Here as a tribute, are some of the stories she told me.
My Mother loved to tell me stories of her childhood, which always enthralled me, as life was so different then. Listening to her was almost like travelling in a time machine to have a glimpse of a world long since vanished.
Her birth came as somewhat of a shock to her parents, who were both in their mid-forties and had a grown up daughter, Christobel. They’d also had twins, who died in infancy. My Grandfather’s family came from Liverpool, and he was an indirect descendant of the artist, George Stubbs. My Mother had a talent for drawing too. My GrandMother came from Shropshire and was brought up in a rural area, where she remembered having to go to fetch water from the well every day.
My Mother was born in Cheshire and came into the world in the family home, with only a neighbour to offer assistance in November 1913. My Grandfather was a foreman at a soda ash plant, which made the family comfortably off compared with some of their neighbours, though even their home had no indoor lavatory, the floors were covered by linoleum rather than carpets, food had to be cooked in a coal powered oven, and lighting was provided by gas.
People feared being ill, as medical bills were expensive, and infant mortality was high. My Mother twice caught diphtheria as a young child and was lucky to survive it.
The arrival of a young sister was something of an embarrassment to my Aunt Christobel, for if she took my Mother out in her pram; she was often stopped by neighbours, saying things like “Aren’t you lucky your parents didn’t throw you out”. Having a child out of wedlock was a dreadful stigma in those days, and my Mother knew of a lady who’d given birth, while her husband was away during the first World War, who once the war was over, was forced to send the child to live with a neighbour. She was only able to see her daughter on the rare occasions her husband was out, and was shunned by some of the neighbours.
My Mother remembered how badly the country treated the disabled soldiers. War veterans, who’d lost limbs in the fighting, were forced to survive by going from house to house singing hymns in the hope of receiving a few coins to avoid starvation. The widows of the men, who hadn’t returned would make kettle holders to sell, to try and support themselves and their families. She would have been horrified by the return to extreme poverty in recent years and the need for foodbanks. She used to tell me how lucky I was to live in a country where people no longer went hungry.
Large families of ten or twelve children were common, and food was often scarce. My Mother had a school friend, who would come home from school in the lunch break, and be given a piece of bread to dip into a pan of dripping, which was the main meal of the day.
She had a playmate called Ivy, who came from a large poverty-stricken family, and was so hungry, she would beg the other children to save her their apple cores to eat. My GrandMother would often give her a sandwich. Ivy would run errands to try and earn food, even for an unpleasant old woman, who rewarded her either with a slice of bread spread with lard or half a lemon.
Milk was delivered by horse and cart, and the sight of a car was a rarity, as the only one in the area, was a large chauffeur driven vehicle owned by the chairman of the soda ash company. The children could play safely in the road, and seeing the car was a cause of excitement. Telephones were almost unknown, and my Mother was thrilled to be allowed to see a telephone at her father’s workplace, as a special treat , when she was about eight.
The soda ash company also had a private railway, which ran behind the houses, and the children enjoyed playing there, putting a halfpenny on the track for the train to flatten, and taking lumps of clay from between the sleepers to make tea cups for my Mother’s favourite doll, Lady Belinda. My Mother once had a fright when playing by the railway, as a man appeared and asked her to go with him. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to run home and tell her father, who ran in search of the man, but could not find him.
Two women in the street were bitter rivals and would fight with each other, a spectacle much enjoyed by the children. The combatants both wore old coats and hats indoors and out, summer and winter, and would try to pull out each other's hair!
My Mother told me that different games were popular at different times of year and there was “Hopscotch time”,” Hoopla time” and “Whip and Top time”. Hopscotch was by Mother’s favourite and she used to demonstrate it to me until she was well into her sixties.
My Mother reminded me about the poverty and hardship, her neighbours endured, whenever I complained about not being able to afford some over priced toy with my pocket money. She taught me to think of those less fortunate, as her Mother always tried to help those in need. Despite all the hardships, she had fond memories of her childhood and I loved listening to her stories.
I drink my tea from 3/4 pint latte mugs that I can only get from one seller on e bay. Last week I found one knocked off my bedside table and broken. I got out a new one and put it down on the cat tree while I turned the scratching post round. Up jumped Thomas Leo and down went the mug, knocking off the handle.
Two days ago, I put a cup of milk down while I carried some things upstairs. It was covered with a tissue. Harry removed the tissue and sampled the milk.
Today, I took the boys out in the yard and stayed with them while I picked elderberries. It started to go dark so we went in, or rather I did and the youngsters. There was no sign of Harry. I could not find him anywhere. Eventually, he heard the alarm in my voice and emerged from the undergrowth, but would not come in. He appeared to be stalking something.
I pleaded, opened Gourmet cat food, pretended to shut him out for the night, and rattled a tin of treats but all in vain. I then yelled "Yoghurt, Cheese!" and Harry came running inside!
WELCOME TO MISSY & CHANCES 6th ONLINE PET PHOTO SHOW
CLOSING DATE: TBA
Any proceeds from our shows will go to Yorkshire Cat Rescue (reg.charity: 1160138) who do an amazing job, why not nip over and give their page a like?
We would be very grateful for your support and hope that you can join us.
ROSETTES: 1st to 5th place in classes 1 to 20
CERTIFICATES: 6th to 10th place in classes 1 to 20
BEST IN SHOW AND RESERVE BEST IN SHOW: These are chosen from all 1st place winners and will receive a rosette and small trophy
Small trophy to biggest supporter
CLASSES (Open to all pets)
1: Beautiful Babies (SPONSORED)
2: Gorgeous Girls (SPONSORED)
3: Handsome Boys (SPONSORED)
4: Golden Oldies (SPONSORED)
5: What A Poser! (SPONSORED)
6: Daft Expression
7: Rescued/Adopted (SPONSORED)
8: Best Friends (pets with other pets or people)
9: Wildlife/Zoo/Safari Park (SPONSORED)
10:Rainbow Bridge Pets (SPONSORED)
11:Pet The Judge Would Most Like To Take Home (SPONSORED)
12:Naughty/Cheeky Pets (SPONSORED)
15:Class Sponsors Only
ANYTHING RAISED FROM CLASSES 16 to 20 WILL GO TOWARDS MISSYS MEDS AND VET CARE. PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN (Open to all pets)
16: Missy's Best Friend Wannabe (SPONSORED)
18: Shiniest Coat Or Dirtiest Pet
19:Outdoors Shot (SPONSORED)
SPONSOR A SPECIAL
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We wouldn't be still doing this without you -- you keep us going. Thank you for all of the love and support, the sweet words and comments, the kind emails, the donations to our fundraiser, the follows, the shares, the likes, and just for showing up here each day.
Most of all, thank you for keeping this place safe, positive, snark-free and feel-good. You are the nicest people on the internet. Seriously, you are.
Ten years is a mighty long time, and I'm proud that we're still here. In this time we've hosted 229 kittens -- that's 57 litters total. We've found homes for kittens 222, sadly, lost three babies, sent three to a rescue to treat their ringworm, and kept one.
We've shared 3,746 blog posts, taken over 500,000 photos, used 4.75 tons (yes tons) of kitty litter, had 15 million visits to our blog, and raised $895,366.17 for homeless cats and kittens.
To celebrate our ten-year blogiversasry, I thought it might be fun to share a picture of every single litter we've hosted, so here they are, in the order that we met them. I do get a little teary seeing all of these babies on one page. I struggle to remember the names of each, but all still hold a place in my heart.
How lucky we are having spent a little time with each of these fabulous creatures.
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