Friday, 9 January 2009

Jobs in January

Want to know what your grannies were up to this month seventy years ago? Well, let's ask Aunt Kate, of Household Guide fame, the 1930s doyenne of home-efficiency, baby waders and crazy flavoured jam.

Extra warmth is necessary on these cold wintry days. A new fur coat is not enough for the purpose; the "inner man" must be considered too. Hot steaks and steamed puddings should all play prominent parts in the menu these days. Do not make the meals too heavy, however, but make discriminating use of recipes containing fat, sugar and starch for their heat-giving properties.

Don't be afraid to let Baby out in the fresh air, however cold the weather. Wrap him up warmly in his pram, and place him in a part of the garden which is sheltered from the wind. See that the hood of the pram is up properly. Wrap a hot water bag up in a flannel, place it at the foot of the pram, and Baby will be as cosy as can be.

The Sales are on! This is the time of year when normally level-headed women are apt to lose their sense of balance. It's easy enough when you are surrounded on all sides bu so-called "bargain." But remember that nothing is a bargain unless you have a use for it. Look out for substantial reductions in linens, household goods, lengths of material suitable for skirts and dresses, and your visits to the Sales will be worth while.

Washing day in winter is dreaded by housewives, one and all. The actual washing may be got through more or less as usual, but the drying off presents a problem. This is the time of year to take advantage of the laundry for "big things" such as sheets and tablecloths. You will not begrudge the cost when you find your washing so much easier to handle minus all the major articles.

However heat-giving and decorative the modern gas or electric fires, there is nothing to beat the comfort and cosiness of a coal fire. Big fires, of course, mean big accounts to the coalman, and so here is a hint on coal economy. Half a teaspoon of saltpetre mixed with half a cup of water and poured of a scuttle of coals will not only induce a brighter fire, but will make the coal last longer.

You know, gentlemen often come up to me and say, "Dulce Domum, you seem to have an inexhaustible amount of pep and ginger. How do you, as a member of the gentler sex, fill your day? Tell me the mysteries of the average housewife." I of course refer them to this 1930s education video on Youtube, when you get similar enquiries I suggest you do the same. Enjoy!


Angela said...

What an absolutely wonderful film!
But did you notice the shape of the girls at the beginning - quite curvy and with hefty thighs - no Twiggy-lookalikes back in the

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Angela
I did, and didn't they look fit and healthy!

Anonymous said...

"...stair climbing event"

"...for the first time on a cinema screen we can all see exactly what goes on in a sewing machine!"

"...needless needle nudging and keeps everyone in stitches, amazing!"

I loved the narrative, wonderful

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Sarah
Yes, the narration was awash with artful alliteration, wasn't it?

Lucky cinema-goers.

Jenny said...

I love Aunt Kate's list of January to dos.
Great film. How did she get up and down those stairs twenty times a day in those heels and fully laden and not fall down in a crumpled heap, that's what I'm wondering.

Islandsparrow said...

A visit here is always fun! and educational :)

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Jenny
I'm going to count how many times I clmb the stairs today, as I am deeply suspicious about this twenty times lark. Of course, they were made of strong stuff in those days.

Hi Island Sparrow
What a compliment!

Angela said...

Just given you an award!

Gumbo Lily said...

I'd like a pair of those long driving gloves that the lady-driver was wearing.

That was an interesting movie, to be sure. No wonder I fall asleep so fast at night.


Marie N. said...

Hello! I've missed you while I took some time off. This post is so interesting to me. I love the connection with the past. You've almost motivated me to get up and remove the 4 inches of new snow from my driveway that have fallen since 9 am (last time I shoveled).