carnation reminds me of my brother. Apparently he couldn't have 'normal' milk so he was on this (!) All his baby photos are a scream - he was a real tubby thing LOL

Karen said...

Yum, fruit cocktail. The memories are so interesting. I wouldn't like to try to get along without a fridge as some people used to do even that recently. Makes me feel fortunate. Your starburst block is great! Likewise the plaid blocks, that is going to look so pretty.

Knot Garden said...

Your post brought back lots of childhood memories. I can certainly remember Family Favourites in the 1960's and what a treat it was to have tinned fruit and Carnation milk.
LOVE thise plaid blocks in the last picture.

Ann J said...

Thanks for all the lovely memories
that came flooding back after reading your mail !! Glad to report that 'dippy' eggs are still a Sunday 'tea' favourite in my part of the world !!

Stacy A. said...

Anne, what a beautiful post. It is amazing how times have changed, making it so important to remember what it used to be like. Your mom seems like a person who makes the most of what she has and really loves her family.
I thought mine was the only family in the world that put evaporated milk on things. We put it on cakes, coffee cake, biscuits etc. as well as fruit. Strawberries especially.
The soft boiled egg in an egg cup is not an American thing. I dated an Irish guy for a few years. One morning I was at his place and his roommate brought out toast and a boiled egg in a shot glass with a spoon. I thought it was weird but maybe he was just being creative with his presentation for my sake. The spoon baffled me though. In perfect, graceful Stacy style, I grab the egg, slam it on the table and roll it back and forth to loosen the shell and peel the whole thing off, then eat half of it in one bite. It took me a minute to realize they were all staring at me and they had begun delicately tapping the shell while still in the "egg cup". Let's just say we were both baffled by each others behavior, LOL. That was my soft boiled egg introduction. I won't make that mistake again I tell you. At least it was just the guys and not his family, that would have made a great impression.
I love the applique blocks. I may ask you more about the pattern and a few more details as it may be perfect for a little quilt swap I have coming up. I hope you had a nice girls night out and weekend to yourself. We all need those sometimes. Love Stacy

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

I am playing with shirts as well, but nothing half so cute as yet.
Oh...I am a cutter! Tracey

Ms. Jan said...

Beautiful quilts and beautiful memories. Thank you so much for sharing them all. Enjoy the family get-together and happy anniversary to your parents!

Mad about Craft said...

Boiled eggs with soldiers were always treat food for me and my Mum when Dad wasn't for tea for any reason.

The quilt and the blocks are lovely!

Gina said...

Oh that's brought back memories.

Sunday meant boiled eggs for breakfast, Roast at lunch time and then tinned fruit with Ideal milk and bread and butter for tea. My uncle would always annoy my aunt as he liked to dip his bread and butter in the fruit juice. I think he used to do it on purpose to annoy her.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

McIrish Annie said...

I so enjoyed your walk down memory lane.. It's wonderful to hear about the way things were for different people. We also had a Sunday dinner (roast beef) and mashed potatoes,(with just the right amount of lumps) which was timed to be eaten between dad's football games. We used to fight over the cherry in fruit cocktail too. but there were FIVE of us!! LOL

Love your Prim blocks and the NY beauty looks good too!

Carol said...

LOVE the plaid applique blocks! That is going to be my favorite kind of quilt!

atet said...

What wonderful memories -- thank you for sharing! And I have to say those plaid blocks are lovely :0).

Cascade Lily said...

Was just telling Carl that we should try Rom out on soft boiled eggs and vegemite soldiers - now there's a variation I bet you haven't tried!

Enjoy the weekend with your parents :)

Tanya said...

I'm getting caught up in blog reading. Love all the things that you are making. The Japanese folded quilt is lovely and now nice you can get two quilts out of one. And that New York Beauty! That is gorgeous and worth all those curves. I like your expression in applique too. Not fussy at all!

Congratulations to your parents for celebrating their 50 and with such good looking family around them too. And Sarah! Not the same girl in the rugby uniform!

loulee1 said...

OMG! Anne, Sundays, and the one and only cherry. LOL I was right back there with you, except we had macaroni and cheese sauce instead of eggs.

Love the applique blocks and what a dear little quilt Lucy sent.

kwilta said...

Your New York Beauty Block is awesome - did you foundation piece it.

Have a great holiday.

Irene (vernie)