14

The family home

Daily Prompt: Our House

by Krista on March 3, 2014

What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HOME.

By coincidence, just before this prompt was published, hubby had referred to the house where I grew up.  It was the family home from the year before I was born until the year after my father’s death.  Hubby (like our children) was only familiar with the modernised version of it.  His comment was about it not being semidetached, but end of terrace.

That would be end of garden terrace!

My earliest memories are of the original house.  It had a front door with a metal plate on the wooden doorstep and no porch – a small porch was built much later.  The front door and the window to the left of it had decorative coloured panes of frosted glass.  Inside the front door the hall was spacious and light, as there was a window part way up the stairs, known as the landing window.  The stairs went up from the hall on the left almost opposite the door to the front room.  This was the width of the room away from the front door.  The window of the front room was proud of the front door, so that when the porch was eventually built the front of the downstairs became flat.  We did not use the front room much.  It had the best furniture and carpet.  It also faced approximately north, so was rather chilly and dark compared with the back room, which adjoined it the other side of sliding wooden doors, rarely opened.  The open fire was rarely lit.

Instead we reached the back room by going past the painted, panelled banisters of the stairs and turning our backs on the cupboard under the stairs.  The kitchen door was on our left as we entered the back room, also variously known as the dining room or living room.  This room had a tall dark brown mantelpiece above a grate.  There were brown cupboards in the upper part of each alcove, with doors which opened into the room.   The windows were small-paned French windows across the back of the room, with the door opening in the middle.  Sometimes a child-gate would be fixed in place across this door.

The kitchen was not particularly large, although it was almost as long as the back room.  It had an old blue enamelled solid fuel boiler in it, which must have been one method of heating the water.  At this time central heating was very unusual and we did not have it installed until much later.  In fact we had a different solid fuel boiler in the meantime.  Opposite the door into the kitchen was the backdoor, which led into the garden.  To one side of it was the kitchen sink, with a small window above it and to the right was the built-in larder – a cupboard with shelves for food to be stored.  The kitchen also housed the cooker and washing machine.  With a table and stools on the other side the fridge (refrigerator) had to be kept in the hall!

Going upstairs the flight of stairs, with a stair carpet and stair rods to hold it in place turned for the final three steps.  On the left was the bathroom, with a bath, washbasin and an airing cupboard above the hot-water cylinder.  The switch for the immersion heater was inside the airing cupboard.  (In the south of England it was not necessary to heat houses in the summer months, but hot water was required.)

Beyond the bathroom was the smallest room in the house.  It was as long as the bathroom and kitchen, with the toilet facing the door.  There was a small window above it and the cistern was high on the wall operated by a chain.

The back bedroom shared a wall with the toilet.  It had a large window, looking out over the garden.  The Anderson shelter had been demolished and the bricks reused elsewhere in the garden.  There was a cypress tree fairly close to the house.  The garden was unusually large for the locality.

The front bedroom was above the front room, but the windows were designed slightly differently.  Both rooms had windows which turned a corner.  Upstairs the angle was slanting, whereas downstairs it was a right angle.  The upstairs had to be slanting, because of the adjoining property.  It slanted at each end, rather like one of those dressing tables with a mirror in three parts.  It must have been the only place in the house where it was possible to see the next door neighbours’ house from indoors without leaning out of a window!

The third bedroom was a very good size for this type of 1930s property.  It accommodated a 4 foot bed, an arm chair and a chest of drawers and so made a fairly comfortable guest room.   The door had been modified to open outwards onto the landing, instead of into the room.  All the other doors opened inwards.

The landing was fairly wide.  The stairs were separated from it by a continuation of the painted panels, with a handrail along the top, which continued by the side of the hall after a section where there was no rail.  I can remember the time when we still needed a stair-gate as my sister was younger than I was.

There was no heating upstairs apart from a paraffin heater, which was variously used in the bathroom or in a bedroom if someone was ill in bed in winter.  There were old gas fires in the two larger bedrooms, but they were never used.  I do not believe we were able to use any gas at that time.  It was reconnected after the area became a smokeless zone.  By this time many alterations had been made, including the removal of the gas fires upstairs and blocking off the associated chimneys with hardboard and wallpaper.

13

Always something there to remind me

Daily Prompt: Always Something There to Remind Me

by Krista on March 2, 2014

A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us PAST.

I had to wait so long for an audition to sing in the junior school choir, that my muscles had tightened and I could only squeak!  I could continue to enjoy hymn-singing practice, morning assembly and “Singing together” from the BBC, as well as Sunday School.

However, no audition was required at my next school and I joined the choir and later the madrigal group.

As a result of my musical activities, begun in childhood and revived alongside my own children, I have encountered a very large number of songs, many of which have special associations for me.

Some of the most poignant are songs or hymns, which friends of mine have chosen for their own funerals.  These were mostly people who died well before their three score years and ten.  As time goes by (another song title with no associations for me) the memory of a particular occasion may fade, but just occasionally I remember a person I associate with a particular hymn or chorus.

The songs on the radio, which take me back are pop songs from a particular year in the 1960’s.  I associate them with a visit to my grandparents.  I think we must have had a transistor radio with us.  Santa had brought tiny ones that year.

They include the House of the Rising Sun and Flowers in the Rain, which reminds me of Raindrops keep falling on my head – is that the same vintage?

I really haven’t time to research any of these today, due to the singing engagements of the church choir!

What should I do for my next two hundred posts?

This is a milestone post on this blog.  The number of posts here overtook my other blog a little while ago.  I have 165 posts there and this is post 200!

Looking back over my 200 posts I have taken part in some challenges.

Blogging from A to Z in April 2013 resulted in at least 28 posts.  One announced my intention to take part and one reviewed the month, giving a larger total than the number of letters in the alphabet.

Blog Action Day enticed me onto Twitter.

Blog Every Day in November was a challenge with a suggested topic for each day of the month from Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog.

Rarasaur and Dave (Queen Creative) provided interesting prompts in their promptforthepromptless challenge.  I learned all sorts of new words and gained a badge.

The Daily Post team provide a Daily Prompt each day.  I have taken part on and off.

All these challenges have helped me “meet” other bloggers.  There was one blogger I actually met.  We had our photos taken together.  He has also entered the UK Blog Awards in the Art and Culture section.  You may vote for Fletch the Perchcrow by clicking the badge.
Vote for Fletch the Perchcrow in the UK Blog Awards
To vote for Fletch in the Most Innovative Blog category click on the Logo below.
Vote for Fletch the Perchcrow in the UK Blog Awards
More recently I helped “roast” Arlee Bird, the founder of the A to Z challenge.

Blogging has been a steep learning curve.  I still have much to learn about social media.

Writing down my learning experiences is something else I enjoy.  A number of my posts are about blogging.

I also enjoy what I do away from the computer.  I have posts about knitting and other crafts I enjoy.  My experiences out and about in the local community and farther afield and books I have enjoyed also feature.  (Early New Year’s resolution: Read more books even if it means reading fewer blog posts.)

Occasionally I write fiction and sometimes my ideas come out as verse.

I hope that variety is the spice of life.

My posts may appear in a fairly random order.  I only respond to a daily prompt if it resonates with me in some way.  This may mean that I don’t know myself what I am going to publish until 1pm London time.  I try to vary my topics so that I do not publish several craft posts in a row.

I also published a number of chapters of a book I began writing about twenty years ago.  This was a ploy to keep my blog active while I was busy.  With hindsight I should have used more tags.

Would you like to vote for which of my categories you like best?  (It may not influence what I post, but could be interesting)