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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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Another ‘about’ MumblingNerd

Roy Manterfield (23 Feb 2013)Some things that I like, appreciate, use and think about…

Enthusiastically | Frequently | Occasionally | Specifically | Previously

But not in any particular order… ah, well, actually they’re in alphabetical order ►

Afternoon tea Airfix
Alaska Alzheimer’s Society
Amnesty International Archery
Art galleries Atheism
Avaaz BBC
Beaches Beatles
Berlin Bettys Café Tea Rooms
Birmingham Black Adder
Blogging Blondie
Blueberry pancakes, bacon and maple syrup Books
Bookshops Boston
Bread Breakfast
Brussels Brussels sprouts
California Carl Sagan
Castles Cats
Cheese Chicago
Chocolate Cinema
Coastline Coffee
Comedy Cotton
Cumbria Dawn chorus
Death Valley Delicious bookmarking
Derbyshire deviantART
Devon Douglas Adams
Draft Guinness Dr Who
Eating Edinburgh
Facebook Family
Fawlty Towers Fencing
Ferns Foo Fighters
Fruit Genealogy
George Carlin Glasgow
Google+ Google Chrome
Grand Canyon Graphic design
Groucho Marx Hancock’s Half Hour
Hats Helvetica
History Holidays
Hotel Chocolat Hot weather
Humour Iain M Banks
Ian Dury and the Blockheads I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
Interlaken Internet
iPhone Jazz
John Lewis Partnership Just a Minute
Lady Gaga Laughing
Leather Leeds
Leicester Lego
Liberalism LinkedIn
Maine Maps
Marmite Merlot
Milton Jones Monty Python
Morecambe and Wise MSWord
Museums Music
Neil deGrasse Tyson Newcastle
New England News
Newspapers New York
Northumberland Norway
Nottingham Nuts
Oak trees Oslo
Paper Parks
Paris PC
Photography Pianos
Pink Floyd Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir Pinterest
Ponds Prague
Public libraries Public transport
Punk Rock Puns
Punsr QR Codes
Radio 4 Railways
Reading Robin Hood Tax
Rock pools Rolling countryside
Rolling Stones San Francisco
Savannah Saxophones
Scotland Seattle
Sequentiality Sheffield
Shopping Sid Meier’s Civilization
Sir Patrick Moore Snowdonia
Social networking Speculative fiction
Spicy food Spring
Star Trek Steam engines
Stephen Fry Stone
Stranglers Strawberries
Sushi Switzerland
Tea Teddy bears
Television Tim Minchin
Toast Tommy Cooper
Torchwood Toronto
Touchscreens Trams
Travelling Trees
Twitpic Twitter
Typography Vancouver
Venice Victor Borge
Violins Wargaming
Washington DC Water
Wikipedia Wimbledon Championship
Wine Wood
Woodland Word play
WordPress Words
Yoga Yorkshire
Yosemite National Park Zurich



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And a few more favourite quotes


'There is no exception' quote“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even though you wish they were” ~ Unknown

“I don’t hate people, I just feel better when they aren’t around” ~ Charles Bukowski

“Please don’t follow me on facebook or twitter because I’m not on there” ~ Banksy

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” ~ Mohandas Gandhi

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” ~ Frank Zappa

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

“In many Tory seats you could probably put a blue rosette on a half-eaten scotch egg and get it elected” ~ Joseph Watts

“An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than in truth and beauty” ~ Jaron Lanier

“There is absolutely nothing to be said in favour of growing old. There ought to be leglislation against it” ~ Patrick Moore

“And then everything was in the hands of gravity, which has never had much love for the terminally stupid” ~ Mira Grant

“Le doute n’est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde” ~ Voltaire (Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd)

“Most rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read” ~ Groucho Marx

“Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem” ~ Woody Allen

“A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about” ~ Miguel De Unamuno

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life” ~ Rita Rudner

“Sometimes you need to sit in the wrong place to see the right view” ~ Craig Stone (The Squirrel That Dreamt Of Madness)

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me” ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

“Objectivity is compromised by our ‘tyranny of expectations’; we see what we wish to see and not what is actually there” ~ Roy Manterfield

“I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“People that talk about living in the real world don’t even enjoy living in the real world” ~ Craig Stone (The Squirrel That Dreamt Of Madness)

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world” ~ The Buddha

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits” ~ Mark Twain

“I could give up chocolate for Lent, but I don’t know anyone trustworthy enough for the chocolate to be lent to” ~ Roy Manterfield

“One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion” ~ Arthur C Clarke

“Stencils are good for two reasons; one – they’re quick; two – they annoy idiots” ~ Banksy

“All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about” ~ Charles Kingsley

“There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception” ~ James Thurber

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Follow the rules whenever possible. That makes it a lot more surprising when you break them” ~ Mira Grant (Deadline)

“We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems” ~ Margaret Mead

“At my age I do what Mark Twain did. I get my daily paper, look at the obituaries page and if I’m not there I carry on as usual” ~ Patrick Moore

“A martyr’s just a casualty with really good PR” ~ Mira Grant (Deadline)

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” ~ Albert Einstein

“Today’s greatest labor-saving device is tomorrow” ~ President Woodrow T. Wilson

“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away” ~ Kahlil Gibran

“As far as I’m concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue” ~ Albert Einstein

“Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“We hang the petty theives and appoint the great ones to public office” ~ Aesop

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” ~ Winston Churchill

“Politicians are not born, they are excreted” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero (106BC-43AD)

“Science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries” ~ Freeman Dyson

“Take sides. Neutrality always serves the oppressor and never the oppressed.” ~ Ellie Wiesel

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, there must never be a time however when we fail to protest” ~ Elie Wiesel

“There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.” ~ Maurice Sendak

“There must be more to life than having everything.” ~ Maurice Sendak

“I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more.” ~ Maurice Sendak

“Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.” ~ Maurice Sendak

“People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them” ~ Dave Barry

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.” ~ Bill Vaughan

“I think the easiest people to fool are ourselves. Fooling ourselves may even be a necessary precondition for fooling others.” ~ Iain Banks

“My gratitude extends beyond the limits of my capacity to express it.” ~ Iain M Banks, The Player of Games

“To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true.” ~ H L Mencken

“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.” ~ Carl Sagan

“The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge.” ~ Carl Sagan

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost

“People, you have six senses! The last one is common! Use it!” ~ Michael Ruhlman

“It never ceased to amaze him how quickly a small child’s face could turn from peach to beetroot.” ~ Iain Banks, The Crow Road

“Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot.” ~ Iain Banks

“I love the smell of the universe in the morning.” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

“It is a small thing, this dear gift of life handed us mysteriously out of immensity.” ~ Ray Bradbury

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death” ~ Earl Wilson

“Puns are the highest form of literature.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ~ Thomas Edison

“What you read when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” ~ Carl Sagan

“Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” ~ Tom Stoppard

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.” ~ Virginia Satir

“Religion too often demands belief in physical absurdities and anachronistic traditions despite all scientific evidence and moral progress” ~ Anonymous

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” ~ Roy M Goodman

“If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening.” ~ George Barzan

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas Edison

“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies.” ~ Le Corbusier

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~ William Shakespeare (All’s Well That Ends Well)

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“When money speaks, the truth keeps silent.” ~ Russian proverb

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate” ~ George Burns

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

“You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.” ~ Robert Tew

“Hatred eats the soul of the hater, not the hated.” ~ Alice Herz Sommer

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” ~ Twyla Tharp

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.” ~ Janis Joplin

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~ Albert Einstein



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


Humour

Puns and word-play

Quotations



Life observations

A small collection of observations and comments that have made me smile, some are mine, but most are ones I’ve gleaned from Twitter and Facebook:

 

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

I smile because I don’t know what the hell is going on.

I don’t have a solution but I do admire the problem.

Two rules to live by: First, look out for #1. Second, don’t step in #2.

My genetic insanity is very fit and healthy; it runs in the family.

I finally got my head together, but now my body’s falling apart.

I don’t have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; I’m just multi-tasking.

I’m not a complete idiot; some parts are missing.

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.

Some mistakes are far too much fun to only make once.

Experience is something you don’t get until just after you needed it.

Don’t take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.

I don’t suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

People are jealous because the voices only talk to me.

Make something idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot.

Everybody repeat after me: “We are all individuals”.

He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.

I want patience AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!

The trouble with life is there’s no background music.

My doctor just told me that I’m colour blind; that was right out of the orange.

Being over the hill is much better than being under it.

It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Hard work never killed anyone, but why chance it?

Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

I’d like to have more self-esteem, but I don’t deserve it.

Don’t marry a tennis player; love means nothing to them.

My inferiority complex isn’t as good as everyone else’s.

Smokers are the same as everyone else; just not as long.

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

Good health is just the slowest possible rate at which you can die.

Think outside the box; it’s too late once you’re in it.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, if you throw it hard enough.

Always remember that you are unique; just like everyone else.

 

Know Pun Intended Promo Logo L

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Humour

Puns and word-play

Quotations

White van rant… okay; mumbling semi-rant


I just commented on someone’s blog post about drivers of white vans, which is unusual for me, so I thought I might as well add it to my ramblings on here for a change:

While I was regularly catching the bus into the city centre a few months back, I couldn’t help noticing the relatively dangerous activities of passing drivers, particularly drivers of white vans; although what I really don’t understand is why is it so prevalently white vans? Rationally it can’t be all drivers of white vans; perhaps you notice white vans more because they’re bright?

Anyway, bearing in mind that the bus stop is just after a very sharp blind bend in the road, I regularly observed ‘White Van Man’ swerving around the corner reading newspapers and talking on their mobile phones.

Even worse, some were simultaneously drinking from coffee mugs or from cans, lighting cigarettes and even counting money from a wallet while STEERING WITH THEIR ELBOWS.

I saw one man steering with the left hand and holding an unsecured cupboard onto the roof through the window with the right hand.

Senseless! How can they not consider risk and consequence?

Hmm… I don’t often rant, I just mumble or grumble, but, even though this semi-rant was moderate and unexpletive, it was also quite therapeutic. Perish the thought of me even attempting to make a serious comment, but I might try it again sometime.

:^)

Similar interests, different points of view

Pennsylvania Avenue and The Capitol, Washington (26 Oct 2009)

Pennsylvania Avenue and The Capitol, Washington (Oct 2009)

I know you shouldn’t generalise, but sometimes I think it might be possible to sum up politics in the United States of America as ‘similar interests, different points of view’.

Considering its length and breadth, of both land and of ideas and political extremes, the United States must have a remarkable political system to hold all of its people and states together.

I recently did a tour of the Capitol in Washington DC; an outstanding building and a fascinating tour, thanks to the tour guide Nick.

The Capitol and tour guide Nick (Oct 2009)

The Capitol and tour guide Nick (Oct 2009)

The tour takes you through some very interesting areas of the building and touches on some enthralling events in the history of the United States. This gives you an impression of the amazing range of views and ideas the diverse population encapsulates.

On the one hand, this diversity has culminated in horrendous events such as the Civil War and in the terrible treatment of indigenous people and African Americans for example, but it has also lead to astonishing technological, medical and social change, and enabled the United States to become strong enough to tip the balance of power in the Second World War and stop the relentless rise of fascist dictatorships in Europe and Asia.

Freedom Plaza, Washington (Oct 2009)

Freedom Plaza, Washington (Oct 2009)

For all its faults (and what system doesn’t have faults?) the political system in the United States must have some pretty sound ideas in its basic set up, because even with the extraordinary tension of people passionately pulling in different directions and the barely restrained corporate power of ‘big business’, most of the time it actually works for a significant majority of its people.

And how many countries and political systems across the world can truthfully say that?

Lincoln Memorial, Washington (Oct 2009)

Lincoln Memorial, Washington (Oct 2009)

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…




More on Legion Stores …cut into chunks, weighed and wrapped


Sensible, prudent and rational?

A few actions and conducts that appear to be sensible, prudent and rational, but are really just another poor excuse to repeat yet more quotations:


Plan for the future, but live for now; don’t live for a future that might be better, because it may never arrive.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Albert Einstein

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ~ Yogi Berra

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer


Be yourself and say what you think.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“It is better to be hated for what one is, than loved for what one is not.” ~ André Gide

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ~ Kurt Cobain


Enjoy luxuries in small doses; too much of any one thing reduces the pleasure you take from it.

“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.” ~ Charlie Chaplin


Don’t complain; either do something about it or forget it and move on.

“Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.” ~ Robert A. Cook

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.” ~ Dale Carnegie


Tell the truth; being untruthful will almost always come back to you.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

“You never find yourself until you face the truth.” ~ Pearl Bailey


Help other people; that too will almost always come back to you.

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” ~ Les Brown

“No man can help another without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” ~ Althea Gibson


Don’t assume anything; assumptions stifle your thoughts and actions.

“If you see the teeth of the lion, do not think that the lion is smiling at you.” ~ Al-Mutanabbi

“Many people might have attained wisdom had they not assumed they already had it.” ~

Source Unknown


Travel to new places.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” ~ Mark Twain

“Travel teaches tolerance.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” ~ Aldous Huxley

“The more I travelled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” ~ Shirley Maclaine


Don’t expect money to make you happy.

“Money makes a good servant, but a bad master.” ~ Francis Bacon

“The only thing I like about rich people is their money.” ~ Lady Nancy Astor

“If you marry for money, you will surely earn it.” ~ Ezra Bowen


Don’t spend too much time either on your appearance or worrying; neither will solve anything in the long term.

“We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” ~ Ethel Barrett

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Stop worrying — nobody gets out of this world alive.” ~ Clive James


Have the courage to do things; most of the time you will be successful.

“Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


Achieve things that matter to you.

“You never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie


Work without interruption on one single thing at a time.

“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” ~ Sydney Smiles


Keep your mind open to new ideas, tools and techniques.

“There will always be a frontier where there is an open mind and a willing hand.” ~ Charles F. Kettering


And last, but not least; when you do something, do it well.

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


But remember:

“Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see.” ~ Mark Twain



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


Daft stuff; humour, jokes, quips and gags

Puns and word-play

Quotations



Buses; location and locution

I’ve always used public transport to travel into Nottingham to work, because it’s convenient and good value for money and far more relaxing than driving on busy roads and trying to find somewhere to park in the city centre.

Also, I’m intrigued by the habits of people on the bus.

Although in this instance I’m limiting myself to location and locution; mobile phones, littering, vandalism and ingestion/vomiting can wait for another occasion to arrive. Or perhaps three occasions to turn up at the same time.

Location

Regular travellers tend to sit in the same seat or area, particularly on the first part of the route, before the bus gets too busy. Passengers boarding further down the route have less chance of a regular ‘preferred’ seat, so they tend to be less specific about actual seats, but do appear to have a preferred zone of the bus to aim for.

By the time the bus nears the city centre, passengers either take whatever is available or just stand, so regular seat domination is largely confined to people from the outer suburbs.

There is also a regular pattern to the way people spread themselves about the bus as it starts to pick up more passengers along the route; firstly by occupying alternating window seats, then as those seats fill up, people alternate aisle seats, ideally with no one sitting directly in front or behind, or they survey the lower deck and decide there might be more chance of getting a seat to themselves on the upper deck, even if it means negotiating the stairs.

At least when you travel upstairs these days you are no longer in jeopardy of watering eyes, ashtray scented clothing or departing with antique kipper effect lungs.

Locution

My principal nosiness, I mean interest, in the observation of people on public transport is in the greeting or parting comments they make to the driver.

There aren’t so many actual greetings, the occasional “Hello” or “Morning”, even the rare “Areet mi duck”, with a high proportion of people not even bothering to acknowledge the person behind the wheel. However, on alighting there is far more variety.

“Thanks” and “thank you” are obviously the most common parting comments and again a majority of people say nothing and exit quickly without making eye contact. But there are quite a few “Cheers!”, “See you later” and “Thanks mate”; these largely said by younger men.

Now “See you later” and “Thanks mate” seem reasonable exclamations to me, but why would you say “Cheers!” which is a toast for drinking situations? When did it become a colloquialism for “thanks”? If this is a developing trend I’m waiting with some anticipation for alighting passengers to call to the driver “To your health!”, “Chin Chin!” or “Bottoms up!”

I’ve not travelled on a late night bus for a while; I wonder what remarks passengers regale the driver with when they’ve actually been drinking? Probably shouldn’t ask.

The occasional “Thank you driver!” now seems to be dying out, as it’s mainly expressed by older men in cloth caps or women with perms and head scarves.

I’ve recently noticed “Nice one!” or “Nice one mate!” being flung in the direction of the driver, so far this is also only being expressed by young men. Are they just making a general remark or is it a comment on something specific? Perhaps the fine cut of the driver’s uniform, the remarkable cleanliness of the bus or the exquisite view from the top deck?

Once in a blue moon there are exiting (as opposed to exciting) passengers that take the parting remarks to a whole new level. I’ve a fairly regular observation of one person who exits the bus fairly slowly, waving and keeping eye contact with the driver, while uttering a relentless stream of comments alone the lines of “Bye, have a good one, bye, see you, be good, bye, can’t get any worse, bye, don’t work too hard, bye, see you later!”

My usual bus route drops me off literally right outside the office and my own remarks are almost entirely limited to “Morning” and “Thanks”, although if it’s particularly wet or cold, I do occasionally, with a pathetic attempt at humour, ask the driver if they can get any closer to the door.

Sequentiality

Sequentiality; everything must be parallel or sequent, or I will spontaneously combust.

Cutlery

Cutlery

The pleasure of lining up and straightening items on your desk; the harmony of a tin full of carefully arranged pencils or the joy of a drawer full of straight cutlery; the serenity induced by a scene of parallel railway lines or the contentment generated by the geometric regularities of buildings.

Cat legs

Cat legs

The delight in rearranging the legs of your sleeping cat from a haphazard pile to an orderly display (not easy, but very satisfying); the joy of methodically stacked shelves in a supermarket and the satisfaction when the coffee table finally lines up equidistantly and parallel with all the other furniture and the walls.

Hmm, just noticed these paragraphs are all agreeably and neatly ranged left (left justified, ragged right or lined up down the left hand edge). Wonderful.

Then there is the excitement of an orderly or consecutive sequence of numbers on a score board; although it’s a little annoying when you come across a good number sequence and it gets altered.

Digital Clock

Digital clock

For example, you might be watching tennis, perhaps the French Open, and the display develops a good sequence of numbers, eg 1,2,4/1,2,4 then someone wins and completely ruins it!

Still, you can always find a good, regular, chronological public transport timetable, or the consecutive numbers on a bus or theatre ticket, or when the total on a restaurant bill or check is a logical progression, and… the thrill when the digital clock reads ’22:22’ or especially ’12:34’, and if you’re extremely fortunate ’12:34:56’!

Oh yes, and one of my favourite Tweets ever by @Hipchickadee on Sep 6th, 2009: ‘I have C.D.O. It’s like O.C.D. but all the letters are in alphabetical order as they should be’.

:^)

New York buildings

New York buildings

Trelis

Trelis

Digital Clock

Piano keys

Piano keys