maandag 2 juni 2008

Mollys Tale Chapter 8 - Hawthorne Gardens

Baden and Molly were both employed by Baden’s father, and they did not have much money or time off. In order to help furnish the new house, Molly’s mother-in-law Mattie went to local house sales to pick up furniture here and there. Molly did resent this interference, especially as the emphasis was on usefulness and good value. The big sideboard with the ugly gargoyle carvings which always stood in the living room was one of these purchases, but happily the bedroom suite was new and I remember her pride in the bedroom furniture.

I think they must have been very happy in the house in Murton. Little Jack often cycled to visit on his bike, and Louie and Norah always visited on Sundays. Molly and Baden had a lovely Collie dog called Pat and he would take the children back down the road to the Wheatsheaf Public House to catch the bus home.

It was while Molly and Baden still lived at Murton that Baden took up golf, and he cycled down to Tynemouth golf club at every opportunity. The Clubhouse was his refuge when Molly was in labour with both Bill and Meg, he would wait there until everything was over, and he got the phone call to come home. There was not much time for golf in the early years for either of them, but they both enjoyed the sport and were members of the golf club for many years.

Baden’s sister Eleanor was still unmarried, but courting Bill Stewart. She lived at Pretoria House with the family in New York and ran the girl guides group. Molly was asked along on one of the annual camping trips. Uncle Eddy took the whole group, plus Eleanor and Molly with a three year old Joan, in his lorry up to the Farm at Rock, near Alnwick. The farm “Rock Mill” was run by Eleanor’s Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill Reed. It must have been a very uncomfortable trip in the open on the back of the lorry. Molly was taken along to do the cooking for the girl guides, whilst Eleanor took the guides on long hikes in the country.

The guides slept in an empty byre whilst Joan and Molly had a room in the Farm House. The cooking was done over a camp fire with a brick surround which was set up by Uncle Bill, and the farm supplied milk and eggs. Joan had a great time, running all over to find sticks for the fire. It sounds like the fore runner for the modern barbecue, but Molly does not write about the trip with much fondness, again I think it took her out of her comfort zone.

When Molly had been in Hawthorne Gardens for three years Baden arranged for her to have lessons in making Cornish pasties and pies from an old lady who ran a pie shop in Bertram Place in Shields. She made her own pies, but got her meat from Thompson’s Butchery. That summer was particularly hot, and as there was no fridge in the Butchery, the Thompson’s needed to make pasties to clear up the meat, mostly breast of lamb. Once Molly got trained and into the swing of things, she was making up to 200 pasties at a time, depending on how many scraps of meat needed to be processed.

Molly became pregnant with her second child, Bill, and her sister Louie came to stay to help make the pies and later help with the baby. Molly also had the help of Mrs Turner, a midwife who took extra jobs on to help support her two boys.

Molly's house had a garden, and they had a hen house. Once in the run up to Christmas, Baden bought two dozen cockrels to be fattened up. Molly writes:

“Baden had himself a evening suit measured at “Pearson’s”, I think. I never saw
a penny of that, and had to pluck 2 dozen birds before Christmas.”

I think that when she was younger, it never occurred to Molly to ask for payment for the extra value she brought to the business. It’s not even clear whether Louie was paid for pie making, when she came to help Molly out when she was pregnant.

Chapter 9

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