Wednesday 23 December 2015

Recollections of Christmas growing up in the late 1940's.

It was a time when the rationing of many essential foodstuffs and other products imposed during the Second World War remained in place until early fifties.

Presents and decorations were very scarce and in fact my first Xmas presents were wooden ones that my father made - being a carpenter (wheelbarrow/push-horse on wheels!).

Then living in a village called Foelgastell in West Wales there was no electricity or water supplies to the house until very late 40's - early 50s! So the water had to be collected in urns some 500 yards away from a local well.

Peniel chapel was central to the life of the home so every Xmas day we went to a service at 6 o’clock in the morning. That was considered more important than the day itself. In fact Christmas day was not much different to any other day - other than more food on the table and friends and relations who lived nearby calling in.  There were no cars in the surrounding villages until the mid 1950s. 

They were years when life was hard and frugal indeed but still I recall it being pleasurable. People's expectations were not that high. 

Food was basic, home cooked of course and wholesome - usually chicken (sometimes goose), stuffing, boiled potatoes and vegetables from the garden stored in the shed, jelly and custard, mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake.  

Cooking was an 'event ' as it was every day of course - all on the coal fire as was ensuring hot water for washing up etc.  

One of the most memorable recollections I have of those early years was the snow of 1947 which was the greatest snow storm period of the twentieth century with drifts 10ft and more. The snow lasted on the ground for a couple of months.

On the morning the snow had started I remember going downstairs with my mother and as she opened the curtains it was all white – the snow was up to window level. Not easy to get out but my father and grandfather managed it. Going out on to the main road there were council workers working at hedge level. By the way no JCB’s or snowploughs but shovels!

Anyway the video tells the story