Category Archives: The Wartime Housewife Blog

The Wartime Housewife’s Secret Project Revealed at Last!

Do remember that for the last few months I have been teasing you in a naughty way about having a Secret Project on the go?  Well my darlings, it has come to pass and this is the last post I’m going to write …… on this site!

From Saturday morning ( don’t try to sneak a peek before then) The Wartime Housewife will be a Proper Website at

www.wartimehousewife.com

It will still have all the regular recipes, household hints, advice, stories, culture, reviews, muttering and unreasonable ranting that you’ve come to expect from me, but it will also have lots of new bells and whistles including

THE WARTIME HOUSEWIFE CORNER SHOP

The Corner Shop will be very much open for business from Saturday and will stock lovely, high-quality things for Home and Garden, Gifts for Children, Books, Something for the Chaps, Wartime Housewife branded goods, Seasonal Gifts and items from the Robert Opie Collection.

There is also a section called ‘Limited Editions’ and this will have things that I find – at antique markets, sales, auctions, second-hand bookshops and so forth – that I think will be of interest.  These may change on a weekly or even daily basis, so you’ll have to keep checking, as you just never know what you’ll find!

The items for sale have been carefully chosen to fit in with The Wartime Housewife ethos of buying good quality, well-designed things that will last, that will be treasured and won’t end up in landfill after a couple of months.
I have started with a relatively small collection but this will grow and develop as time goes on.

Anyone who has subscribed will automatically come with us to the new site and there will be an automatic re-direct if you inadvertently tap in the old site or forget to change it in your ‘Favourites’.

One little ‘bug’ that we haven’t fixed yet is that on pages where there are a lot of products, you will see a little italic sentence at the bottom left of the page saying ‘older posts’.  You will need to click on this to see the rest of the stock.  This will be rectified soon but if you could just remember to click this so you don’t miss anything.  This is a brand new site and there could conceivably be the odd glitch, so please bear with me – it will all come right.

I will take this opportunity to thank you all for your interest and support and look forward to hearing from you at the new site.  I also give my heartfelt thanks to Freelance Unbound, without whom absolutely none of this would have been possible.

SEE YOU ON SATURDAY!

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I can live how I like (within reason)

My life is very hectic as I’m sure is the case for many of you; I am constantly running from place to place and the timetable of my day is effectively ruled by my sons’ activities.  I try to sit down for half an hour to have my lunch (whilst watching ‘Doctors’ I’m slightly ashamed to say) and I usually sit down to watch a bit of television or a film for an hour in the evening but then I carry on working, often until around one o’clock in the morning and frequently later.  This does not sit comfortably with a 7am start.

I am a woman who needs my sleep.  Over the years, the only thing that has stood between me and total meltdown is that I fall asleep the moment my light goes out and do not wake until my alarm goes off in the morning.  I lose sleep cumulatively over the week and, at the weekends, I sleep until at least eleven in order to restore my factory settings.

But now, my day is longer, I drive 450 miles a week just going to school, work and clubs and there are things afoot at the Wartime Housewife which are demanding more time and concentration.  I need more sleep and I have decided that whenever possible, I will go to bed for an hour at some point during the day and, most importantly, I will not feel guilty about it because I’m a grown up and I can do what I like.

The problem is that we have all been brainwashed by generations of people who say things like “Early to be, early to rise” and who frown on people who get up late.  There is now a culture of never sitting still, never having thinking time or acknowledging when one needs to rest.  My grandmother always had an hour’s rest after lunch and she was much better for it.  A geologist friend of mine used to put a card on his office door saying ‘Do not disturb – I am thinking’ and would put it on his timesheet as Thinking Time.

The difficulty that both my sisters and I have, is that our mother was ill for many years with depression and agoraphobia and would stay in bed all day, every day, not getting dressed or doing anything in the house.  We have spent our lives doing regular checks on ourselves to make sure that we’re not starting to behave like her or slipping into bad habits.  Even though our mother is now better, she still takes to her bed at the drop of a hat and we sub-consciously rail against any behavior that feels similar.

I didn’t get to bed until gone one o’clock this morning and, as I was coming back from the school run, I could feel my eyelids drooping as I drove along the A6.  Not good.  So I went back to bed for an hour and now I feel better.  And what’s more, I shall continue to do this whenever I feel like it, in the interests of sanity.

I am the Wartime Housewife, I am a grown up and I can do what I like (within reason).

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A Weekend in The City

What a busy weekend I’ve had.  The father of my children picked The Boys up at 9am on Saturday and I shot straight off down to Elephant and Castle in London to… oh no, I can’t tell you that, you’ll find out soon enough, but I did have the pleasure of seeing The Marquis of Barnet and Carlos Fandango.   The traffic was pretty good and I was there by 11.45 which included a stop off for a coffee and a bun at The Gates of London service station because I was in danger of falling asleep.

Sadly not my photograph

I came straight in through the centre of town and was, as ever, completely thrilled by the view as I crossed the river via Tower Bridge.  In the wink of an eye I could see the beauty of Tower Bridge, the ancient Thames itself, the Tower of London, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and behind me The Shard racing skywards like a living mirror straining towards the sun.

London is beginning to feel like an exciting place again.  There is so much regeneration going on; new and beautiful structures going up and old ones being refurbished.  Yet somehow, London absorbs it all; the old bumping elbows with the new, the ancient holding its head high as it welcomes in the modern with open arms.

After I had finished … the thing I was doing … I headed for Walthamstow to visit my old friend Mrs Gnasher whom I have known since I was ten.  Mrs Gnasher hails from Co. Durham and, despite living in London all her adult life, still has her gorgeous accent and will sing ’The Lambton Worm’ at the drop of a hat (whether you asked her to or not).  For a cheerful version of this song, complete with words and chords, see below.  I suspect the singer might actually be a Manxmen by his accent.

The Olympic Stadium is coming on a treat, giant cranes sweeping over the East End like great, lumbering iron men.  The Velodrome resembles a giant version of those little plastic Pringles boxes – all very exciting.

The Skylon at the Festival of Britain in 1951

I left my lovely friend and headed for The Aged Parent who lives near Staines on the edge of Heathrow Airport.  We had chicken and chips for supper and watched an achingly brilliant documentary about the Festival of Britain in 1951.  The FOB is worth a blog in itself, but I found myself fervently wishing that I had been born in time to have seen it for myself.

They should have re-done it as part of the Millennium celebrations or even for next year’s Olympics but I guess at the moment we simply don’t have the money.  The thing is, that after the war they didn’t have the money either, but what the FOB sang out loud and clear is ‘We’re down but not out’ and the architecture and design that went into it heralded a bright and optimistic new world that gave people tremendous hope for the future.

In the morning, I dragged the AP out of bed and packed her little valise so she could come and stay with me for a while.  Sister the First turned up just before we left for a lovely but fleeting visit, then we headed out to Sister the Second to give her belated birthday presents and have lunch.

We arrived back in Desbo at about 4pm, just in time to bake some cakes for Boy the Elder to take to school this morning for his birthday.  He is 14.  It is not possible.  The Boys were collected from their father at 7.30pm.  I unpacked the … results of my trip … , cooked dinner, put The Boys to bed and now I am here telling you all about it.

It was a lot of miles and I am very glad that I have got a couple of days off to get my head down and  learn how to … (hand is clapped firmly over mouth).

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Ticking off jobs on the ‘Things to Do’ list

I’m afraid I can’t provide you with anything devastatingly intellectual or life-changingly useful on the domestic front today because I am too busy.  I have a clear day and I’m going to mop up as many of the little DIY and organizational jobs that are playing on my mind as I can.

My short-term memory is appalling and, unless I have a list, or a Filofax entry, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, when I need to do it or to whom.  I therefore have a paper list, which is updated at least weekly, which has four columns; Priority, Area of Life (ie home, school, Wartime Housewife, other work etc), Item and Date Done.

This keeps me on the straight and narrow and also allows me to cross off ‘X’ amount of jobs before I allow myself to do something nice, like have a tea break or watch ‘Doctors’ at lunch time.  It also means that if I’m really steaming ahead, the jobs that have been wallowing on the list for some time, start to float to the top.  The list is currently 1 ½ sides of A4.  But I did get the table and chairs built for my kitchen yesterday, so no more porridge on the dining room carpet.

Therefore, when I have dropped the boys off at school, my jobs will be as follows:-

  • Put up hat racks in the hall so I can empty the bag of hats that is sitting in the dining room
  • Put up a key rack in the hall so I stop screaming for my keys every time I go out
  • Put up a shelf in Boy the Elder’s room so that he doesn’t leave his schoolbooks in tottering piles in the sitting room
  • Put up a bracket for the ironing board  in The Bunker(after all it’s rarely going to be used)
  • Buy a curtain pole and put it up at the dining room window so that the curtains are no longer sitting in a pile in the dining room
  • Clean the window in The Bunker as it’s half underground and covered in crap
  • Make a hair appointment as I haven’t been to the hairdressers for nearly two years.
  • Take the new ‘British Pigs’ review to my local bookshop for a bit of mutual PR

And by the by, what bastard thought putting ‘Downton Abbey’ on at the same time as ‘Spooks’ on a Sunday night was a good idea?  Luckily, ‘Spooks’ is going to be repeated tonight at 11.10pm.  And wasn’t Downton Abbey a cracker last night – talk about starting the series with a bang.

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Nearly there…

This time, my absence has not been due to the ineptitude of Talktalk, but due to the fact that my office is located in the cellar. Consequently I have to get down and dirty with ethernet cables and home networks. God willing if I’m spared, I shall be getting the cables tomorrow and will then be unstoppable.

By the way, I hope you can read this as I’m typing on my Bilberry and the letters aren’t showing up. SO nearly there…

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Apologies for my continued absence

Many of my eager readers will have noticed the shameful lack of new, useful and inspiring posts on the Wartime Housewife blog recently. This is as distressing to you as it is to me, and I very much hope to be back with you all as soon as humanly possible.

However, my recent house move (successfully completed, you will be glad to hear) has proved somewhat arduous and, coupled with numerous technical problems to do with that new-fangled gadget they call “the internet”, means that I have been unable to get online to update the blog.

Fear not, my lovely readers! Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Until then, please remember me in your hearts and keep me in your bookmarks.

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It’s the times – they’re a-changin’

Please forgive the slightly erratic nature of the postings at the moment, but there are Good Reasons, and these Reasons will soon be revealed.  Ah haa!

Suffice to say that I have spent the day in London, our glorious, if fast, smelly and congested, capital city, doing Secret Things in the guise of the Wartime Housewife.
Two hours to drive down, four hours to drive back.  Mmm.  And it was still cheaper than letting the train take the strain.

Secret Things?  Good Reasons?  Comings and Goings?  And probably Gypsy Signs and dog called Timmy to boot?  Oh, and a black Bentley moving silently in the dark…. actually I made the last bit up, there is no Bentley.

I promise that tomorrow you will get a proper posting and before long, all will be revealed………..

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