You know how it is…..

You know how it is, you’re having a conversation with someone, the topic changes and you’re left behind.  That’s when you need a back up memory aka someone to remind you of the things you’ve forgotten 😊

One minute I’m chatting to my next sister about what life in India must have been like during the late 1800s for our Gt Grandparents.  Even with the ‘perks’ a soldier of his rank (colour sgt) would have had,  the climate and environment would have been something neither would have encountered before.  Likewise for many of the ordinary rank soldiers who would have been going on patrol up country.

Then a short while later we are talking about hop picking.  For a few years during the late 1940s/ early 1950s we lived in Cosham Hampshire – Dad had been posted away and Mum was always looking for ways to earn some extra pennies.  I could remember during the summer school holidays travelling on an old bus along with what seemed like every local woman and crying baby up Wymering Lane and over the nearby Portsdown Hill to huge fields full of enormous poles with vines hanging down. Then having to carry bags full of ‘stuff’ my mother deemed we needed for the day.  Next sister sent me this old photo to remind me of the look and feel of the hop fields.

She remembers different things to me, mothers singing in the bus, primus stoves and enamel tea pots, green coloured flasks with corks in the top, door stop sandwiches (no sliced bread).  Being allowed to get dirty, running amok amongst the tall hop poles barefooted or in the previous years gutties with the toes cut out…..because our feet had grown and there was no spare cash to buy new ones.  You can tell from those memories who was the younger one with less responsibilities!

Lots of laughter because when she mentioned gutties I thought she said putties and had returned to soldiers in India 😊

No, those canvas shoes we wore during the summer.  They made your feet sweat and we had to clean them outside with some pastey white stuff.  Blanco I told her, made the laces go stiff and the white stuff used to come off, floating in the air like a fine dust

But weren’t they called Sand Shoes? Gym Shoes? Plimsolls?  No, Dad called them Gutties, something else I’d forgotten. That’s what they’re called in Northern Ireland

Looking at these photos and the dress she had on she remarked she’d never forgotten how she had to wear my old clothes.

So I had to remind her about no extra cash and everything being passed on.  There don’t seem to be any photos to prove otherwise but we think our little sister also wore the same dress one summer.  Not the shoes tho’ – they’d had the toes cut out so we could get another summer’s ’round the house or playing in the street’ wear out of them 😊






As you can see all these years later I still wear those white canvas shoes during the summer.  Perfect for round the house or down the beach. No need for all that messy while stuff these days – I just chuck them in the washing machine and hang them on the line to dry  and if the toes wear through, no worries, they’ll be right for gardening the next year 😊

 ~ ~ ~ ~

What memories have you relived recently – or maybe memories you’ve been reminded about

I see no wrong in admitting you’ve forgotten something – to me being reminded in some circumstances makes the memory fresh again

20 thoughts on “You know how it is…..

  1. I remember the “white stuff” we put on “sneakers.” 🙂

    And you must appreciate what you have now, even more… Than someone who does not have these memories, of harder times.

    About memories… I have read that our memories are simply not reliable. (Look at how different people, remember an accident, for instance.) And from the reading I did, it’s pretty depressing, about what/how we ‘remember.’

    But then, maybe one could find other stuff, which contradicted, the depressing things I read. ,-)


  2. My Great-Great Grandfather was also in India for about 20 years in the 9th Lancers. He was there prior and just at the beginning of the Indian Mutiny of 1858. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he was seriously wounded and was shipped home, but that took six months before he made the journey. I don’t know how long it was before he was on duty again, but he went to Devon where he met my Great-Great Grandmother and also to Ireland, which is when he was discharged. He served for nearly 25 years. I had a very good researcher who gave me (more or less) his every move in India. Fascinating!

    I also had some white pumps (plimsolls) with laces, which I remember whitening with something which was painted on. I can’t remember how old I was when I had the white ones, but I also remember having black pumps which had an elasticated top, they were more the norm.

    Do you remember elasticated snake belts which the boys wore? Both my brothers had them and I think I still have photographs of them with the belts holding their trousers up.


    1. So many soldiers lost their lives in those times Joan and so many returned to a life of misery. Like your ancestor my Gt Grandfather was a career soldier – some of his sons followed his footsteps serving the colours as well.
      I have a vague memory of the belts you mentioned although my only brother is nearly 12 yrs younger than me and I’d left home by the time he’d have been wearing them


  3. Great memories Cathy.

    I told our two granddaughters about skipping and songs and rhymes we sand and said while skipping. Hour after hour on the road jumping.

    We hope to keep them active with the simple pleasures such as skip rope. A great way to have fun in an inexpensive manner.


    1. Have you shown them how to play 5 stones yet Marie. No need to purchase things at the toy shop – just find 5 flat stones and away you go.


    1. Thank you for calling in stillalife. It’s good to see you.

      The first photo……of my Gt Grandparents…… was taken in about 1876 – we are lucky to have it


  4. My memories have been triggered by a range of things recently. Not good memories, but I am working through them.
    How I remember hand-me-downs. As the only girl I didn’t get a lot of them. Which made my brothers complain (loudly) about favouritism.


    1. Life events seem to affect us in different ways at different times of our lives don’t they EC. I find that things I haven’t thought of for years come flooding into my mind at the most ridiculous moments.
      Being the oldest had its good points except war/post wartime babies/children didn’t always have best quality clothing. Mothers did the best they could.


  5. Joanne left a comment but it ended up elsewhere so I’ve copied it to here:-

    “My sister was almost eleven years younger. My dresses were passed on to other neighborhood girls. By the time I had a sister, my mother often put us in matching dresses.”


    1. Joanne there was a gap of nearly five years then another three years between us sisters – then another four until our baby brother turned up. With the way of the world (and finances) there was no matching dresses for us 😊


  6. My memories are “twisted” for want of a better word – I certainly didn’t have sibling close to me in age…and therefore I never had hand-me-downs but some of my siblings’ children acquired things that had been mine, & some of those things were returned to me in my 40s – mainly because they had my name boldly printed on them “this book belongs to ….”


  7. Blogs either reading or sharing I find it quite interesting. Just think 20 years down the road what will one think. I have to wonder why the lady in the first photo is siding side ways.
    Coffee is on


    1. Dora, there could be several reasons for the sideways stance. In those days (late 1800s) photos were often ‘posed’ with the wife/woman looking at the husband/man.
      The photo was taken to ‘celebrate/document’ his promotion to Colour Sgt so it really was all about him and her admiration for her husband.

      Also Jane (my Gt Grandmother) was very pregnant and possibly with the bulky clothing worn at the time maybe she was most comfortable that way.


  8. I remember white plimsolls and the white stuff to clean them with which never quite covered grass stains. The fore runners to trainers!
    My Dad was in India in WW2 but he never used the gutties word. He did speak of char (tea), and to look at something was to have a dekko.
    Interesting memories.


    1. Cathy it was my Gt Grandparents who were in India during the late 1800s. My dad (an Irishman from the north) used the word when we were children.
      That Blanco was something wasn’t it😊 You’re right in that unless applied ‘generously’ it never seemed to make the shoes look clean.


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