Written by Inchcock
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Monday, 8 August 2011

image for Getting Ready for Work in 1959 Nottingham Always made sure I had a penny for the meter!

This article was sent in by an ancient old fart from Nottingham, in the UK. It describes his getting up in the morning, and the procedures and efforts required then to get ready for work!

0530hrs: The body stirs, and I dig my self out from the 140lb of bedclothes and greatcoats covering my body. I adjust the flat cap on my head, and scrape away some the ice on the inside of the windows. Light a fag and candle, then clamber out from the haven of warmth.

As usual my leg finds the now cold hot water bottle, and this makes me jump out of the bed quickly, my foot finding the heavy pot 'guzzunda' (chamber pot), and I curse with the pain. No bath room available to use, so a quick run down the cold stairs into the scullery (kitchen), trying not to drop the clothes, shoes, candle, bedpan or guzzunda en route.

First thing, drop every thing, and (if the pipes have not frozen) get water on the boil, a saucepan-full and a kettle-full, as soon as you can get the matches dry enough to light the gas rings.

(I always made sure there was a penny or two lying around for when the electricity or gas meters would run out!)

By now, the goose-mumps are growing and the shivering starts, so I have to temporarily sling on a greatcoat, to keep warm. Light the oven too, and open the door, placing the clothes I'll be wearing that day on clothes rack in front of stove. As I wait for the water to heat up, I go into the front room (the only other room), and light the fire I'd 'laid', the night before.

Back into the kitchen, and get the shaving tackle ready, hoping the shaking with cold hands can manipulate the cut-throat razor with a certain degree of safety. Hone the blade with the emery paper, then the leather strap, get the jug, fill with water from the kettle, and lather up, I have to keep wiping the mirror as it mists. Then put bit of newspaper on the cuts, and get the bowl filled for a wash. The scent from the carbolic soap is refreshing. That over, I go to check on the fire, usually stubbing my toe against the metal hearth, more cursing follows.

Back to the kitchen, and the tasks of relieving oneself, becomes urgent, so I open the back door, pick up the 'guzzunda' and newspaper, and run the 200 yards to the outside toilet. Empty the 'guzzunda', and settle to ease my condition, while doing this, I tear the news paper into squares, and stick on a nail on the whitewashed wall. (in freezing weather, there is not much point in preparing newspaper for wiping duties in advance, believe me)
I always appreciated my foresight in fitting a wooden toilet seat.

A dash back to the house, often resulting in a slip to the ground and more cursing, and my clothes thawed out and usually warmed nicely to put on.

Get some bacon from the larder (no refrigerators then), slap it in the frying pan with some lard or cooking fat (Bacon, lard, cooking fat? Horror shock, neurosis!) and let it fry to a crisp.
Warm the teapot, mash the tea, allow it to brew for 5 minutes, the get the strainer, and pour out that glorious first cup of Brooke Bond Dividend tea! By now the bacon was usually well burnt, but edible if you fried (horror again) some bread, and ate them with a dollop of tomato sauce.

Then make some beef dripping with plenty of jelly (beef dripping!!! Suicidal nowadays) sandwiches, and wrap them up to eat at lunchtime.

At this point I usually remembered I'd left the 'guzzunda' out in the lavatory, and would make a note to remember to get it back tonight when I get home.

I'd then adorn my waistcoat, overcoat, boots, and hat, and there I was, ready to go to work!

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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