God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Tomorrow

Yes, I know I said my previous blog was to be the final one – I know! But, when you are given a new subject to write about, you just have to go with it. So, just for this one time (?) I’ve resurrected it. (Another idea has just popped into my head!)

When I was young I could never get my head around “tomorrow”. Mum or Dad would tell us we had, say, six more tomorrows then we’d be going on holiday. Or, whilst anxiously awaiting Christmas Eve, Dad would say it’s only another week – just seven tomorrows. I thought that there were seven days in a week, not seven tomorrows.

To confuse me even more, when “tomorrow” arrived it became “today”. So what happened to the today gone by? Well, of course, it became yesterday! All very baffling for a young, active mind to take in.

My Gran used to tell us that “Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.” Now that’s confusing, too.

And there’s an old saying: “Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.” Ah, I understood that – I think.

Putting off until tomorrow does nothing to ease a problem; if a problem it is. Whatever we “put off” will still be there two, three, four days later. Putting it off only exacerbates the worry.

The Bible tells us not to put things off until tomorrow:

(James 4 verses 13-14 N.I.V.)

(13) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow – only God knows . However, one thing’s for certain, when Jesus comes back, as He will, to judge the living and the dead, will you be among those who wish they’d listened when someone told them the truth?

Being a Christian is not wearing leather gloves on Sunday and being holier than thou. It’s about knowing the Person of Jesus, having a real relationship with Him and, as a result, having the knowledge that one day we will all be together in Heaven with our Heavenly Father – for ever and ever.

There is only one way to get to Heaven, whatever you may think to the contrary:

The following verses are from John 14 verses 2- 6:

2. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Don’t put it off any longer. Find a church, go to a service and be amazed.

God Bless.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/269934571385416592/


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Then or Now?

I’ve often written what it was like when I was a child in the 1940s, growing up in post-war Britain, and a thought came to me this morning – was it really “the good old days”? Did we really have the fun we seem to remember whilst at school or playing our innocent games.

Innocence it certainly was, and for that I’m grateful that I grew up in those times. We didn’t have any of the pressures youngsters have these days, either in society in general or amongst our own peers. We really were innocent. I think that’s a point for the “Then” team!

Our teachers were respected for the most part, certainly in the early years of our education. We looked up to them, in more ways than height. We respected their seniority. Nowadays young people do not hesitate to call me by my given name, even though I am over half a century older than many of them. But would I like it if they addressed me as “Mrs.”: I think not – so that’s a point in favour of “Now”.

Getting away from relationships, we have the question of technology. When I first started work in 1958, I was using an Imperial typewriter, just like the one in the picture.

As you will see it was quite a hefty machine. The carriage moved across with each stroke of the keys, propelled by a ratchet, until, at the end of the line the typist would have to return it manually – and off we’d go again! The ink was contained in the ribbons seen on the left and right and as the key struck the ribbon, it would impress the letter onto the paper. These machines are very nice to have as ornaments or conversation pieces in our homes these days, but they were the latest in technology to us.

Today technology moves so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep up – iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Kindle and so on. In my younger days an eye-pad was something you put on a sore eye, a tablet was medication you’d take, (probably for the sore eye) and a kindle was a piece of wood that helped ignite the fire (causing a spark to fly into the eye, requiring an eye-pad and a tablet no doubt). But I have to give the point to “Now” on technology.

We all moan at the length of the queues in the supermarkets and, when I hear someone grumbling about having to wait in line for a few minutes, I would love to take them back to my childhood days and see what they make of it. No Asda or Sainsbury’s then. Each commodity had its own shop and, sometimes, inside the grocer’s was a collection of counters where purchases made at each one had to be paid for there, not at a final checkout. Afterwards it all had to be carried home, probably on a ’bus, No, thank you, I certainly approve of supermarkets and give a great big tick in favour of “Now”!!

I could include many more examples of the difference between Then and Now and, looking back over this article, I see that I’ve ticked most of them “Now”, so maybe it wasn’t such a wonderful time after all – or was it?


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New Year

“Well,” as my Mum used to say on 2nd January each year, “it’s all over for another year”

I’ve never given much thought to her remark until this morning, when I realised I’d been saying the same thing myself for years!!!

It’s odd, don’t you think, that from September onwards every year Christmas and New Year are everywhere: in the shops, on the radio and T.V., in the newspapers. If some cataclysmic event happens somewhere in the world we tend to say, “What a shame it’s happened at Christmas”, but the tragic event would be just as dreadful were it to happen on 12th June, or 31st October.

Christmas, as most of us know, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, albeit probably not on the precise date. But do we put as much effort into celebrating that wonderful event as we do with the shopping and gift wrapping that means Christmas to so many?

When I was a child I rarely went to church. I remember attending Sunday School but (dare I say) only to collect the picture stickers that would eventually add up to receiving a book, the value of which would reflect how many stickers I’d collected over the year. What’s more I would be eligible to go on the Sunday School outing, the details of which I have no recollection – it must have been somewhat low-key, I fear!

I can’t remember, either, whether or not we had a Nativity Play, but I’m sure there would have been one. I don’t recall ever taking part.

So from this you can see that the religious side of Christmas meant very little to me.

We always had presents and extra food, Santa always came and left us a pillow-case with fruit and sweets in. I know for sure he came because Dad always left him a mince pie and a glass of beer. Next morning they had gone but Santa had left us a note saying, “Thank you” – and Rudolf thanked us for the carrot – magical times!!

New Year was celebrated with a party for Mum and Dad’s friends and we had to go to bed as usual at 7 o’clock. However, at 11.45 Dad would come and wake us up to see the New Year in with them. We’d all stand round the radio waiting for Big Ben to strike twelve and on the final “bong” everyone would cheer and toast the New Year. We kids had to be satisfied with a glass of lemonade, then, back to bed we’d go. I wasn’t sure what it was all about but everyone else seemed to know what was going on!!

Almost Midnight

This year, my husband and I were in bed by 10 p.m. and were undisturbed all night. If there were any fireworks we didn’t hear them – it all passed us by. Perhaps I’m getting too old for strenuous celebrations.

So, may I wish you all a very happy New Year and may 2014 bring you all you desire.

Happy New Year 2014


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Winter 1947

It’s January 1947 and I’m 4½ years old. During the winter of 1946–47 the UK experienced several cold spells, beginning on 21 January 1947, bringing the severest snowfalls for 150 years to the country. Roads were closed and railways became blocked. Coal supplies, already low following the Second World War, struggled to get through to power stations and many were forced to shut down due to lack of fuel. The government introduced several measures to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting industrial supplies completely. Radio broadcasts were limited, and some magazines were ordered to stop being published; newspapers were cut in size. Public morale was very low due to these measures and the Minister of Fuel and Power received death threats and had to be placed under police guard. Towards the end of February there were also fears of a food shortage as supplies were cut off and vegetables frozen into the ground.

Imagine frost on the inside of the bedroom windows! We had no central heating, just one coal fire in the front room. At night Mum would find as many blankets as she could, after which it was coats to keep us warm. The bedroom floor was covered in linoleum, not carpet, so our feet felt as if they would stick to the cold floor when we walked. I recall going with Mum to the coal merchant and pretending that I was someone else’s little girl so that Mum could get an extra bag of fuel. So two bags of coal were loaded into the baby’s pram (he wasn’t in it at the time!)

It was grim! It has gone down in history as one of the severest winters in living memory. However, as I was such a small child it hardly seemed to affect me. I don’t remember going without food, but it must have been very hard for my parents.


One thing I do remember with vivid clarity was the time I was stuck in a snow drift up to my armpits. Now, you might think that’s hilariously funny (I do, now!) but for a 4½ year old it was terrifying. I’d been sent out to play so that Mum could “get on with things” (probably connected to my seven-month old brother). So, off I went on my adventure. I have no idea what I was thinking about but I can remember a sudden “sinking” feeling. Apparently I’d stepped where there was a snow-covered ditch and down I went. When I think now of what might have happened I am horrified but I must have shouted or cried so loudly that someone came along and pulled me out.

I’m not sure to this day whether I received loving cuddles or not when I arrived home soaking wet, frozen cold and a very unhappy bunny.

I love reminiscing about my childhood as it makes me reaslie just how fortunate we are these days.

We’ve been warned that this winter may well be as bad as 1947, but, even if that transpires to be true, we will have a better time of it than we did 67 years ago.

How our lives have changed since then. And most of us, including myself, take so much of it for granted. Heating, lighting, carpets, well-stocked shops and supermarkets. We really have it all.

So, please, if you’re reading this and you are living where there is plenty, spare a thought for those people, even in Europe and America, who have little or nothing to look forward to this Christmas because of poverty.

And thank God for what you have!!


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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.”


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The First Day

All of us have experienced a “first day” in something or other, whether it’s the first day at school, the first day at work or the first day of a holiday – there are always “first days” in all of our lives.

I can’t remember the very first day I started school because I was only three years old. At that time (1945) there was a scheme in place for working mothers, especially those engaged in war work, to be able to send their very young children to school before the age of five years. It was, I suppose, something like the modern play school or activity group, but at that time it was ground-breaking.

The men were, mostly, in the armed forces serving their country and the women, mostly, stayed at home. However, in 1941 women were called to do war work. Mum worked in a munitions factory, filling bomb cases with phosphorous – a most unpleasant task, you will agree. But it was a necessary job and someone had to do it. Because of the dangerous nature of working with ammunition, nobody was allowed to take anything into the workshops that could cause an explosion. This meant no matches, coins, hairpins, rings or anything metallic. They were searched as they entered the factory. She often told us that at night her fingers would glow from the phosphorus that remained under her nails. Needless to say, I don’t remember any of that.

And the same goes for my first day at Junior School. All I can remember is the playground and it seemed massively large to me. We could run around, skip, chase each other but when the whistle was blown by the teacher we would all form a line and march back into the classroom. I must have eaten school dinner that day, but have no memory of it whatsoever.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (Big School) my first day at Grammar School, which I remember with vivid clarity. Whenever I think about it I can still feel the excitement combined with trepidation.

My first day at work was in 1957 when I was 15 years old. I had left school with no qualifications and had always dreamed of being an air hostess. The idea of travelling to places I’d only read about in books appealed to me, but there was not much chance of that job with my school reports telling how I must try harder! So, for me, the next best thing was to work in a shop. Something of a step down from my dreams into reality, but I thought it would be fun. My shop was a sweet shop.

I’d often played shops when I was much younger and it seemed to be quite good fun. Mum or Dad must have seen an advertisement relating to the job because there I was, on the bus, going to the next town to start work. My pay was to be £2.5.0d (£2.25p) a week from 8.45 a.m. until 6 p.m. six days a week. I was so excited and for the short time I was there I really enjoyed it. The owner taught me how to wrap a box of chocolates that was to be given as a gift and how to speak to customers and recommend “just that little bit extra” to buy. I do remember three ladies who came into the shop every Friday evening at 5 o’clock to buy their sweets for the coming week. They always had the same order and I was soon able to remember how much each one cost and what the total would be. (They thought my addition skills were superb!). Sadly, after six months, I left as we moved house to another town.

Again, in a previous blog (18 to 20) you can read of my first day in the W.R.A.F., travelling up to Grantham for the basic training and how I was admonished by the corporal before I’d even set foot on the training camp!!

Since then I’ve had many first days. First day as a Mum, first day in an airplane, first day as a grandma, my first day as a Christian and so it goes on.

But have you ever thought about the very First Day?

Imagine, if you will, nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s not easy to do because we’ve always been surrounded by “something”. But try to imagine NOTHING. Close your eyes. What can you see? Nothing. But you know when you open them again you will see something.

The very first chapter of the Bible tells us of there being Nothing.

Read the following slowly and imagine each thing mentioned happening.

We’ll begin at Verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1:

2. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The earth was formless – no shape – nothing.
Darkness was over the surface of the deep – there was nothing.
And God said: “Let there be light” – suddenly there was something.
God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness – day and night.
And there was evening, and there was morning – The First Day.

Everything has to start somewhere. Only God can make Something from Nothing.

If you haven’t thought much about this before, read those four verses again, slowly. Take it all in. God is our Creator. He made everything.

And, what’s more, He sent His Son to die for us so that our wrongdoings can be forgiven.

Check it out. It’s worth it. He’s worth it!


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Are We Nearly There?

If you’ve followed my Blogs to date, you’ll already know that, when I was a child in the post-war Midlands there wasn’t much money to spare for extras. However, we always seemed to have enough for a holiday by the sea – not every year, but certainly I can remember a couple of times. On both of these occasions we went to a caravan site at Prestatyn, a holiday resort in north Wales, and spent a week there.

My parents didn’t own a car until the beginning of the 1960s, so if ever we went any distance it would be by coach or train. However, for these holidays I definitely remember going by car.

My Dad, as an extra part of his duties at work, would often be called upon to drive the elderly Managing Director into work and as a “thank you” he was allowed to borrow the car occasionally for his own use. The car was a 1948 Ford Prefect and I can still remember the registration – HFD 718. If you own that car, then it’s the one I once rode in!!!

So, off we would go, with our things packed, not in suitcases, but in bags and bundles. (I don’t think we owned any suitcases as we didn’t often go away.)

Today, the journey from where I lived to the holiday destination takes 2hours and 9 minutes and is 108 miles in length, 69 of which are on motorways. So, forget the motorways, imagine you’re driving in a three-speed Ford Prefect and you’ll realise that it probably took us almost a whole day to get there!

On the journey we’d sing songs or play I-Spy and when we became bored with that (three kids in the back of a cramped car!) we’d start asking, “Are we nearly there?” We’d probably travelled only a few miles, but it did seem a very long way!

So the next thing was, “first person to see the sea”, but we had too many false alarms so that was scrapped – “Are we nearly there?” Dad and Mum suggested different things we could look out for – buses, cyclists, cars like the one we were in, horses and carts, but each time we ended up saying, “Are we nearly there?” It could vary, of course, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?”.

We would, of course, eventually arrive and have a great week playing on the beach, paddling, splashing about, building sandcastles, hoping the incoming tide wouldn‘t wash it all away. We never asked for anything more – it was wonderful.

But, all too soon the week was over and yet, you know, the funny thing is, we never asked the same question on the way home!! We just wanted to stay in that lovely place forever.

My Christian journey has been a bit like this. I was travelling along the road towards salvation and once this was achieved by accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour then I wondered “What next?” “Am I there, yet?” At first I had no-one to help me or show me the next step, as it were.

If you’re in this position, or even if you’re still searching for the answers, my advice to you is to speak to someone who is already a Christian, They’ll soon point you in the right direction and then you won’t have to ask, “Am I nearly there?”

    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.
    (Jeremiah 29 verse 11 N.I.V.)
    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    (Romans 10 verse 9 N.I.V.)