The drinking water we had to carry from the 'spring well' over 1/2 mile away. The water was carried in large buckets, but we had a well at he bottom of the garden which was used for water for washing etc. We called this the 'dirty well'. Then in later years my father sunk a pump in the barn and that gave us clear fresh spring drinking water.
The toilet was at the bottom of the garden. It was a hole in a wooden frame inside a little hut, and the toilet paper was just old newspaper cut into squares and hung by a piece of cord.
Coal was bought for the fire which was our only source of heating. The lighting was from oil lamps that hung from the ceiling and candles were used for lighting in the bedroom. Sometimes I had a sneak read of my book by candlelight!
Meat we would have a weekends and that combined with vegetables made very tasty meals. One of the family would wait for the butcher at the end of the lane and collect the meat. The butcher was a local man who kept his van and equipment so clean and the meat was always fresh -
We had very few toys but just used to play using our imagination. My friend and I used to build a little house with stones. There was a small river at the bottom of the garden and we would go down to play there. My father once brought me a doll from England and that was cherished until I left home. It was then passed to my younger sister and sad to say I never saw it again! My mother taught me to sew and i would make clothes for my doll -
My mother did all the baking and cooking and washing. Sometimes she would have time for a chat will her neighbour at the wall (ditch) between our gardens. The woman's role was the housework and the washing and baking and the men's' work was outdoors. When I was older because of being the only girl my mum passed a lot of the indoor work to me -
The washing was done by her, clothes were boiled in a big pot on an open fire, rubbed on a corrugated washing board and then had a blue rinse and hung on the hedges to dry -
There was great comradeship among the locals and they would help with the sowing and cutting of the corn and setting and harvesting potatoes and any other jobs when help was needed. Then when it was their turn my father would help them. When the mill came to thresh the corn it was a big social occasion and the young girls would come and help butter the bread and make tea and having a bit of fun with the lads. In the Winter when the harvesting was done my dad went to England and got a job working at one time, on the Mersey tunnel. He was able to send my mum £1:00 per week so that helped. .
My parent's source of recreation was a visit in the evening to friends and neighbours and sometimes I would be taken along -
My father's relaxation was on a Sunday when he and a neighbouring man used to go hunting in the fields around. They each owned a greyhound and often came back with a rabbit. Once a year on New Year's Day my father would go to Dundalk to his sister's and I believe went to the dog races with his brother-
Women didn't go into pubs those days but the neighbouring woman liked a ' drop of whiskey' and when her family who were in America sent her some money she would 'collar' one of us who then had to go up to the pub in the village and get her a 'noggin' of whiskey. I only got the job once. My brother Arthur was usually the captive and I tell you it wasn't his favourite task.
Our local school was about 1/2 a mile away so we walked there every morning and back at night. I was a studious child and did well at school. Ours was a mixed school and the headmaster was very strict and the cane was used quite a lot. He expected high standards and 'woe betide' anyone who did not co-
On Sunday all the family went to church and that was a day of relaxation -
We were quite a sociable family and often we would have friends for the evening but it became quite a joke when we got older for at 10:00pm my father would wind up the 'wag o the wall clock' and that was a sign that the time had come for the visitors to go!
In the evenings when the boys were around my father taught us to play cards. There was always a local dance on Sunday evening and occasionally I was allowed to go with older girls, but my parents were very protective of me. Although the boys did not have to ask permission I had to do so and when refused I felt Very badly done to', The dance hall was about three miles away and we walked there and back. This was not a problem as there were always quite a few young people going there and it was an opportunity for a bit of fun and a chatter. I made my own dresses for the occasion.
However time went on and my time at the 'elementary school' ended. I got a scholarship to the convent in Newry. My mother was very far-
Then it was time to go out into the big wide world! 1 knew there was no chance of me going to University -
War broke out and looking back we took awful risks. We would go to the cinema and dances and were supposed to be in at a certain time and if we weren't we had to see the matron the following morning. It was quite a major affair to be confronted by her. There was a lot of bombing by the German planes, mostly at night but we were young and fearless. I remember being at the pictures and had to go down to the basement whilst the worst of the bombing occurred and then when it was all clear we had to walk home as the train lines were up and we had to duck into the doorways whilst the shrapnel was flying around. It was a very dangerous time, Liverpool was heavily bombed and there were a lot of people killed, even the air-
Walton was an emergency military hospital and casualties from the war zone were taken there, had emergency treatment before being transferred to a military hospital. When that happened all the staff came back on duty having already done a full day's work and worked until we were no longer required -
I had a uncle living in Liverpool and on my days off I would go there to visit but the bombing got so bad that he and his family moved back to Ireland. I missed them but by that time I was established. There was a time when I was not even allowed to go to Ireland for my holiday -
I continued my nursing training, happy and sad times too. As students we had to cope with the whims of the sister who would be all powerful! The food was quite satisfactory and we got a piece of fruit each day after dinner at a time when most people had to queue to buy such luxuries.
When I finished my general nursing training, I decided I would do midwifery. At that time Liverpool was a very dangerous place so for safety of the mothers and babies they were nursed at Southport and each pupil midwife had to go to Southport to look after them. I was based in a beautiful house on the outskirts and then we walked into Southport for lectures.
Whilst I was there it was Christmas time and very peaceful and the matron decided to give us a party. I was on night duty but one of my fellow nurses offered to work my shift. The staff nurse invited three merchant navy men to the party and so I met and married one of them and she married the other one and my friend who introduced us had a relationship with the third one but married someone else eventually. We had a very romantic courtship -
In the meantime I continued nursing. I did not complete my midwifery course which was a 12 month course but returned to Walton Hospital in Liverpool after 6 months. I became a staff nurse first on a TB ward when TB was rife and then on a ward where tropical diseases were treated. The sister and I worked well together and as the specialist in tropical medicine wanted to open a unit in Smithdown Road Hospital (now Sefton Park) she asked me to go with her. I went there as a junior sister. That was a very happy time -
My romance continued. George remained at sea. It was difficult to get time off when he came home and although the matron was always agreeable, I felt guilty as I was giving the staff extra work.
In 1946 George and I planned to marry quietly but the nurses found out and were there in church! I continued nursing, and once the war was over we got two rooms in Selfton Park. I had visited my in-
I was very impressed with Walney Island. It was safe and tranquil -
My family have been wanting me to write my story for some time but Alice it was your encouragement that finally prompted me to do so
by Mary Partington.
I was born in 1920 on St Valentine's Day. I was the second child of a family of nine -
The farm was self sufficient; we had almost all the basic necessities. We kept a couple of cows which produced the milk, butter and buttermilk (which we used to make the soda bread). We also had a few extra cattle which were sold at the fair. We had a horse and as there was no mechanical means of farming, the ploughing and harvesting were done by the plough and horses and the corn was cut by the scythe. We had hens for the egg production and chickens for cooking and any surplus were sold.
My father was a hard working and honest man. He did all the outdoor farm work. He grew potatoes, oats and all the vegetables we needed. The cattle grazed in the fields in the Summer months and there was straw for their Winter food. When the bullocks were fattened they were taken by foot to the market about 5 miles away. We kept pigs too and I remember them being slaughtered and cleaned at the front of the house. I did not like to hear the squeals. Then they were taken in a cart to market about 41/2 miles away. That would give my parents enough money to buy clothes etc.