God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


Leave a comment

My Life in the 1940s – 1950s

Growing up, as I did, in the industrial Midlands of England in the 1940s/1950s, we were surrounded by the filth of chimneys, belching out all manner of foul emissions. This often caused terrible smog, bringing cars and buses to a standstill as it was impossible to see further than a hand in front of you. Domestic fires added to this through the coal and coke that was burnt.

This atmosphere, of course, was the cause of many health problems for lots of families. I suffered terribly from bronchitis for most of the year and had to wear something called “Thermogene“. This came in a roll of pink material like cotton wool, which was pinned inside Liberty Bodices and vests, to keep my chest warm and help banish winter ailments. Research on the actual ingredients of the material have proved fruitless, but whatever it was, it worked!

We also had to have daily doses of Cod Liver Oil, provided free by the Health Department, as well as orange juice. The cod liver oil was ghastly and almost made me choke, but if I managed to keep it down I was rewarded with the orange juice!

Another therapy I had to undergo was sun ray treatment, which took place in a large room in a local clinic. In the centre of the room was a huge lamp and we had to stand facing the lamp, wearing just our knickers and a pair of goggles, for about fifteen minutes. I remember feeling very warm. This course of treatment lasted for no more than four sessions. At least it was one way of getting time off from school!!

It’s also a well-known fact that children in the 1950s were often under-nourished due to food shortages, rationing or just hardship. We always seemed to have plenty to eat and I looked forward to our Sunday roast. Having bought all the necessary ingredients the previous day whilst out shopping, Mum would set about roasting the beef joint in her tiny gas oven.

When it was finished she would drain off the juices and leave it to set; this made the most delicious dripping which we would spread on toast. (Oh, my mouth is watering at the very thought!!)

On the top of the cooker she had three gas jets and these would be used for the various saucepans of vegetables. I found a picture of one almost identical, except that this picture is of a doll’s cooker!!. At least it will give an idea of the kind of equipment housewives had at their disposal in the 1940s.

So, to continue – we always had a sweet (or pudding as we called it) and my favourite was bananas and custard. During the war bananas were unavailable and so, when they were finally to be had again, they were something new to us. It was a special treat to have a banana. How we take things for granted these days, with such wonderful fruits from all over the world available in the supermarkets all year round.

Sunday tea usually comprised fish paste sandwiches, a fruit cake or ring of buns and a dish of peaches in syrup. We weren’t allowed to have the fruit until we’d eaten at least one half slice of bread and butter. This was probably to make it go further, as one tin of peaches would have to suffice for the whole family of five.

Incidentally, Monday’s evening meal consisted of minced meat left over (or put aside specially) from the Sunday joint, made into a shepherd’s pie. Pastry left from making that would be used to make an apple pie for pudding, probably lasting two days at least. (No fridges then, either!!). Very little food was wasted in those days!!

But, throughout all those days of hardship and shortages, I know that my parents did their best for us kids, no matter what. We always had warm clothes and even treats of comics (albeit second-hand ones from the market) and oftentimes Mum would pass her dish over to one of us saying that she’d had enough to eat. We never realised that probably there wasn’t enough to go round, so Mum or Dad would forego their own food for us.

These days, 63 years on, I live in a comfortable, warm home and to do my weekly shopping I just jump into the car and drive (less than a mile!) into Asda’s car park. I haven’t yet succumbed to home deliveries though!!

In the 1950s shops were certainly not open as long then as they are now. Opening times were usually 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. five days a week and on one of those five days all the shops in the town closed for half a day. There were no businesses open on Sundays back then. I often wonder what my Dad would think of my life these days compared to what he knew just before he died in 1972. So much has changed in the past 41 years.

Sometimes I think it’s moving too quickly. One day a new gadget appears on the shelves and within days it’s superseded by something bigger or better. When I was young a tablet was something you took when you were ill, an eye pad was something you put over an injured eye and a mobile was something that was suspended over a baby’s cot. Times have certainly changed since then, but much as I remember being very happy when I was young, I certainly wouldn’t wish to go back and live like that again. I like my comforts too much!!

And yet, you know, whatever happens in our lives, whether it be good or bad, is part of God’s plan for us. If we choose to follow Jesus and give our lives to Him, then we shall understand why all these things happen to us. Sometimes we might think of going somewhere or doing something but for some reason it just doesn’t happen. That’s God working in our lives, probably because what we wanted to do wouldn’t be good for us.

Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans chapter 8 verse 28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Advertisements


Leave a comment

No Signal!

Returning from a holiday recently, I switched on the PC in order to catch up with our email messages that would have come in whilst we were away. Imagine my surprise when I tried to connect to the internet and the screen remained blank – nothing – no signal! It was as if I’d suddenly lost some important faculty – sight, feeling, mobility. For a few seconds I was completely stumped. “What’s happened,” I thought.

We set to and began checking all the connections, plugs, sockets – even the mains switch. But they were all securely plugged in or switched on. Then we looked at the hub. It was blank – dead! Whilst there should have been a series of four blue lights, each one telling us that a particular function was operating, there was, in fact, nothing! Now what? (And we hadn’t even unpacked the suitcases!!).

We tried to get online (just in case the hub was fibbing!), but all we got was a huge exclamation mark and a message telling us that it was not possible for us to be connected. I wanted to shout at the screen, “We know that already!” However, all was not lost as also in the screen was another message taking us step-by-step through an elimination process to discover the problem.

Eventually it transpired that there was a break in the connection between our house and the phone company’s box 50 metres away. The final message read: “Please contact your telephone company………” “We haven’t got a phone that works”, I shouted at the screen. But, of course, I do have a mobile phone, albeit a very ancient model, and this proved to be our final hope.

It took two days and three phone calls on my mobile (in an area that receives practically no signal at all), but we got it sorted and it was great to be back in touch with the world once more.

Hoorah!

And, once again, this set me thinking about how much we take things for granted.

Just stop for a moment and imagine living in a place where there is no electricity, running water or sanitation? There are no shops in this place (no, not even an Asda!). There are no roads to get from one place to another. And yet, there really are places like this in our world today. It’s hard for us to imagine if we’ve never been there, because we are surrounded by all these things. I’ve often wondered how people living in such places manage without all the mod cons that we take for granted, but they do because they’ve never had them.

I was born at a time when none of the modern household gadgets was available to us. We had no phone, no car, no washing machine, no fridge or freezer. In my early life we had no T.V. and, of course, no computers. The list of the things we didn’t have is endless, and yet, ask anyone who is my age what it was like, and they will probably say the same as me – “we got along O.K. without them”.

But there is one thing that I didn’t know about when I was little and that was just how much God loves me. Yes, I went to Sunday School and yes, I heard about Jesus but since I gave Him my life thirty years ago, I now know Him as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus died for me and He died for you, also.

In our mid-week Communion meeting at Church this week, our Pastor read the account of Jesus’ Last Supper, arrest and crucifixion. He didn’t just read it – he made us be there. We stood beside Jesus as He was mocked, beaten, whipped and insulted. We walked with Him up the hill to the place where He was crucified and we stood at the foot of the Cross and looked up at Him. It was so very moving and made me realise just what He went through for each and every one of us. Throughout it all He never once spoke ill of His accusers. He knew that that is what He’d come for – to take all our guilt and shame and to die for us.

Your guilt and shame is nailed to that Cross. Jesus did it for you.

May I suggest you read the following verses from Matthew’s Gospel?:

Chapter 26 verses 17-29; then verses 36-46;
Chapter 27 verses 27-50

It’s a lot to read I grant you, but it may be the best read you’ll ever have!