A piece

While preparing breakfast this morning the smell of bacon frying brought back a childhood memory from 1970’s England. A time of vibrant colours, heady music and my Granddad’s quiet, gentle nature. My Mom’s family were from Smethwick (pronounced Smerrick), a Black Country town to the west of Birmingham. I remembered asking my Mom if I could have “a piece in the dip”. She would dip one side of a slice of white bread into the juices from the Sunday roast. I would add ground white pepper, fold the bread in half and savour each mouthful of this prized gastronomic delight. Me and my brothers would also enjoy a “piece” spread with dripping later in the week. This time honoured tradition began for me in my Nan’s house. 

Looking back I have realised that this was a rare glimpse into 1940’s. The kitchen had an enamelled gas stove, crock sink, wooden drainingboard and faded toile de jouy wallpaper. 

Why the Sylvac Hyacinth vases? My Nan had one just like the one at the back, it sat proudly on the sill of the bay window of her home in The Oval, Smethwick, West Midlands, UK. 

More about my accent can be found here Evolution of my accent
More Black Country words and meanings: Black Country Dialect

Classic Black Country sayings: Black Country Sayings

Winter red

It has been an unusually warm August. Cherry, magnolia and jasmine flowers are bursting forth in response. The above bush in Petersham Park, Sydney, Australia appears to be bearing miniature hibiscus blooms. Or could it be a camellia?

Mostly silent alarm

I work in a building completed in the mid to late 1960s. I’m guessing this alarm was installed around that period too. The rapid, high pitched ringing has been supplemented by sirens, whooping and a voice instructing inhabitants to “evacuate the building”.

I like the fact that this artefact is evidence of the industry that once thrived in the inner west Sydney suburb of Marrickville. 

Droitwich Spa remembered

30 years ago I was living in a small spa town in England. The cinema was located in one of the forgotten spa buildings, grandly named the Winter Gardens. Built in the 1930’s, in its heyday it was reputed to have the best sprung dance floor in the Midlands. Rows of seats were screwed to the floor to create the picture palace. The building became a victim of redevelopment at a time of video cassettes and a general loss of interest in cinemas. 

I remember with dewey-eyed nostalgia, the musty smelling space with dampness pervading the air. The chill of the place lingered in my bones long after leaving. Those were the days; buying Kia Ora, toffee apples and cornettos from the usherette and watching cartoons before the feature film. My eyes smarted from the cigarette smoke fuelled haze caught in the oblong light stream from projector to screen. I’m sure I went to the cinema as a teenager more than twice. Yet there are only two movies that I remember seeing: Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Mad Max; significant given my interest in paganism and eventual move to Australia!

The picture is from http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/48952/photos/125515