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Janis Ellen Lewin (nee Manterfield)

7 September 1957 – 9 November 2017

 

Janis Ellen Lewin (nee Manterfield) 1957 - 2017 (A4)Monday the 27th of November 2017 was a very sad day. It was the funeral of my lovely sister Janis. I wanted to mark the day in memory of a very special person.

Janis was wife to John, Mother to Amy and Tom, Sister-in-Law to Sue, Aunt to Alice, relative and friend to many others and my only sibling.

Janis’s funeral took place at Loughborough Crematorium at 11am, with a wake afterwards at The White Horse on Leicester Road in Quorn. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the turn out for her funeral was astonishing. The crematorium was completely full, all the seats were taken and people were standing all around the room from end to end.

Order of Service for Janis's funeral (27 Nov 2017)

This is the eulogy that John, Amy and Tom Lewin put together, read by Suzanne Buckeridge during the service:

“Janis Ellen Manterfield was born on the 7 September 1957 in the family home at 5 Front Street, Birstall to Dennis and Betty Manterfield. A sister for older brother Roy. Jan’s father gave her the nickname ‘Pod’ because she was so small when she was born, he thought she looked like a pea in a pod. This affectionate nickname stayed with her all her life. Growing to the height of 4ft 10½” tall (always aspiring to be 5ft, but never quite making it!), Pod was living proof that good things come in small packages!

Two years after Jan was born, the Manterfield family moved to 56 Denegate Avenue in Birstall, with a big garden that was landscaped by Dennis. Janis loved spending time in the garden with her Dad; making bonfires, planting seeds, and drinking cups of tea. The large garden also enabled them to have many family pets; so many that at one time the nickname ‘Manterfield Menagerie’ was coined! The pets ranged from dogs and cats, all the way through to Charlie Jones the tortoise. The Manterfields were an active family, going on family holidays around Britain, and regularly attending clubs, such as the Bowmen of Birstall.

Janis left school at 16, and after 6 months at BPX Electrical she moved to the British United Shoe Machinery Company where her parents worked. It was also the place where she met a long haired, bearded individual called John Lewin. Jan always got a lift to work with her Dad, so before work started, she would sit in his office reading the paper. Janis was initially cool to John’s advances and decided instead to hide behind her newspaper when he visited the department. A decade later, fate played a hand when John was on a Saturday night out with ‘the boys’ and happened to bump into Jan. John asked Jan if she would like to go out for Sunday lunch the following day and she agreed. 

After a couple of years together, John and Jan planned their first holiday abroad – to the Greek island of Santorini. This first holiday to Greece was very memorable because one night, while walking on the beach in the sunset, John got down on one knee in the waves. It was a good job that Jan said ‘yes’, as the tide was coming in; John had wet trousers all the way back to the apartment!

John and Jan were married on the 2 August 1986, after another holiday in Greece. When the DJ announced that it was time for the first dance, instead of ‘Always and Forever’ as they were expecting, the opening bars of ‘Zorba’s dance’ started playing as John’s friends arrived dressed as Greek dancers! Throughout their time together, Jan and John enjoyed many wonderful holidays to Greece, France, Turkey, Egypt, America and more.

In April 1988, Jan gave birth to her first child, Amy. Jan was over the moon to be a Mum, and took to it perfectly. Three years later, in April 1991, Tom was welcomed into the world. To Amy and Tom, Jan was the best Mum in the world: caring, loving, patient and kind.

When Amy was born, Jan made a decision to go to a local ‘Mum and Baby’ group at the health centre in Syston, as she didn’t know any other young Mums, and wanted Amy to grow up with friends her own age. A large group of friends was quickly formed there.

Jan originally worked as a secretary and shorthand typist, but when Tom started school, she decided on a new career direction, and became a healthcare assistant at PPD. This was the perfect role for someone with such a caring nature, as she was able to put her natural kindness into her work. When PPD closed, Jan continued in a similar role at Bupa. She always enjoyed working with people, and the camaraderie she shared with her colleagues.

Her family meant everything to Jan, and she was happiest with those she loved around her, or on the end of a characteristically long phone call. She also loved hearing from her French friends, and her relatives in America and Brighton. While bringing up her children, Jan remained tireless in supporting her parents and auntie, dedicating herself to their care, as she did everyone who ever needed her.

Her many friends – as we can see here today – played an equally important role throughout Jan’s life; friends who loved and supported Jan as she loved and supported them. Jan was often the life and soul of the party with her feather boas and her happy smile. She had a musical ear and loved to dance, as everyone who has been to a party with her will agree.

Jan was well known for her thoughtful words, cards and notes. Any occasion, Jan always sent a card in her neat handwriting, usually with appropriate, sparkly confetti inside. She wrote notes to Amy and Tom in their lunchboxes all the way from their first days at school, to the end of sixth form. Notes were left inside the door if she had gone out, and upstairs if she was working a night shift. Such was the care and thought that went into everything she did.

Everyone who knew Jan said that she was lovely, and she truly was. It is customary to focus on a person’s good points in their eulogy, but the truth is that Jan really was a good person, beautiful inside and out. It was her way to focus on the good in life, and to see the best in everyone.

Jan considered herself to have led a happy life, filled with the love of the many people who mattered to her; and that is the way that she would want to be remembered. Happy, and loved.”

 

Now it’s an immeasurably sad time, but Janis had early onset dementia, so in one way it’s a relief to know that she is no longer so confused and anxious. It was terrible to see my bright, caring, smiling sister gradually fading to the awful illness. I really don’t know how John coped from day to day with caring for Janis during the last couple of years.

 

Janis was born when I was five years old; she is the only person I’ve known for the entirety of their life. On the day she arrived, at home in Birstall, I couldn’t wait to meet my new sister. I whiled away the time drawing on a small blackboard easel, then Dad came to fetch me and we went up to my parent’s bedroom where Mum had just given birth.

Mum was in bed, the District Nurse was fussing around and tidying up, and my little sister was wrapped up and sleeping. I remember being slightly surprised because Janis was shiny, almost glistening, a tiny bit wrinkly and quite red with blue tinges. Being already familiar with how babies looked, I had expected her to be much paler.

Perhaps because I was a few years older or maybe because we were simply compatible personalities, but whatever it was we always got on very well. We played together, building dens with boxes and blankets, dressing up and posing our poor long suffering menagerie of pets, setting up lending libraries with our books, play fighting with sticks and dustbin lid shields, and probably many other games that I’ve since forgotten.

I frequently teased and joked with Janis; we laughed and giggled together at many silly things. I miss our familiarity and companionship, or siblingship, or whatever it might be called.

I always looked forward to her visits while I was at art college in Leeds and after I moved to Nottingham to work, and the many holidays we had together, with family and with partners.

It was a huge privilege to know Janis and I will miss her so much.

 

I’ve been touched with the kind thoughts and comments made on social media since I posted the composite photo of Janis at different ages. Here are just a few of them:

“Very sorry to hear this, No age is it, seems like she was cheated. I hope she enjoyed her life, I suspect from the photo’s that she brightened many. Thinking of you.”

“Really sorry to hear that. My condolences to your family. If personality does affect the face as we age she must have been a delight, her smile is wonderful.”

“She’s beautiful. I’m so sorry you had to lose her so young.”

“Best wishes and my thoughts to all.  I love that she was smiling through all those images.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful smile Janis had.”

“Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing. Condolences to you and all she held dear.”

“What great photographs, she looks like a lovely person. Thinking of you all x”

“I’m happy you had such a wonderful sister and I’m sorry for your loss. She was born about 10 months before me.”

“She looked to be a sparkle of life to many. 💖 My Condolences.”

“Such a sad loss to you and your family. What a beautiful sister you’ll always hold dear.” https://youtu.be/IMtnLkXCKlY

“My condolences Roy. Her pictures indicate a happy demeanour. – Bet you made her laugh lots.”

 

The following photo montages are six panels I put together with images I had of Janis, family and friends, and that John arranged to be printed and displayed at the wake.

Janis Lewin - Panel 1Janis Lewin - Panel 2Janis Lewin - Panel 3Janis Lewin - Panel 4Janis Lewin - Panel 5Janis Lewin - Panel 6

 

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The life of a sinistral snail — Snailtergeist

Jeremy the snail was first found minding his own business in a southwest London compost heap. Most would have overlooked Jeremy as an ordinary garden snail; in fact it’s undoubtedly the case that most of the other rare snails who have the single gene mutation that Jeremy possesses will have at best been ignored, and […]

via The life of a sinistral snail — Snailtergeist

 

Whoopee…

A post on social media reminded me of my obsession with practical jokes as a child in the early 1960s. I spent my pocket money on quite a few from the Ellisdons Jokes, Magic and Novelties catalogue. Ellisdons sold all manner of practical jokes; rubber beetles and spiders, wind-up butterflies, whoopee cushions, and realistic looking rubber things such as food, soap and bars of chocolate. I had, for example, a very lifelike chocolate finger biscuit made of brown rubber.

Practical jokesI also had a handshake buzzer, which never really caught anyone off guard, but the floating sugar cubes and imitation rubber snail with a real shell were both winners; I suspect the snail put many friends and relatives off salad for life.

I loved the floating sugar cubes; a family friend’s grandfather spent an incredibly long time with a teaspoon trying to make them sink, it was only my barely controlled mirth that eventually caught his attention.

I’d also forgotten about the imitation dog turd. I had a brilliant shiny metal one, very realistic. It’s probably still in the attic somewhere. I left it on the rug in my grandmother’s best/front room on a visit once and all hell broke loose. Both the poor dog and I were in so much trouble, but it was worth it…

Ellisdons 1960s Joke Catalogue

 

 

‘The Colour of London: Historic, Personal, & Local’ First published in 1907

By William John Loftie FSA. Illustrated by Yoshio Markino. With an introduction by Marion Harry Spielmann FSA and an essay by the artist.

 

An interesting read, peppered with period Victorian/Edwardian morals and outlooks, and fascinating historical details.

In the introduction, Marion Harry Spielmann talks of “London by warm gaslight on Chelsea Embankment, or by cold electric rays on New Vauxhall Bridge…” and when discussing Yoshio Markino’s depiction of Baker Street Underground, he describes the “sulphur and noise”.

Later in the book the arrival of cars and the decay of fashionable life is lamented; “…we cannot expect ever to see again. The gay throng has been broken up by the invasion of motors” and “…motors render impossible that slow and stately pacing, the long waits under the trees, the show of fine horses and carriages”.

Originally published in London by Chatto & Windus in 1907; this edition was published in 1914.

A selection of the fascinating illustrations by Yoshio Markino.

Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1971532399

 

Did You Know?


Did You Know?A thousand seconds is about 16 minutes, a million seconds is about 11 days and a billion seconds is about 32 years.

About 20 percent of the Earth’s land is desert.

Approximately every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of the photographs taken in the 19th century.

For every human on the planet there are approximately 1.6 million ants.

Hippopotamus milk is pink.

Honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil.

Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per person than any other country.

If the earth were completely flat, water would cover everything in a layer two miles deep.

Mammoths became extinct approximately 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.

Oxford University is centuries older than the Aztec Empire.

Pluto didn’t make a full orbit around the sun from the time it was discovered to when it was declassified as a planet.

Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.

The full name of the toy Barbie is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

The ice that covers 98% of Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s fresh water.

The initials YKK on your zip stand for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha; YKK is a Japanese group of companies.

There are more atoms in a glass of water than there are glasses of water in all of the Earth’s seas.

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.

You are twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark.


Back to the contents summary

For other stuff in this blog, click on these links:


Humour

Puns and word-play

Quotations



2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 42,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Chocolate is the answer

Chocolate Siocled Chocolat Cioccolato Shokolade Chocolade Chokolade Choklad Čokoláda Czekolada Csokoládéval Шоколад Σοκολάτα Çikolata …

… so many ways to say chocolate and those have hardly scratched the surface.

Chocolate keyboard

Chocolate keyboard

Anyway, just a few chocolaty comments. I don’t need a reason; it’s chocolate.

Rules of chocolate

Remember the acronym: WAFFLES

Weight

Never eat more chocolate than you can lift.

Answer

Chocolate is the answer and the question is irrelevant.

Food tip

Have a chocolate bar before each meal; it will take the edge off your appetite and you will eat less.

Failure

If at first you don’t succeed, have a little chocolate.

List

Put ‘eat chocolate’ at the top of your list of things to do today and at least you’ll get one thing done.

Extent

A little too much chocolate is just about right.

Speed

If you have melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.



Chocolate aphorisms

All well known, but worth repeating:

Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, but chocolate makes it worthwhile.

Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.

I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter.

You can eat chocolate in front of your parents.

Leftover chocolate

Leftover chocolate

There’s a thin person inside of me screaming to get out, but I keep them sedated with chocolate.

So much chocolate, so little time.

Save the Earth! (It’s the only planet with chocolate).

Seven days without chocolate makes one weak.

If you ate a lifetime’s supply of chocolate in one day, should you be worried?

Will you buy me chocolate? (A) Yes – (B) A – (C) B

Chocolate is not a matter of life and death; it’s more important than that.

Star Trek gag: The Borg ~ Wrappers are futile; chocolate will be assimilated.

Health ~ Chocolate is made from cocoa beans and beans are vegetables. Sugar is obtained from either sugar beet or sugar cane, both of which are plants, so they are also vegetables. Chocolate, therefore, is a vegetable. Milk chocolate contains milk, which is a dairy product. Milk chocolate contains both vegetables and dairy and is therefore a health food.


My Father's Day chocolates

My Father's Day chocolates

Chocolate quotations

“Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment.” ~ Catherine Aitken

“I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.” ~ Counsellor Deanna Troi, Star Trek: The Next Generation

“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.” ~ Anonymous

“Exercise is a dirty word… Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.” ~ Charles M Schulz

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… chocolate….” ~ Homer Simpson

“As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.” ~ Sandra Boynton

Everything either is or isn't chocolate“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” ~ John Q. Tullius

“Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.” ~ Milton Hershey

“Chocolate: Here today… Gone today!” ~ Daniel Worona

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly chocolate” ~ Debbie Moose

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.” ~ Judith Viorst

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” ~ Charles Dickens

“The 12-step chocoholics program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE!” ~ Terry Moore



These quotations and others can also be found here:
Quotes about chocolate


Chocolate rabbits

Chocolate rabbits


Final thoughts



There are only three things in life that matter; good friends, good chocolate and, erm… what was the other one?

‘Knock knock!’

‘Who’s there?’

‘Imogen.’

‘Imogen who?’

‘Imogen life without chocolate!’

If calories are a problem, keep your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights and they will remove themselves from the chocolate to protect their peace of mind.


Apparently there is a theory that chocolate slows down the aging process; it may not be true, but why take the risk?

:^)


There are lots of chocolate tweets on Twitter:

Twitter Chocolate


And in MumblingNerd’s Daily Chocolate


MumblingNerd’s chocolate destination print



Back to Chocolate

Back to MumblingNerd’s home page




…cut into chunks, weighed and wrapped

Legion Stores, Birstall

Legion Stores, 13 Front Street, Birstall (c1954)

Legion Stores, 13 Front Street, Birstall (c1954)

We owned a small local shop in the 1950s; Legion Stores at 13 Front Street, in Birstall, just north of Leicester in the English East Midlands.

The shop was in the oldest part of Birstall, quite close to the River Soar and opposite the very old St. James Church; relics of a Saxon window were found during major restoration works in the 19th century. The peel of church bells always takes me back to childhood Sunday mornings, either in the old shop, or at number 5, an old cottage we’d later rented, just down the road.

For the first few years that we had the shop food was still rationed and Mum used to bone and slice the bacon and measure out all the rationed portions of cheese and meat.

Mum and Grandma did most of the serving in the shop because Grandad didn’t like working behind the counter; he didn’t have much patience and always said he couldn’t put up with the ‘chatting women’.

Nellie and Betty Manterfield serving in the shop (1954)

Nellie and Betty Manterfield serving in the shop (1954)

Almost everything had to be weighed and measured out by hand, hardly anything came pre-packed. Things like sugar came in big bags and were measured into small bags for the customer, bacon was sliced by hand and parcelled up, cheese, lard and butter had to be cut into chunks, weighed and wrapped.

In the kitchen at the back of the shop we had a small butter churn, like a small wooden barrel with a turning handle that we used to make our own butter. I don’t actually remember if we churned the butter that was sold in the shop, although I do remember my Mum and Grandma patting the measured chunks of butter into blocks with wooden paddles and wrapping them in paper.

Betty Manterfield in Legion Stores (c1950)

Betty Manterfield in Legion Stores (c1950)

Particular delights for me were the rows of jars full of sweets, unfortunately out of my reach. Something I could actually reach were the eggs, dozens of them in stacks of trays. My mother told me that one day I picked up some of the eggs and when she told me to put them down, I just dropped them on the floor. I bet the cane that she kept behind the bread board came out that time.

One of my favourite parts of the shop were the rows of little wooden drawers behind the counter and below the shelves of sweet jars, tins and jams. These drawers were full of various dry goods, such as salt, with small metal scoops used to measure the contents into bags. The drawer I liked most of all contained lots of button badges, these must have been given out by the suppliers, because I seem to remember them advertising things like Saxa salt.

The shop did steady business and just about paid its way for a few years, but self-serve food stores started to become popular in the 1950s, gradually turning into the chains of supermarkets that most of us buy our food from today.

5 Front Street, Birstall (c1955)

5 Front Street, Birstall (c1955)

By the late 1950s the old shop on Front Street wasn’t doing very well, loosing customers to the newer shops in the village at Sibson’s Corner, so when Mum and Dad moved in 1959, to a new house on a new estate off Greengate Lane, Grandma and Grandad Manterfield gave the shop up and moved into the old cottage that we’d rented at 5 Front Street.

So that was the end of our little retail experiment, but it left me with many happy memories of a quieter time in a small corner of a very old village.



If it smells okay and there are no unsightly slimy bits…

Betty, Dennis and Roy Manterfield by Legion Stores (1953)

Betty, Dennis and Roy Manterfield by Legion Stores (1953)

Nellie Manterfield in Legion Stores (c1950)

Nellie Manterfield in Legion Stores (c1950)

If it smells okay and there are no unsightly slimy bits…

A conversation at work recently reminded me how differently we treat food these days, compared to fifty, or so, years ago.

Someone was sniffing and scrutinising the milk, prior to making a hot drink, and decided it was time to part company, because the milk wasn’t quite as fresh and youthful as it had been (I know the feeling) and it reminded me of how we stored and used milk before we had fridges.

(Gripping stuff, are you sure you don’t have anything better to do; clip your toenails, put the cat out?)

When I started to think back I was quite surprised at how much our shopping, cooking and eating habits have changed since the 1950s. In fact before long I might also use it as an excuse to blather on about the local stores that we had before supermarkets arrived on the scene.

(Incidentally, why is the cat on fire?)

Anyway, back to milk. Before the widespread appearance of supermarkets in the late 1950s and early 1960s, most people had fresh milk delivered daily and, without a fridge, it was kept in the coolest place in the kitchen, pantry or cellar. We sometimes also had bottles of sterilized milk, which kept longer unopened, but didn’t taste as good as the fresh stuff.

Fridges didn’t become very widespread in British homes until the 1960s and 70s, so milk was normally used the day it was delivered, but if it happened to hang around a little longer, particularly in hot weather, it would start turn a little too sour for regular use.

Now I don’t know about most families at the time, but ours didn’t often throw it out. We kept it in a cool place until it had thickened up; I think Mum used to mix something like a little lemon juice in to curdle it. Then it was poured (well, perhaps glopped would be a better description) onto a piece of muslin, which was gathered up with the ends tied together, then hung over a bowl to allow the liquid to drain off. Once it stopped dripping it had a consistency between cream cheese and cottage cheese and was ready for use. At some point it was mixed with salt to improve the flavour and keep it fresh for longer, but I can’t remember if the salt was added at the end or before it was strained through the muslin.

The storage and shelf life of fresh food has altered a lot; food didn’t have ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ dates until the 1970s, and then it was a bit sporadic. We used to pick up and examine our food; if it smelled okay and there are no unsightly slimy bits, then we would just eat it. If the cheese had a bit of mould growing on the outside, we would cut a layer off. If the bread was getting stale it was made into bread pudding, stale cake was made into trifle and so on.

I’m loath to trot out the customary ‘it never did me any harm’, but I do think we waste too much food. It would be more practical to inspect our food carefully and cook it thoroughly and with care, instead of just chucking it out for what sometimes seems to be an arbitrary date that depends on too many variables to be completely accurate.

We used to store some fruit and vegetables for months. Onions, for example, were cleaned up and kept dry, tied together and hung from hooks in the shed. When we wanted one, it was pulled or snipped one from the bunch and with luck they would keep all winter, or even longer.

Apples, as long as they were fresh and undamaged, would keep for months stored in a cool, dark place with a good air circulation. Similarly, we stored clean, dry, undamaged potatoes for a long time in paper or hessian sacks kept in cool, dry and dark conditions.

Anyway, you get the idea, before this turns into an episode of Gardener’s Question Time.

Another pre-fridge piece of equipment we used was a meat safe fixed to the wall outside, on the north facing side of the house, to keep it cool and out of the sun. The meat safe was a small metal cupboard with mesh covered holes to allow air circulation, but keep flies and vermin out, and we kept dairy produce, joints of meat, sausages, dripping and potted meat in it, particularly in cooler months.

Legion Stores, 13 Front St, Birstall (early 1950s)

Legion Stores, 13 Front St, Birstall (early 1950s)

In an old village shop we once managed, we had a cool and damp cellar that often served as a fridge. Mum made a trifle for a party and stored it in the cellar; it may have been for my birthday, but I don’t remember that. What I do remember is that when she went down to collect the trifle, there was a large frog sitting, apparently quite comfortably, in the centre. I don’t think we ate the trifle, although Dad wasn’t so fussy and probably scooped out the contaminated bits and scoffed the rest.

Since I first owned a fridge, I don’t ever remember finding a frog in any desserts. Although I do know how to tell if there are elephants in the refrigerator…




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