Jessie Thompson Graham

Miss Jessie Thompson Graham ~ from 1894 until her death in 1935 she was much loved "Nurse" to the Angus family ~ 13 children in all.

Miss Jessie Graham

Ah ~ a better copy of this picture ~ Mary and David Angus with their three first-born children, and nurse in the background (in a funny cap !) ~ note little Davey at his father's knee still in a frock as was the way for boys until they were five or so, I think, certainly until they were house-trained. He died before he reached five.

Oh ~ bless her ~ our sister Mary who is the current Family Archivist has found out more about "Nurse" and a couple of photos ~ let me see if I can download them ~ no, apparently not ~ I'll have another go in the morning.  Nurse joined the Angus family in 1894 and was with them until her death in 1935  ~ I do not know how old she was by then ~ her name was JESSIE THOMPSON GRAHAM ~ for 40 years a true and faithful friend and servant to Mary Angus and her children, a strong support through so many births and so many deaths.   And as I've already said, having gone home to Glasgow to give birth to her own "illigitimate" baby, she spent her entire life looking after other people's children ~ so sad, so terribly sad.   Mary tells me that at her funeral, the "niece" from Glasgow was finally acknowledged at Nurse's own daughter, so I guess that's something.

  Finished the last half-rollmop tonight ~ so pleased to have thought of them again ~ in days gone by, MY DAYS GONE BY, I'd regularly make a batch of them ~ the fishmonger came round on a Friday and I'd mostly get herring or kipperes and other than fry the herring in oatmeal, I'd pickle them with spices and chopped onion and vinegar and a spoonful of sugar ~ half an hour in the oven and they made a splendid lunch or supper.   When I think of it, the things we used to do as a matter of course ~ quite incredible compared to our easy lives today !   All the knitting I did ~ nobody ever had a shop bought jersey before they went to the top school.   Clothes were handed down from siblings and cousins and friends.  And I'd make jame, and marmalade, and when we'd had a walk across the fields we'd bring buckets of blackberries home to be bottled straight away before they got soft.   Sometimes I took to making bread, and the only cakes or buns we ever had were home made ~ I'm not complaining ~ this was the way it was ~ all mothers were busy in the same way from morning till night ~ that was marriage and motherhood meant.   None of us had either the energy, the time or the wherewithall to need psychological counselling.   And all the mothers I knew were wonderfully thin !  There was a feeling of accomplishment, of keeping the show on the road, keeping them all afloat !   Providing three good meals a day for the six of us for twenty years was no small thing, and on very little money ~ it was a challenge ~ and in meeting that challenge, I think we could all feel pride in our efforts !   At Christmas I'd make mincemeat and a fruit cake.  In the autumn there were onions to pickle and red cabbage.    Who would dream of going to all this trouble today ?   But so often shop bought stuff cannot compare with our homemade efforts.

Being solely reliable on carts ~ the bakers cart, the grocery cart twice a week, the fishcart on Friday, the butcher on Saturday ~ there were many things I never came across, in particular garlic ~ maybe we only woke up to it thanks to Elizabeth David after the war ~ what a loss, what deprivation ~ now I use it in just about everything ~ how ever did we manage without it.   In our large Quarry Road house, we had cousins over from Australia staying with us for several weeks.   He was a chef and later had a restaurant on the Sydney highroad  ~ when I'd get in from work, there were sometimes delicious smells ~ he'd made us a good meal ~ particularly lamb with garlic ~ WOW !!!   Garlic !!  I fell out with them in the end, they simply outstayed their welcome, but I'm eternally grateful to him for bringing garlic into my life.   My mind has gone blank and cannot remember their names right now ~ I'll have to ask Georgie ~ it was with them that she went out to Australia after her baby was born, after she had been given up for adoption ~ Georgie will remember ~ here's this funny "going bonkers" problem cropping up again ~ I'm pretty sure HIS name began with G and maybe hers with E ~ I do remember their toddler son Stephen ~ already at two years old totally uncontrollable !!

Not meaning to groan ~ not meaning to boast ~ but no harm in recording how things were for wives and mothers in my day.   As for "Working Mothers" ~ for heaven's sake ~ if I'd gone back to teaching (Gawd help me !) who would have kept house ?   That was part of the problem in our Winchester years when I worked in Local Government ~ I always had this niggling guilt that while I was out at work, in the Education Department of Hampshire County Council, family and home were falling apart ~ going to rack and ruin ~ AND SO WAS I !!!

The time I went to Keep Fit and ruptured my Achille's tendon, I remember my fury when the Sister signing me for it to be repaired (putting me on crutches for six weeks) filling in OCCUPATION on the form, said scornfully, "a housewife, I suppose, just a housewife . . . "   Never mind JUST A HOUSEWIFE I wanted to scream at her ~ how would you cope, you miserable old cow !"

Another Sainsbury's delivery today and one of their specialities is parsley ~ a bunch of luscious curly parsley, and a big bunch at that.   They must have a parsley farm somewhere which keeps them supplied ~ this time of year it is unobtainable locally so this is quite something ~ in fact, I'm going to share the bunch with Ellen ~ there will be plenty for both of us ~ last time, I was able to chop half of it up for the freezer ~ parsley with everything from now on ~ brill ~ and Ellen says it's rich in vitamin C or something, so useful for fending off colds and flu !  Let me see if I can get a photo of today's bunch . . .

Earlier made pan of cream of mushroom soup so guess it's time to heat it up and sprinkle with parsley.   Oh yummy !   (I might give you the recipe later ~ so simple and soooo delish !

I'm finding a problem with some of my lovely soft cosy long johns ~ they smell frightful !  I thought it was me and kept changing down to the skin and having an extra shower before lunch, but then realised if a pair is hanging on the Aga rail to air ~ yuck !!   The smell is overpowering !   It must be something to do with THERMALS ~ cosy but SMELLY !  Oh dear ! 

Such warm tributes in Saturday's paper to Simon Hoggart, and in place of his Saturday Diary, his daughter Amy had written her own tribute which told us something of his enormous courage ~ in spite of pain and chemo he was still going in to Westminster four times a week to write his Sketch, in between hospital visits and treatment ~ sadly missed on all fronts.

Oh Lord ~ look at the time !   I'm finding it hard to get up these mornings and several times have slept through the alarm ~ Robert, one of the early birds at Andersons newsagents is scolding me ~ I always reckoned to be down there at 7.30 when he and Gowan were there, always teasing and cheerful ~ right ~ I must get my act together, starting tomorrow.

This was tidied up today Tuesday 14th and it is not BED time right now, but SUPPER time, or more precicely MUSHROOM SOUP time !  Recipe on next blog !

Sainsbury's generous bunch of parsley ~ wonderful !

Write a new comment: (Click here)
Characters left: 160
DONE Sending...
See all comments

| Reply

Latest comments

14.03 | 05:51

Hi Joy, came across your blog while researching the Sanders, thanks for the interesting read about them and your lovely house.

27.10 | 11:43

Michael ~ happily ~ and good luck ~ I'd like to know the outcome ~ joy peach

26.10 | 14:33

I am in the same position. Amazingly, your case R(IS)1/93 - CIS/270/1991 is being used against me. Clearly, it got more complicated. Can I quote your blog? Mike

28.05 | 15:41

Hello Joy. We have a new Merrywood Grammar group on Facebook if you would like to take a look -

You liked this page
Make your own website like I did.
It's easy, and absolutely free.