Meet my Granny!
As many of you know, last week I asked Kiran and our readers to write in with questions to ask my Granny. You came up with some brilliant questions but I’m afraid I couldn’t ask her all of them so instead I chose eight of them which I thought covered the main topics that people seemed to be interested in.
My Granny, Peggy May Lightfoot (neé Stevens) was born in the little fishing village of Polperro on July 8th 1922. When I was little, she pointed out that my name has the same letters in it as her middle name and ever since then I’ve always thought we have a special connection :-)
My Granny’s family ran a dairy in the village and she used to help out when she was young. As well as supplying the village with their produce, they sent cream by post all over the country. My Granny married William Lightfoot (my Grampy) on New Year’s Eve, 1943. Sadly he passed away in 2002. She lives in a village a few miles from Polperro, where my parents now live. So without further ado let’s have a little photo…
And now for her answers to your questions:
1. What was the best and worst of the Second World War?
The worst was the anxious concern for those who were serving in the forces, never knowing where they were or if we would see them again. Referring to those in the navy, when or where they were at sea or which part they would return to. For all, the dread of a telegram being delivered to inform of their loss or injury. The fear of being invaded via the coast, which had barbed wire fences & the Home Guard patrolling at night. Also, the fear of bombs being dropped as they severely bombed Plymouth [a nearby city].
The best must have been when they came on leave! In some areas where neighbourhoods gathered into underground air raid shelters it my have brought people close in a spirit of community.
2. What was the most unforgettable day of your life?
The day of my marriage. We had waited for the ship to come in for servicing from August to late December, then I got a telegram saying he, my late husband, had four days leave & I must decide whether the wedding took place next day or we waited for a longer leave. He didn't know the decision until reaching Polperro late evening. What a contrast to the time preparations take now!
3. How do you spend your time now?
Some housework, food preparation, shopping, knitting, reading, church once a week, a little TV & family visits.
4. What does the sea mean to people in Polperro today, and what did it use to mean?
Some people enjoy going down to the harbour or a cliff walk with a view of the sea & some have boats to use for pleasure, or commercially, whereas years ago the harbour would have been more filled with fishing boats which would provide 'livings' for families. A lot of pilchards [a type of fish] being packed into barrels & exported to Italy.
5. Is there anything you would like to reintroduce from the past which you really miss in today's world?
The habit of people attending places of worship which provided guidance - this appears to be lacking now & we see the results.
6. Have you changed the way you dress over the years and, if so, do you like it more now or in the past?
It has become more casual. We used to have complete outfits which comprised hat, suit or coat, dress or blouse in matching or toning colours, with shoes, gloves & handbag. Sometimes now it is untidy & exposing too much flesh.
7. What tricks did you use to keep the dairy produce fresh for a long time?
Apart from the dairy shop, the dairy was under ground level with a stone floor, & slate shelves. When the churns of milk arrived on a trolley from the cow house, some would go into pans to be sold from there or delivered in the village (sometimes twice daily) in bottles. The surplus would go into pans & was carried down to the dairy for the cream to set on top before being scalded some yards away in the kitchen, back to the dairy to cool, resulting in a crust cream which would be skimmed off & the remaining milk mostly went to the pigs. We had a fridge in the shop for the bowls of cream. People brought their own dishes for 2, 4 or 8 oz. to take home & we posted tins to all parts. Visitors would send it to their friends; printed labels were provided for the address, they were tied on around the tin & had to be at the post office for the morning collection.
8. What is the biggest difference between these days and when you were growing up?
Mainly traffic, travel, communications, use of money & standard of living.
Well I hope we managed to talk about most of the topics you had raised. I found it very interesting and I hope you did too! Being able to see more of my Granny is one of the reasons why I’m happy to be back in England :-)
It’s time for me to be heading off to bed now as I’m absolutely shattered.
Hope to hear from you soon Kiran!
Last post’s definitions:
To spill the beans - to tell the truth or admit something
Resurgence - an increase in activity or interest
Green movement - a group of people who care about the environment and take action to improve it
To be long gone - to have disappeared a long time ago
To make do - to manage despite not having everything you need
To keep themselves to themselves - to not talk to many people and remain private
The sense of community - the feeling that people care about each other and are willing to help one another
Vocabulary and phrases from today:
To come up with
Without further ado
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