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Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Dear Reader and especially Nicky and Janet
Thank you so much to Nicky and Janet for awarding me this Blogger Award. I was chuffed to pieces but unfortunately my IT skills let me down again and I can't, despite trying very hard, seem to get the award on my sidebar. So I've put it on a blog instead. So apologies Janet for not picking it up before now.
Part of the Award is to name ten of my favourite things so here goes:
1 People (including everyone I love in my life - family and friends and of course my partner Maurice but people in general too)
2 This is bound up with no 1 really - chatting. Can't beat a chat. I think talking is a wonderful cure for all sorts of things.
4 Shopping - in all its forms - actual/window/virtual/Internet/present buying/clothes/food
3 Christmas - I'd have it all year round if I could
4 Food - especially a Roast Beef Dinner or A full English breakfast - but it has to include mushrooms. I love mushrooms so much they really ought to be included at no 5 but I'm squeezing them in with no 4 lol
5Travel but especially Italy - I love everything about Italy - the people (see No 1), the food, the clothes and shoes (best shoes in the world), the architecture, the style, their take on life and love of family, the weather
6 Creativity - in whatever form it takes and wherever it leads you to
7 Paper - always have, always will. I've always loved books, stationery, wrapping paper, etc etc etc
8 Writing - it's creative and therapeutic and links you to people and paper - until t'Internet was born - so ticks lots of boxes for me
9 Luxury - whether it's a really nice chocolate or a night in a wonderful hotel. For me less is more. Unless it's more luxury of course!
10 Laughing. You just can't beat a good laugh and having fun. It's what life is all about.


Dear Reader
Just a note to go with my card for this week's Magnolia Challenge which was to follow a sketch by Jane of Jane's Lovely Cards (thanks).
I used some paper (Brenda Walton Madeline) that I adore and lace, both of which came from RWS. I coloured Writing Tilda in with distress inks and sat her on a 'pouffe' made of embossed circles with writing on and inked them. I made a card for the sentiment and inked it, then stamped 'Just a Note' with a Clarity Stamp stamp purchased for a bargain£1 at Harrogate Show. I really love Clarity stamps for their clarity! ha! I particularly liked the font and thought the sentiment would go well with Writing Tilda. I set the sentiment into inked paper flowers from my stash and pearl swirls and a dragonfly from an E. flourish. Butterflies are from a Martha Stewart punch and I've stamped the cream one with the stamp that comes in the lid of the punch. The purple one is embossed. The background to Tilda is stamped with an Anna Griffin swirl stamp in distress ink.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


For chance to win this amazing candy visit Kelly
at her 100,000 blog hits giveaway. Thanks for the chance Kelly.

Monday, 29 March 2010



My father's mother was a widow as I have said. After bringing up her own family on her own (my father was the eldest of six), her daughter who was a widow died in the early forties so my grandmother brought her grandchildren up as well. The youngest one was called Edith after my mother.

At the beginning of the war my grandmother was living in a little terrace house in Bath Street. My father thought the world of her and helped her financially whenever he could. Before the war he took me every Sunday morning to see her and she would sometimes say, "Would you like a new silk suit?" What colour would you like?" She made me feel important asking me that and I would give it deep consideration. Then she would say "Lift your arms up" and she would measure me. She never needed a pattern, she would ask me if I would like a collar or not and if I would like long or short sleeves.

In two weeks the skirt and top would be finished and it would fit perfectly. She crocheted beautifully too and I can remember the fineness of her work. My mother always said she was really clever with her hands. She also made wonderful jams and pickles. In stature she was small, rounded and always laughing.

I think she must have been one of the first people in Grimsby to be bombed. She lost everything and had no money. My ghrandfather who I lived with bought her some second hand furniture and found her another house to rent. I think, being the only man in the family left at home, he felt responsible for us all. Unbelievable, within months she had been bombed again, her house (in Bath Street) devastated but she herself was safe because she had been in the street air raid shelter. The houses did not have much garden so were unable to have Anderson Shelters.

Again my grandfather bought her furniture and found her another house to rent which she lived in until the end of 1943.

It was a Saturday morning, all through Friday night the bombing had been relentless and my mother heard that my grandmother's street had been badly hit. Her and I went quickly to see if she had been hurt, I can't remember the name of the street but I remember it was somewhere off Victor Street. When we got there the street was cordoned off with ropes and the ARP men said "You can't go past here - there might be unexploded bombs. We are trying to clear the debris to see if anyone is alive". I could see my granmother's house was bombed to the ground along with many others but we thought she would have been in the communal air raid shelter. Mum asked an ARP warden if she had been in the shelter, she said it was her mother-in-law and she needed to know. He said he would try and find out and in a little while he came back and said he was sorry but she hadn't been in the shelter.

My mother started to sob, tears running down her face. "How on earth can I write to your father and tell him his mother has been killed" she said. I just stood there - it seemed ages when I noticed the men digging away at my grandmother's house. They had unearthed a big leather settee and were turning it right way up and unbelievably up stood my grandma. I broke through the cordon and ran to her. I said, "Are you hurt Grandma?" She answered me "No I'm not hurt but I'm hungry - I thought we got food when we were bombed". She was unbelievable!"

She came home with us, the three of us walked all the way to our house, her filthy dirty in an old nightie and dressing gown. I don't think she cared a jot. I remember she enjoyed her dinner that Rene had cooked and my poor Grandfather had to start all over again with trying to get her fixed up in a house.

She didn't want my mother to write and tell my father anything about the raid - she said it was her own fault if she had been killed. She had heard the siren but couldn't be bothered to go to the air raid shelter so she had gone downstairs, tipped the settee over and crawled underneath it and gone back to sleep! She said I'm sure he's enough things to worry about. I said Grandma you're always getting bombed and she said "Well he's had three goes at me now and not managed to finish me off, so I reckon he will give up! And he did!

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here are pix of the first ever ATC's I have made. They were for the Running with Scissors March ATC Challenge. Check out if you want to join in - great for using up scraps and thinking miniature. I love all things miniature like doll's houses, bonsai, fairy houses, ships in bottles, cameos, seed pearls, chihauhas (no, I'm not going to turn up for class with a dog in my crafting bag lol - but then again .....). So I don't know why I've not tried ATCs before. Anyway, I'm a new convert. As these were my first ATC's I decided to make them with leftover paper scraps I've had from when I first started crafting about 18 months ago. Like a lot of people my first knowledge of paper crafting was watching Dawn Bibby on QVC. I made a tentative start but I wanted something different from die cuts and decoupage and I didn't know where else to go or what to do so I visited Dawn's shop in Yorkshire one Sunday. I bought this paper there and used it in my first attempts at putting cards together. I picked it because I love all things from the 1920s/30s and particularly the fashions of that time. I would have been hopeless wearing them - far too curvy - but they were so stylish and such a move from what had gone before. If you think that 30years previous women were still in the Victoria era and in those long dresses buttoned up to the neck and tied in with corsets and stays you can see what an amazing era of freedom for women that this era must have been. My mum had an original 1920's flapper dress and I once wore it for a wedding. I felt a million dollars in it 60 years after it had originally been made. Anyway I've completely digressed away from the ATC's. The papers are graphic 45 (Fashionista Collection) - I think an American company. Everything else - the ribbon and bling - are from my stash. I love words (you've probably guessed that already given the amount I'm posting here about a tiny ATC lol) so the sentiments and sayings I use in my crafting are very important to me. I absolutely love the saying "The cat's meow". Now this isn't something I can rememer my granny saying but it is something I can remember from my youth. The expression comes from the '20s and means 'outstanding'. But I rememer it being used in a sarcastic or put down kind of way (typical for Grimsby where we're quick to put down anyone being seen to get above themselves). I particularly remember a lady once turning up at a concert wearing a huge, nay massive, bow at the neckline of her dress. The woman in front of me turned to her friend and whispered (but not that quietly) "Well! Who does she think she is? She looks like the cat's meow!". I thought the woman was being rude but I did like the expression! Ever since, whenever I see an over-sized bow (and I've tied a few at crafting recently!) I always think of it.

Friday, 26 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here is a card I've made to go in two challenges, Simon Says Stamp Challenge and the Whiff of Joy Challenge.
Simon Says Stamp asked for lots of glimmer and sparkle - no need to ask hard for that! I've followed the Whiff of Joy sketch to meet their criteria and used a Whiff of Joy stamp. My papers are My Minds Eye, I've cuttlebugged the image and surround, used part of an EK 'bling' flourish, stamped out some Magnolia butterflies out of thin card which has been through the cuttlebug using the dotty embossing folder. My ribbon was on a Christmas present and I kept it, Nicky gave me the central rose (thank you Nicky) which is so pretty and the rest of the flowers are from a mixed bag from RWS. I made the tag myself and stamped it with a Woodware sentiment in Spun Sugar distress ink. I inked all the cardstock too with Spun Sugar and accented with tiny pearls. I used Stickles on all the flowers and gave the card and in particular the rose a spray (or two or three) with glimmer mist. Please excuse the background - I'm struggling to take pix at night at home as it's dark so took the card to work yesterday to photograph at lunchtime but there was too much light there! so ended up in the kitchen and didn't have a lot of time.I then accidentally downloaded 826 photos from my camera onto the works computer and then ran out of time completely as I had to go out. So I gave up and had to leave it 'til I got home today. Not easy entering these Challenges some days.
Had a terrible cold this week and if it wasn't for the fact that I had 38 speed networkers and 50 lunchers today at Hall Farm Restaurant I don't think quite frankly that I would have got out of bed this morning. But needs must as granny would say and I had people coming (first timers) that were nervous about meeting people and I didn't want to let them down as I'd promised to be by their side. Didn't want to give them a cold either so fingers xd on that front! We had an interesting table at lunch , a garage (I've booked my car in with him for a £30 speed service - well he had just been on the speed networking he he!). a magician whose business card I loved - it was a playing card one side!, a travel agent who had just been on the cruise ship Oasis that holds 6,500 (can you imagine that?), a Human Resources lady who has just set up her own consultancy but who I used to work with years ago in a former life (it's a small world isn't it), a bridal shop owner who makes beautiful bespoke gowns and was saying that she's even made a couple of those huge gowns for travellers who spend a fortune to get what they want, and a solicitor specialising in Employment Law who keeps pot bellied pigs. So a real mixed bag and entertaining as well. We had two Young Enterprise student companies and their teacher there from Tollbar School who brought their stands to show members what they produced in their 'companies'. Also had a guy who brought a stand advertising the National Training Awards as I act as an Ambassador for them in this region. I'm a big believer in training! Also met with a lady called Vicky who runs a company called VIP Adrenaline - they're putting on a 'TriWizard Tournament at the Harry Potteresque Awards evening for us. I'm so excited as they've sourced live owls who will fly onto the stage with owlagrams! Hope they don't bring us any howlers! There will also be a riddle-solving competition and a competition on stage to make someone levitate! The surprise is someone actually does! Can't wait to see that. So a busy day and now I'm shattered so going to lie down on the sofa, have a Lemsip and a well-earned nap! I seem to have rattled on a bit .. but hope you enjoy my card xxx

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here is a card I made at the RWS crop on Saturday which I'm entering for two challenges, Friday Sketchers and Magnolia Challenge. I've used the design given by the Friday Sketchers DT (thank you) and Magnolia Challenge requested an easel. So I made it into an easel card. After much deliberation I decided the chocolate box (thanks Linda) that Tilda is sat on could be an Easter chocolate box so that's why we have an Easter greeting! The papers are Martha Stewart (that pad has nearly gone now - wo! is me), Nicki gave me the lovely purple flower and the swirl is the EK one that Jane of Jane's Lovely Cards has made such a hit with the inspiration she has given. Tilda is coloured in distress inks. It was a lovely relaxing afternoon making the card. I was tired after a hard week and a morning concentrating on two scrapbook pages that I'm really trying hard to get right at the moment as they're for a friend. I discovered that lilac is a very relaxing colour to work with and I took my time building the card and chatting as I went. The design is quite busy but as a lot of the papers are plain I was quite happy with the result. Hope you enjoy it too.

Monday, 22 March 2010



My best friend before the war was a girl called Rita Page who lived about six houses down the street from us. Our parents were friends so in a way friendship was forced upon us.

When war broke out Rita's father said to my father 'You know we might get called up and I have heard that if we apply for a job in Wallasey making Barage Balloons we would be exempt from call up. We have decided to go - why don't you and Edie come with us? My father discussed this idea with my mother but she didn't want to leave her father I think Dad thought he was too old for call-up papers anyway so they said 'no' - they wouldn't go'.

The Pages left and promised to keep in touch, which they did. Rita and I were encouraged to write to one another - we were eight years old. About a year later they came to Grimsby to visit some relatives who lived in the school house at Cleethorpes Grammar School. Whilst they were visiting we had a heavy bombing raid.

They came round to visit my mother, my father was in Egypt by now and they suggested to my mother that I should go back with them to Wallasey as the German planes were never going to reach the West Coast and I would be safe. They said that if anything happened to my mother they would bring me up until the war finished and my father returned home. Lots of children were being evacuated at that time so my mother thought she would let me go with the Pages and see how I settled.

Rita and I were very excited. Mother packed up my things and we caught a train to Wallasey near Liverpool. Welholme Road School was closed so my mother thought I would receive some education. They had a nice new semi-detached house - I had my own bedroom and although I was a little homesick I settled down well. Rita and I were good friends and every night and morning she would come into my bed and we would read, play games and gigle continuously.

I was there about two months and had just got admitted into a school when Liverpool started to get bombed. Rita became ill and was not allowed to see me so I began to feel miserable. I didn't know what illness Rita had but Mrs Page suddenly told me that she was sending me home because my mother had written and said that if Liverpool was being bombed I might as well take my chance with her in Grimsby.

I was put on a train (full of Forces personnel) and they asked the guard to take care of me. I had a card around my neck with my name and address on. I think it was Manchester when the guard told me I had to get off and catch another train (I was 9 years old). He asked two airmen to put me onto the next train to Newark (I think) which they did. This continued until I got home. Everyone seemed very kind and helpful during the war and I remember everyone on that journey was concerned and helped me.

My mother was waiting at Town Station to meet me and her first words were 'Hello Love - what on earth is wrong with your face?' Apparently I was covered in red spots - the next morning my head was covered in spots, so she took me to see Dr Riggalkl who said I had Impetigo. My hair was cut off and the doctor daubed my face and head with a horrid blue lotion that I think was called Gentian of Violets. I looked ridiculous. My mother was furious and said, "the Page's house must have been dirty". This wasn't true at all and I protested.

Well that was the end of my short evacuation and also the friendship with the Page family. I have often wondered what became of Rita.

Friday, 19 March 2010



I think it was 1940 when Welholme Road school was closed. I had just gone into the Junior School. We thought it was great we didn't have to go to school, we could play in the streets and fields all day. Old Clee fields started at the end of Convamore Road in those days so we spent hours jumping ditches and generally tearing about and when we were tired we just sat down and chatted or in the summer made daisy chains.

I think looking back my mother had so much to do and worry about she just let me be and I lived on the street, only going in when I was hungry. There was no traffic of course, hardly anyone had a car and if they did have a car there was no petrol. The odd horse and cart came by and if the horse 'obliged' near our house I had to run out with a pan and brush to sweep it up for my grandfather's alllotment. He thought that horses and sheep provided the best manure you could get and he certainly grew good vegetables.

One of my favourite pastimes was to get up early and look for shrapnel (broken pieces of bombs and aeroplanes) that had dropped from the night's air raid. A piece with German writing on was worth a lot - I could swop it for two 'Film Fun' comics (popular comics of the time featuring film stars such as Laurel & Hardy and Old Mother Riley). Perhaps this was the start of my trading skills!

There were 8-10 children playing out every night until dark so sometimes we would go to Grant Thorald Park and play rounders, using our coats as 'stops'. We played 'Oyster Blob' a game that needed two teams. A boy or girl from one team would draw a map on the alley wall with chalk and put an X where his team would hide. His team would run off to the X spot and the other team had to count to 100 then look at the map and decide where the spot was. There was a labyrinth of passages in Convamore & Welholme Roads, so the task was not always easy.

We were as free as birds. We had a den in the Cordage Yard and a poor man who we called 'Peg Leg', he must have been a watchman, he only had one leg and rode a bicycle with his one foot fastened into a pedal. If he saw us he would chase us out but we were young and fast and he never caught us. He was doing this for our own safety as there was a brickpit full of water in the Cordage and it was said to be so deep that a horse and cart fell in one day and disappeared.

I spent many hours up against the cordage wall throwing a ball and singing songs to the rhythm of the ball. We threw the ball under our spread-eagled legs, behind our backs singing

Old Ma Brown
Went to Town
Riding on a Pony
When she got back
Toook off her hat
And gave it Ma Rooney
Where have you been
All day long
Courting Sally
In the Alley
Picking up cinders
Breaking windows
All day long

We had to keep the ball going without dropping it until the song was finished. There were many 'ditties' but I have forgotten a lot of them.

We also played hopscotch, drawing the lines out on the pavement with a piece of chalk and kicking an old tile, shiny side down. There were always plenty of tiles about with the bombing. We also played lots of skipping games, but I think my favourite game of all was playing marbles in the gutter. We each had a bag of marbles and a bag of glass alleys. An alley was twice as big as a marble and worth six marbles. Marbles were always glass but glass alleys were sometimes made of china. We threw the marbles in the gutter trying to hit our opponent's marble, if we did then we had won his marble. Perhaps this was the start of my love of bowling in later life! I now shudder to think we spent days and days playying in the gutters but it didn't seem to kill us off. In fact in spite of the war we were happy, hungry perhaps, thin, very fit, in fact regular street urchins.

This was to come to an end sadly as one day my mother said, 'I am tired of you looking dirty and wild and your Grandad is going to send you to a little private school in Bourne Lane (now Ladysmith Road). Apparently a young woman who was a teacher and whose husband was a pilot flying from Binbrook Aerodrome had decided to come to Grimsby to be near him and opened this little school.

Well I was cleaned up and off I went. There was only one clasroom and the ages ranged from 7-11 years. I think I was eight. Every day when I came home my grandfather would ask me what I had learned that day and I would say that I had to walk round the classroom with a cardboard clock and teach the other children the time. I had had a 'Snow White' watch since my fifth birthday.

After a few weeks he said I am not happy paying money when you don't seem to be learning anything. I think I will come and see your teacher, but before he got round to doing so the poor woman's husband was shot down and killed so she closed her little school and went back home somewhere in the south of England.

So 'smashing' (a word used then, it would be 'cool' now) I was back on the streets again!

A few months laster one Monday tea time there was a knock on the front door and the next thing I knew my Headteacher (Miss Beeson) was standing there. I was sat having my tea - I don't think I have ever been so amazed or embarrassed since. She said that although they couldn't open the school yet, they had reinforced one of the cloakrooms and she wanted some pupils to return, me being one of them. My mother and grandfather were delighted but my heart sank. It would have sank even deeper if I had know how boring it was going to be sitting on a hard bench all morning under the pegs reciting tables and doing spelling tests every day. I can still remember all the tables and my spelling was good for years but now at 77 years old I can't always remember if there are one or two 'r's or 'l's in words!

Thursday, 18 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here is my card for the Magnolia Challenge. I've used a Tilda image and made her a present to hold.Punch is Martha Stewart scallops. Papers are by Bo Bunny and Martha Stewart. Embellishments from RWS and my stash. Image is coloured with Tim Holtz distress inks in Tattered Rose and Sage.
Today's been a very enjoyable but busy day. It started early with a breakfast meeting in a hotel at Scunthorpe. I never give any thought to the actual breakfast but Maurice is always keen to know whether I'm getting a full English or not. I tell him that most of the time it's just a croissant or a Danish. He shakes his head sadly and says that these meetings should more accurately be called Continental Breakfast meetings which makes me smile. I dislike breakfast meetings. The idea is that you fit them in before your actual day job which as it's all work to me seems rather silly. Plus, and I have to say this is the real reason, I am just not a morning person. I'm as far from a morning person as you can get without it being evening! This week I've had two Continental Breakfast meetings so am not a happy bunny. As this morning's was a good drive away I had to get up at 6.30 am in order to wake up and drink enough tea to be alert enough to drive at 7.15. Off I went and arrived in plenty of time for the meeting and had my 'breakfast and another tea. Well, I got networking - or chatting as we'd call it - and suddenly it was time for the meeting to start. I asked the Chair to hold on a minute whilst I went to the loo as I'd drunk so much tea by then I was awash. What do you know the Ladies was out of order. I went next door into the disabled toilet, had a tinkle and went to wash my hands. I squeezed out a good bit of soap as it always smells nice in this hotel, rubbed it in and turned on the tap. Nothing came out. For goodness sake! I tried to wipe off all the soap with a paper towel but it just got stickier and stickier. I started to feel like Mr Bean. I gingerly opened the door and peered out hoping there was no one there to witness my sticky situation and conscious of the time rushed down towards the Spa to find another toilet. I found one,went in and yes! the water was working and I washed my hands. I went to dry them and guess what? There were no paper towels in this toilet. For goodness sake! So back I went to the disabled toilet to dry my hands. I arrived back at the meeting where they were waiting to start. I apologised to the Chair, took my seat and whispered my dilemma to the woman next to me. She looked bemused. But there aren't any other ladies toilets in that corridor she said. Do you realise you've used the men's? Luckily, before I could reply, the meeting started.

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One night the siren went, my mother put Rodney, a few months old by now, in an old tin bath, Rene carried Bryan out (still asleep) wrapped ina blanket and we settled down in the shelter when my mother suddenly remembered she had forgotten the 'black bag'. This was a bag she kept her bank book, insurance papers etc in so she said she would run back for it. Jast as she was coming out of the house a landmine dropped on All Saints Church in Heneage Road. It was just at the back of us because the Cordage Factory at the back of Convamore Road had mostly spare ground so there was nothing to stop the blast.

The bomb blast knocked my mother onto the outside tap, blew our windows in and knocked the tiles off the roof at the back of the house over my bedroom.

When the 'all clear' was sounded Mum said, "Run and see if old Mr & Mrs Horton (who lived next door but one) are alright. I knew she was badly shaken but I now marvel that a child of eight should be sent at 4 am in the dark to see if two very old people were still alive after the raid. I can't remember feeling afriad, so I ran up their back garden, the door was open so I went in. They were sitting there, one either side of the fireplace (with no fire) surrounded by debris. I asked if they were OK and I shall always remember Mr Horton saying "Now some people are walkers and some people are talkers". I didn't know what he was talking about so I ran back home and related what he had said to my mother and Rene who burst out laughing. I have since realised he must have been senile or perhaps he was just badly shocked.

Rene put my mother to bed and when I went down the passag to my bedroom (over the washhouse) I saw that my window was out and the bed was covered in soot and broken tiles but I shook off as much as I could and got into bed, then I realised I could see the stars! Mum was ill in bed for a week or two. Dr Riggall kept coming so I imagine his bill would have been a worry. She shook periodically after this for years.

My grandfather had to be a 'fire watcher'. He had to go and sit in a paint factory all night in case an incendiary bomb fell on it and it went up in flames. Well not long after our house was bombed the factory burned down. Mum said, "I imagine he went to sleep". He was 63 years old after all.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made for this week's Sugar Nellie Challenge. I've discovered that the image character is called Annie which seems appropriate. For some reason I thought she was called Nellie. What a nellie I am! I am loving birdcages at the moment so couldn't resist Annie with a birdcage. And then what do you know there was some birdcage paper in the lovely stash I received today from Jane as part of her anniversary candy so it didn't last 5 minutes in the Basic Grey pad. I coloured the image in with Tim Holtz distress inks in spun sugar and sage and used a mixture of magnolia and honey on the hair. The use of stars was essential to the challenge so I rummaged around and found some star buttons which I had bought at a bargain price thinking they would come in one day and now they have! It was the colour that attracted me - a very soft pink - but it's the shape that's come up trumps - they're little stash stars! I would really have liked a sentiment that granny would have approved of: "A Little Bird Told Me ....." so that inside I could have put "that it's your birthday" but I thought it was a lot to fit in a little gap so I've used a Woodware Special Friend stamp instead. The card's for a friend who doesn't like 'fancy' so I've kept it fairly plain.
It's funny doing a bird card today. My friend Carolyn has a very special pedigree cat arriving in May. I forget its breed but it's a grey cat and she asked me a while ago what she should call it. Being grey I thought of all sorts of 'grey' names such as John Major and Lavender (I know it's a lilac colour but mine's grey at the moment!) and as she keeps chickens I also suggested Giblet. Well, giblets are grey. Shame Carolyn is not a crafter or I would have suggested 'Basic' !
I've just heard that the kitten has now been born and is to be called Giblet so I've proudly apponted myself its godmother. Hope the chickens take to it (obviously not literally!) and it doesn't eat pretty little birds like the one in my image or I shall be having words! I'll keep you posted on Giblet's progress.



My father was born in August 1904 so he was 35 years old when the war started and it was generally assumed he wouldn't be called up, but in 1940 I ran home for my dinner one day from Welholme School and my father came home. My mother said "There is a letter for you". I could see she looked very worried so I sat very still and quiet whilst he opened the envelope. My mother said 'What does it say?" I can still see my father's face. He said "His bloody Majesty welcomes you into his Armed Forces". This was the only time I ever heard my father swear, he was such a quiet, gentle man. My mother burst out crying and although only eight years old, I realised this was serious. My father had told me that his father had been killed in the First World War. He was gassed and had been sent home to die. I have since found out he died on the 10.07.1917 aged 39 years. My grandmother had six children I believe, my father being the eldest so he had lied about his age, said he was 14 when he was 12 and went deep sea fishing to provide for the rest of the family. (He later told me he was sick the whole trip). It must have been on his mind if he would come home!

Just two weeks after he went into the Forces he came home again on embarkation leave. We didn't know where he was going but he ended up in Egypt in Cairo as a cook. Because he had been to sea and had worked in a fish canning house they sent him in a lorry to Alexandra Dock to buy fish for the British troops, but he told me after the War he didn't recognise one fish and had no idea how to cook any of them!

He also told me that an officer who had studied Theology at Oxford Uni before the war asked him to accompany him on a camel trip across the desert to St Catherine's Monastery where he said he had seen a room full of skulls and showed me some photos; they travelled for three weeks having saved their leave up.

So my father went to Egypt and we were one less in the household, the bombs kept falling, food became scarcer and life generally bercame very hard.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Dear Reader
Here's a card I've made for Friday Sketchers. I chose an Easter theme. Well it is getting near Easter - not long to go ! I don't eat much chocolate so Maurice has bought me a bird cage for Easter from The Range which I'm going to decorate so really looking forward to that.
I love Easter colours - they're so bright and cheerful. I needed bright Easter colours to offset the rabbits (Messy Rabbits) which came out a bit bluer than I'd intended. I coloured them with water colour pencils on the plane going to Venice so in the circumstances I was quite pleased with them, especially as I'd not used water colour pencils before. I'd recommend them for long plane journeys - the water colour pencils not the rabbits lol - as there's not much mess and they're easily packed away. Excuse me a minute - Loraine behave or there'll be an ASBO for you!! However, I have to say that without cheerful background papers they would have looked frozen stiff! 'Loraine', I said behave!!! The papers are from my Martha Stewart pad, I've used a Woodware stamp greeting and Woodware flower punches. All embellishments from my stash.


My Grandparents House

The house in Convamore Road was dark and drab. Nothing new was bought during the war so if things were damaged they couldn't be replaced. The windows were stuck all over with brown sticky paper in a criss-cross pattern and at night shutters had to be put up at every window when it got dark because there was a 'blackout rule'. There were no street lights and no light from the houses as it was thought that it would be a good guide to enemy bombers.

The doors were all painted brown, in fact brown was the predominant colour. The hall was half-papered with brown lincrusta (sp). The living room, the largest room in the house had a coal fire (when we had coal) and there was no other heating anywhere. The boiler in the washhouse was lit and heated with coke if we needed a bath as there was no bathroom until after the war. The insides of my bedroom window would be frozen in the winters. The living room had a three-piece suite with velvet cushions (also brown). There was a dining table that extended to seat 10 people (and often did) when fully opened, dining chairs, a large wireless on a small table near my Grandfather's chair (he was always tinkering with the knobs) and another small table in a corner which usually held a plant but at Xmas held a little artificial Xmas tree. The floor was covered in lino and there was a snip rug in front of the fire. There was a single light hanging from the ceiling with a glass shade and from this would be hung a sticky fly catcher. When it was full of dead flies it would be taken down and a new one hung up. Every household had these horrible fly catchers - I remember the horrible buzzing noise the flies made when they became stuck!

The 'front' room was carpeted and had a moquette three piece suite, a plant stand in the window with a large aspidestra stood on it. There were two large oval photographs of my mother and father, one either side of the fireplace, taken just before their wedding. Last but not least was a rosewood piano with brass candlesticks on the front. I had music lessons for years so every night I had to go into this cold room to practice. It was so cold and damp it was a wonder it played at all. The fireplace was marble and a fire was lit in there at Christmas and sometimes on a Sunday night if we had visitors.

On winter evenings all through the war the fire was 'banked up' in the living room and a library book, embroidery and knitting were brought out. My mother, Rene and Betty when she was there and myself sat in a semi-circle around the fire. Our fronts were hot and our backs were cold. We each had some knitting or embroidery on the go and the library book was passed along so we each read a chapter, putting our work down while we did so.

They were cosy evenings, Mum and Rene got on so well together I never heard a cross word between them. They were in their 20's/early 30's so I think they thought they would make the most of what they could. Every Saturday night they went to the Tivoli Theatre, until it was bombed to the ground. It was just off Freeman Street before you reached the market. It was a Variety Theatre and many famous names of the day performed there. We always went to the Pantomime at Christmas.

On these nights around the fire they would describe some of the acts to me. They also scandalised of course because American soldiers were billeted further down the street! I sat there, a little pig with big ears as the saying goes.

One night the hearth rug caught fire and as there was nothing in the shops to buy it was decided we should make another one. My mother bought a canvas and two hooks, we cut old wool coats and skirts up into strips then folded a strip of material, put the hook into a hole in the canvas and drew the strip through making a knot. We tried to make patterns out of the different colours but it wasn't easy as sometimes we ran out of a particular colour. It seemed to take ages, at last it was finished and we proudly put it in front of the fire. We didn't have any TV of course - I was seventeen when we bought our first TV but I feel that although I love to watch TV, I think it has destroyed a lot of family life.

Although the house was shabby my mother was very proud and it was spotlessly clean. Everywhere had to be cleaned every week including windows, paths and front paints. She always insisted we all sat down to have meals together and a tablecloth was alway put on the table and it had to be 'set' properly. We had a gramophone (belonging to my grandparents). It was a 'HMV' (His Majesty's Voice). It needed to be wound up with every record that was put on as the turntable was operated on a spring. I loved playing this old gramophone with a horn out of the side and regularly played 'The Laughing Policeman' to entertain Bryan and Rodney.

Rene loved buying sheets of music that were popular during the war. We both played them over and over again. We always played the piano and sang the songs on a Sunday night, favourites such as White Cliffs of Dover, We'll Meet Again and Sing As We Go. Mum had a decent voice, she had sung in a choir before the war, but Rene and I would sing them at the top of our voices!

Monday, 15 March 2010



There were two unpleasant things that happened during the war that I remember well. The first was during an air raid. An ARP warden came round to the back of the house and came to the shelter. He said that an incendiary bomb had dropped in our front barden and that an airman who was home on compassionate leave had tried to deal with it and had been killed. My mother and Rene were really upset because they knew his wife who lived behind the shop three doors away. She was expecting their first baby and was very ill so he had been given leave. I remember my mother saying she would rather the house had been burned down and him being still alive.

The second episode was one day I was running along the passage at the back of the houses. I think I was going back to school when suddenlyI was aware that a plane was flying very low and suddenly started to machine gun me - of course it wouldn't just be me he was machine gunning but I was on my own so I thought he was. I threw myself against someone's gate - I was really frightened. My grandfather heard later that he had machine gunned down Welcholme Road and in People's Park and that some people had been injured. That was certainly one of my nine lives!

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Dear Reader

It's Mother's Day and therefore a very fitting day to start this new 'series' of blogs. I'm going to post my mum's war memories. I want them to be recorded as a lasting record for her and secondly my girls and other family can read them as I type them up. They're very short chapters - episodes really - but I think very entertaining and thought-provoking and I thought others might enjoy them too, especially people from the Grimsby area who will recognises places and have a feel for events. This first chapter is an introductory, quite long with lots of people mentioned - but it does introduce you to the people mum subsequently mentions in her memories.

And Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there. Thanks to Alice and Chloe for my lovely cards and presents and thanks to my mum for sharing today with me and for always being there for me, for my girls and really for everyone! You're a very special person. xxx

Chapter 1

I was born in 1932 so I was seven when war broke out. I lived at 268 Convamore Road, Grimsby, an Edwardian terrace house which had been rented by my mother's parents. My grandmother had died when I was five years old. My father had been made redundant in the 30's depression and my mum and dad had had to go to live with my grandparents, so at the beginning of the war living in the house were my grandfather, my mother, father and myself.

My friend, a girl called Margaret Graves, a shin sharp nosed girl, (the whole family were very thin - children in the street said their mother only fed them on jellies!), anyway she came running up the passage at the back of the houses and shouted that we were at war. She asked me what did it mean and I confidently told her that the English men would stand in a long line facing the German men and that they would shoot each other!

My mother was one of four girls born between 1910-1914. My mother Edith was the eldest, then Edna, Betty and 'Rene' (Florence Irene). The youngest Rene was not married when her mother died. Before her death aged 29 years, she asked my mother to look after Rene until she had a home of her own. Rene was married on 1st January 1939. The strong bond between them never wavered.

A short while later I went to school and was issued with a gas mask. It was black, in a black case and I was supposed to carry it around with me. All the time. We had gas mask drills at school. I can still remember the rubbery smell. Younger children were issued with 'Micky Mouse' gas masks that were coloured. We were issued with ration books. I can remember we were only allowed 2 oz of sweets per week, this was increased to 4 oz a week in 1948.

Very quickly my Uncle Fred (Rene's husband) who had been a soldier before the war was called up. My Aunt Rene was pregnant when the war started and didn't want to continue living on her own in Combe Street, so she also came to my grandfather's to live and I shared my four poster feather bed with her.

Her baby named Brian was born on May 16th 1940. Whilst she was pregnant a letter arrived to say Fred was missing at Dunkirk in France. My mother withheld this news from her (she had recognised the telegram envelope) until after Brian was born, which must have been a terrible burden. After a week or two Rene heard news that Fred had been injured but he was safe in a hospital in the south of England. He had in fact been brought home by a Cornish man who had taken his fishing boat over to France to try and get some of the wounded home. He had a back operation and was flat on his back for months. Later he returned to the Army and served on three fronts. He received a special medal from his regiment and had a letter from General Montgomery. He was a Regimental Sergeant Major.

After the birth Rene got a thrombosis in her leg so I spent a few weeks running up and down stairs with trays - the only care in those days was to lay flat in bed with your leg held up.

When my Aunt Rene was better she said she would buy me a new dress for looking after her so well whilst she was ill so she took me to Freeman Street to a shop called Gee's. I loved going there because when we paid the money it was put into a little box by the sales assistant, she would then hang it somehow on a wire, then pulled a chain and the little box would whizz along the top of the shop to the cashier's little office in the middle.

Well, Rene said, 'you can choose any dress you like', so I chose a bright yellow silk one with frills all the way down from the waist and each frill was edged with bright purple silk. It had a big sash that tied in a large bow at the back. I thought it was lovely but when I got home my mother's face fell a mile, 'I was hoping you would choose one that you could wear for best', she said. I don't ever remember wearing the dress but I thought it was beautiful.

I got up one morning to find my father and grandfather digging a big hole in the garden. They were erecting an Anderson air raid shelter. It was made out of corrugated sheet iron. They covered it with soil and sandbags and in the front of the doorway they built a small 'wall' out of concrete blocks. There was no door as such. If a candle was lit a blanket was placed over the doorway. Little did I know that within a short space of time I would be awoken every night with the air raid siren and would have to sleep in this dark, cold damp shelter for the next 3/4 years.

My father had put in two benches, one either side of the shelter and hung two hammocks which Rene had braided (she was a braider before the war making fishing nets for trawlers). Grimsby was the largest fishing port in the world before the war and the majority of Grimbarians worked in fishing or its subsidary industries. I was supposed to go to sleep in one of the hammocks but I loved to look out of the doorway to see the searchlights, find the German planes overhead and the guns would try to shoot them down. We had a very big gun in Weelsby Woods called 'Big Bertha'. There was also a very big searchlight which took a long time to warm up but once it had it really lit the sky up and I used to feel very excited when I saw a plane dropping down out of the sky with smoke trailing from its engines. I didn't, as a child, ever think of the men in the planes, they were German planes, they were bombing us, so I would shout 'Mum, we've got one!' and she would invariably shout 'Come away from that door'. Sometimes bright parachute flares were dropped to light up the town before the German planes released their bombs.

About half past 3 to 4 o'clock in the morning the 'all clear' would go and we would crawl back to bed feeling very cold in the winters.

My Aunt Betty, my mother's sister, was a nurse in Hampstead Hospital London when war broke out. She was a sister of a ward and was also a qualified midwife. When the war started she was called up and became a QAN (Queen Alexander Nurse). She was courting a man, we were told he was a doctor and lived in Grantham. She said they were going to be married and I had a bridesmaid dress made which I was very excited about. However, I was going to school one morning (in 1940) and I noticed a suitcase in front of the air raid shelter so I looked inside and saw my Aunt Betty lying inside looking very white so I ran back indoors to tell my mother. They called Dr Riggall our family doctor who sent her into hospital. He said she had tried to commit suicide and that she was pregnant. There was to be no wedding. I heard later that her fiance had been killed, but since I have wondered if he was married or the relationship had gone sour.

She said she had fallen pregnant on purpose to avoid being drafted abroad. This was what they had planned hence the hurried wedding. Well, her stomach was pumped out and now she also lived at home until her baby was born. The house was bulging at the seams and there was little food, although my mother was a good housekeeper and did her best with the meagre rations. We were lucky, as Fred Clark's mother and father (Rene's husband) lived at Ravendale and came into Grimsby every week and brought us two wild rabbits that George (her husband) had caught with his ferrets. Those rabbits kept us alive, one was made into a rabbit pie (to feed five) and one into a stew. As I said we were lucky to have those rabbits but I have never eaten one since.

After the baby was born Betty received her embarkation papers and said she would have to have the baby adopted. My grandfather however said 'No child born into this family is going to be adopted - I will bring him up myself'. This meant that in reality my poor mother would bring him up (which she did) and I found myself with an adopted brother! The baby was only about 4 lb in weight when he was born - he was a month premature and not expected to live. My mother and Rene laid him in a top drawer in my mother's chest of drawers. They lined the drawer with cotton wool and at first they fed him with a pipette until he got strong enough to take a bottle. Betty was made an officer and wrote to say she was on her way to Sicily to be in charge of a hospital for British wounded. She said she had sailed on the HMS Rodney, so my mother not knowing what to call the baby who was obviously going to live now, called him Rodney. I now found myself with two babies to look after when jobs needed to be done.


Dear Reader
Just a little note about our recent trip.
Here's a picture of Maurice and I taken on the Grand Canal in Venice by an obliging American lady whilst we were being rowed across on a gondola. This is the cheapskate version of a gondola ride in Venice. The real deal costs around £70 for half an hour but you can catch the 'local authority' gondola for a quick trip across the City's widest waterway for half a Euro or 50 pufflinks as Maurice would say. As you can see it was a bitterly cold day. What you can't see is that it was Maurice's 50th birthday that day. We had a really lovely time in Venice and great fun celebrating his half century and I would recommend it as a 'must see' destination. As Barbara mentioned on Saturday the fact that they you never see a car in such a large place is a really strange phenomenon. It is also achingly beautiful and truly romantic in an original shabby chic way. The light and the mists make it an artists' dream and you can walk for as long as your legs will allow just drinking in the atmosphere and the wonderful sights and scenery crossing over canals and bridges and getting more and more lost in the labyrinth of tiny streets and passages. Then there's the heritage and of course the novelty of travelling, very leisurely, by water boat. Just watching everything being brought into the city on the water and people going about their everyday life by boat is so novel. And water is so relaxing don't you think. Window shopping in the 'designer' streets is a 'how wonderful but how much!' experience too, although I did find a branch of my very favourite sock shop in the entire world - Calzedonia - if you want to check it out. It only used to exist in Italy but the sales assistant says there's now a branch in Regent Street London which caused me great excitement. The socks and tights are wonderful quality, made in Italy, are not too expensive and wash like a dream. I bought 16 pair. Not all for me I hasten to add in case you think I've got a sock fetish, although I could write a book on socks and tights and disappointing pairs I've bought lol! Hmmmmm, as Granny would say 'Put a sock in it' Anne and change the subject, your readers will think you're mad!
Anyway, that's the good side of this unique place. On the negative you'll need Securicor to deliver the money you'll need to enjoy your holiday and the wonderful Italian food that you get everywhere else in Italy just didn't make it to Venice. They've got a tourist paradise and unfortunately they've exploited that. But still, don't let that put you off. Go. Go now.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Jane's Candy

Dear Reader
Pop over to to be in with a chance of winning Jane's bloggoversary candy. It's a year since she set up her blog and to celebrate is giving away this amazing and generous candy. Thanks Jane. And thanks for giving us so many lovely cards. Your blog is aptly named xxx
I've not managed to do any crafting this week as I'm in the process of moving my craft stuff (thanks for spurring me into action Loraine!) to what was Alice's bedroom. Alice is at uni and has made a home for herself in Leeds where she has been for nearly three years now. It's a bit sad to think that both the girls have finally left home and set up for themselves but that's life and the way of things and it's great to think that they have become independent women and are out there busy living and having fun.
I've only been crafting for a year but I seem to have spread myself all over the house so I'm trying to consolidate! If only I was a bit neater and tidier. I really am cross with myself for getting in such a mess. The irony is that I usually know where everything is. Well sort of!! I'm also typing up my mum's war memories which are absolutely fascinating and she tells a great tale. She's also found some pictures to go with the stories so it will make a wonderful family book. Tomorrow I have a pool match and Thursday am going to the pictures with mum and Chloe to see Alice in Wonderland so crafting is taking a real back burner this week. Be back soon though xxxx