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Not tonight Josephine...

Friday, 4 March 2011  |  Admin

Another post inspired by the lovely Ella and the Friday Club Carnival over at Notes from Home.

It's all about our favourite childhood memories and I suppose mine is a collection of memories about my Nanny. As the eldest grandchild, I used to stay over quite a bit, or at least that's how I remember it. I LOVED staying over with Nanny, to the point that I would beg to stay over and if it wasn't convenient for her she'd say 'Not tonight Josephine' (apparently some sort of Napoleonic quote which was way over my head at the time...) Granda was usually there too (poor Granda who'd suffered a nervous breakdown after Dunkirk and had never been quite the same again) but it was Nanny who was most definitely in charge.
Funnily enough it's smells that I can recollect best. They had an open fire and it was a treat for me to toast some soda bread on a long fork over the open fire. It tasted amazing and if you ever get the chance to toast bread on an open fire, take it! If I was really well behaved Nanny would get out the special 'toastie maker' which was two metal plates which came together like one of those fish grills for the barbecue and I'd delight in making my own toastie. None of your breville sandwich makers here! The fire had to be just right - nice red glowing embers with no smoke or flames, which usually seemed to be before Nanny 'banked it up' with slack before bed.
In the evenings, we'd sit around and either play Lexicon (although I think we possibly played 'snap' with the Lexicon letter cards) or listen to gospel music and the Reverend Billy Graham! I much preferred Lexicon out of the two.
Bed time was a ritual. We'd get our hot water bottles (or piggies as I called them because they were pink?) ready and up the stairs we'd go. Nanny would always be clutching her handbag to keep at the side of the bed...a hang over from the war when night-time meant rushing to air raid shelters with your valuables in hand.
We'd place the hot water bottles into the bed or switch on the Electric blanket on if it was REALLY cold, get our nighties on, say our prayers and then I'd climb into the double bed beside Nanny. Granda had long since been banished to his own room for snoring 'like a wild beast'. Bed-time reading would usually be a bit of the Bible, or Gideons newsletter.
If I was lucky Nanny would tell me stories about when she was a girl, or when she worked in the tea-shop in Belfast and had to carry big trays of food up and down flights of stairs. Or how during the war she was one of the first women to work in an aircraft factory, making nosecones for fighter planes. Apparently she was good at it because she could do some dressmaking and it was just like following a dress-making pattern!
Then before we went to sleep, we'd apply some of the Vicks that my Nanny always kept beside the bed. She suffered from headaches and would rub Vicks onto her forehead to help ease it. Plus a little bit under her nose to help her sleep better. This is one habit that I've fallen into (sad but true) as it really does help that stuffiness that you sometimes get overnight....
Reading back on this, it seems like another era which I suppose it was. Although a few of Nanny's habits have stayed with me (Hot water bottles and Vicks being part of my bed-time routine) I hope that my children are lucky enough to have fond memories like this to look back on...
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Here are the other entries in this carnival:
My Friend Next Door from QWERTY Mum.
My Mum was the best storyteller from Baby Budgeting.
A Favourite Childhood Memory from Patch of Puddles.

Domino Trails from Mummy From The Heart.
Freedom from Live Otherwise.
A Favourite Childhood Memory from The Gingerbread House.
Birthday Memories from The Diary of a Frugal Family.
Please Turn Over from Bibsey.
Not Tonight Josephine from Cheeky Wipes.
Freedom from Little Legends.
A Favourite Childhood Memory from Who Teaches Whom.
Holidays from Seasider In The City.
Making Paper Boats from Red Ted Art.
Remembering a Fishpond from Mymumdom.
Canada from South of the River Mum.
Goodbyes from Notes From Home.

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