Tuesday, 6 April 2010

We've been doing that for years

First a quick THANK YOU to everyone who leaves me comments. I write my blog as something of a scrapbook come daily release because there's no one else to talk to of an evening so it's always lovely to find out that what I write is interesting enough for others to have a read. I appreciate your comments, especially when they ones that give me that just been cuddled feeling. :)

Now back to the title of the post...
Growing up we were on a very low income, my Dad did work full time but his wage was low. That meant free school meals, school bus passes, what clothes were not handmade by Mum were from the jumble sale. (charity shops were few and far between in those days) The clothes that we had were repaired, darned, adapted to fit someone else and then if nothing else could be done cut down for rags.
My Dad had a huge allotment which we were all expected to pull our weight on, literally. I remember my brother pulling the handmade plough that my Dad had knocked together. We would collect seaweed when there had been a hightide as it was a great compost apparently. The downside of having an allotment is the surplus in vegetables. As a child I was not a huge vegetable lover...well that was just tough! It was a eat what's on your plate family and as a consequence of too many hours spent forced to stay at the table by my Mother till the peas were gone I now at the age of 40 still hate peas.

My Dad also built his own shrimping net, which yes my brother yet again would pull and my Dad would push through the low tide. I would work with my Mum sorting out the shrimp, from the crabs and wee fish from the net.
This is not a picture of my Dad btw and the net that my Dad made was at least twice the size of this one. Idea being the bigger the net, the bigger the haul. That was why my brother had to pull as my Dad pushed, the thing was too big for one person. And before you think well wouldn't your brother walking in front of the net disturb the shrimp....they devised a system of whereby my brother pulled off to the side and not directly infront of the net. Clever man my Dad LOL
Once back with our haul we would then sit at the kitchen table shelling the shrimp, once they were cooked obviously, one for the mouth and one for the pot until our wee tummies were bloated and the freezer was full.

My brother and I would also spend summer days, inbetween rock climbing with no ropes or helmets and daring each other to do other daft feats, (don't tell Mother!) fishing off the rocks. Invariably he'd catch the big fish on the rod and I would be in the water scooping whitebait up in a carrier bag. It still makes me chuckle seeing the price restaurants charge for a bowl of them now.

We spent hours picking blackberries from the bushes on our local walks which my Mum would then turn into jam.
There was a ramshackle greenhouse at the bottom of the garden that was probably several different greenhouses cannibalised into one, where all our tomatoes and cucumbers were grown.

My first bike was a wee trike that my Dad had again cannibalised from other bikes and my boot was a bread bin. The whole thing was painted with some pink paint found in the back of the shed. :)

So what became of that little girl who desperately wanted to be like her friends and have clothes from the shops? I know I know handmade are best, I know that now just back then everything about us was different and not in that hippy way but in that we have nothing but we have to pretend we are the same as the rest of the world kind of way. My Mother didn't instill a sense of 'it's ok to be who you are' in us. We were brought up to conform, not to question just to do. Obviously as a teenager I rocked the boat and my Mother would still tell you now that 'she (meaning me) has always been different' but I'm ok with that and I always, always, always tell my small people that it's ok to be you.
Sorry went off on a tangent then and that's a whole different tale. What I was going to say about how I turned out is...
that growing up with no money it's probably amazing that I didn't go crazy once I got out into the working world myself. But I've never had a credit card, if I can't afford it I don't buy it.
Clothes are the things you wear to cover yourself and spending silly money just because some designer has sewn his label into it doesn't appeal to me at all. I do love my converse though but only buy them when I have the spare cash. As long as I look ok I'm happy. I just wish I had a vintage sized body so I could wear the kind of things I'd really like to.

It's funny how living 'The Good Life' has gone from necessity to trend back to necessity again. I'm just glad that for the good and bad stuff from growing up at least I have the skills that have brought me this far in life and the knowledge that no matter what we'll survive.


Claire@AreWeNearlyThereYet said...

Taz what a brill post!
I have an award for you over at my place, thanks for all your fabby comments Hun. xxxxx

JuicyFig said...

What a wonderful post - and thanks so much for sharing!
My family were not wealthy eather, and it wasn't until my mum and dad were in their 50's there income became more comfortable. Only last week my grandmother was insisting I not only learn to darn socks, but to pull back the toe and re-knit it! (I have had 4 pairs of socks she knit me for over 20 years now!)
and as for me - my income is still less than my out goings, and for the most part I am happy!


Menopausal musing said...

Brilliant post! That background will stand you in good stead, it really will.

lisa ridgeon said...

I grew up in a single parent family in the 70's and 80's. I knew i was 'different' as i had free school dinners and no-one else did but i don't remember feeling i missed out because we had no money, i just learnt that i couldn't have everything and had to work hard and save for what i wanted.

Hubby and i don't have credit cards, we save for the things we want. It's amazing that, by not rushing out and buying things on credit you start to put things in perspective. By the time you've saved up you sometimes realise you don't need or want to buy the item after all.


twiggypeasticks said...

Hello lovely
I really enjoyed reading this post. We didn't have much spare cash when I was growing up either. My poor Dad worked a 40 hour week and then worked three evenings a week and Saturdays driving coaches and mini buses so we only saw him on Sunday ! It was his only day off but he always took us somewhere even if it was just the local park. You don't appreciate this stuff until you're a parent do you? My Mum made all our clothes and cooked from scratch, we'd have a joint on Sunday but she's make it stretch for a few days. You know though the only thing that stands out in my mind is what a laugh we had even though we didn't have much money. Apart from a mortgage my parents never had anything on credit, how times have changed. I'm sure if you don't have much when you're growing up it stands you in good stead for leaner times when you get older. We are skint but the happiest we've ever been :)
Twiggy x

Frugal Life UK said...

Amazing post and so evocative and such a reminder of my own childhood - more of that xxxx


Great post! Just reminds me so much of my own childhood. We lived in a caravan for all of my childhood, no electricity, no phone, no fridge, and no TV until I was in my teens (then it was battery powered) - no wonder I sometimes feel so 'different'!
I think that frugal lifestyle has stood us in good stead, who wants to be just like everyone else, I value my individuality!
Thanks for a great post!

Vicky x

Jude said...

I loved reading your post...
brought back so many memories of my childhood...
I really enjoy growing our own veg..but it is becoming more of a neccessity here in Crete..
Take care