I never had a bike. I had 'good' dolls that is, they looked like babies and wore nice clothes which someone in village made. Several women had sewing machines so there was much home dressmaking and very good it was. Many buttons were used and embroidery was done. Of course, quilts were made and every woman was in a quilting club. Fireside carpets were made too and there was much knitting and crotchet work. Men did stools, crockets and chairs in wood, but gardening was their great joy. There was much land for gardens, now called allotments. Vegetables were always plentiful and there were some fine greenhouses. Billy Cummings grew black grapes and so Tommy Fisher. Mr. Dowding, who was a man of many talents could play the big base drum and did so at Chapel where it stayed. Many families kept hens and a pig. My mother always had a few hens and she liked the fat brown ones. We never ate a hen, always a cock chicken. I had a lovely big swing in our garden and I sang all the wartime songs as I went as high as I could. The wood was of 'sleepers' from the pit. My grandfather's garden was special. I just got in once before he died. It had a flight of steps with a wind mill and I can remember no more.
The pony and trap were kept in buildings opposite the garden. My father did look after Minny! She was well fed and well groomed and in the summer went into Turnbull's fields. She was used a lot because my father worked for the post office by bringing their goods from Coxhoe Bridge Station. Looking back, we used the railways as we use the roads now. As a child I was always going to Coxhoe Station to get to Ferryhill to get to Newcastle. We went to Newcastle often because Jim worked there and then Stanley went to play football there. When in training he used to walk from Newcastle, have a bath in the big tub in the yard and stay overnight. Trips went to Hart from Coxhoe and we walked through the "planton", by the mill, and then a field to the station. Odd times we might walk to Trimdon Station. Often the pony and trap took us to Blackhall Rocks, more interesting than Hart.
All my life we had a dog, and when I was a child a cat too, called Tibby. The dog I first remember was Rover and it went everywhere with my father when he had the pony and trap. Once he walked to Blackhall Rocks thinking we were there. My mother liked the cat. It liked to be warm and would sit anywhere near the fire. It was patient with me and let me dress it with dolls clothes.
My mother had some help in the house especially on Thursdays and wash days on Tuesday each fortnight. Jenny Ramshaw helped first and then her sister Annie. The family were slightly related to us I think. Their father was a very skilled blacksmith and made fire pokers, door stops, knockers etc. Thursday was a busy day, for my mother baked then and all the brass was cleaned and all the knives, forks and spoons. We had long lace curtains at the windows and they took much ironing. The lace was lovely, real lace. Many shirts were washed and ironed. My father wore stiff collars and fronts and I always wore an apron, white cotton and very pleated. All little girls did. My other wore a waist apron over her skirt. Looking back she wore blouses and skirts and not dresses. She had very stiff wired corsets, shaped exactly to the body. My father wore a morning suit to Chapel and when going visiting. He had very smart waistcoats and always wore a top hat for best and any old hat for the garden or when out with the cart. Stan used to burn one now and then.