Almost the End of Feb

I was going to cover the month to the end but ’twas getting a bit long so I’ve split this page. The twenty eighth was a rather long walk to Turnerwood that led to a lot of pics. Once every four years there’s the twenty ninth, of course.
As always click the pics to see ’em bigger.
Links open new pages/tabs.

Those were the days …

I was born in 1944, so my earliest memories are of the late 40s and the 50s. I remember detachable collars on men’s shirts. My father had ’em, a clean one every day. I also remember them being washed, ironed and starched. They were held in place by studslink, one at the front to hold the collar and shirt together and one at the back holding the collar to the shirt. Apparently they’re still a thinglink. They were ‘boil washed(Dunno how one boil washes but that’s what was done … I’m told) and heavily starched.

Washing Dolly (Photo from e-bay)

Washing Dolly
(Photo from e-bay)

The rest of the washing was done in a large barrel shaped thing with a posher (or posser or dolly) to agitate the clothes. When we lived at Lismore Road we had a basement that, at the back of the house, opened on to the garden. This basement was where the washing was done and probably the ironing as well, although I have some memories of an electric iron plugged in to a double socket on the light above the ground floor table.

Clothes Wringer (Photo from Tumbler)

Clothes Wringer of the type referred to
(Photo from Tumbler)

We had a wringer, a large floor standing thing that was only retired when I was about 12 or 13 when we got a washing machine – a top loader that had an electric wringer attached to the top.
Looking back I think my mum worked probably just as hard as a Victorian scullery maid from morning ’til night. In addition to we boys and my dad she had her matriarchal mother to cater for, as well as occasionally her brother. Did my dad, and most men, work Saturday morning, or is that a false memory?
Cooking and eating the results thereof was very like this songyoutube link. and also took up a fair percentage of her day.

More about my younger life later.
On with the arse end of Feb, don’t forget to click on pics to see ’em bigger.

February 24th

The tufted duck pair are actually two pics ‘shopped into one.
A couple of ‘ponderamas’, using the Huginlink pano prog.

 


Birds seem to think that spring is here.
Great tits are treetopping and chirruping merrily away; grebes are patrolling their patches; robins are being territorial.
The rabbit is nibbling away within easy dashing distance of the thorny hedge – this one’s right on a popular dog walking track.
Pussy willow is beginning to show its furry catkins.

Sad but true: my pics on Flickr are both titled and ‘tagged’; it is rather noticeable that any tagged or titled ‘tit’ receive many more views than others: if tag or title includes ‘pussy’ the view count is even greater.

 

Feb 25th

I do like these beautiful birds.

 


This great crested has taken to squatting on a plank wedged in a corner of the pond – I’ve seen it there several times. I think it’s the latest arrival, possibly one of last year’s brood, can’t be sure as identification of individual birds isn’t easy, specially with the fairly drab winter plumage.

 

This is the other grebe, who’s making his/her home at the west end of the pond. I think (s)he’s the adult remaining from last year’s family.

 

The kestrel was perched on top of the high wall of Brunton Shaw’s recently expanded wire rope works.

 


Seagull numbers fluctuate wildly, sometimes there’s only one or two around and the next day we seem to be hosting hundreds. They divebomb surfacing tufties – presumably intending to snatch whatever food they’ve acquired underwater. Last year I often noticed them attacking kestrels but this year they seem to have left that task to crows.
Today’s lichen pic.
Thrushes, when they’re not at the top of a tree singing merrily, are usually hunting worms in the shortish grass of the rugby field.
Another treetop singer is the great tit. I think this is probably the same one as that above – from the other side of the same tree.
Ivy fruit is a valuable winter source of food for a number of birds; this is a female blackbird.

 


Had to include this picture of the sky over the pond. I’ve titled it ‘Devil Eyes’.

 

26th Feb

On the pond there’s the usual suspects:
a male tufted duck, this one has its neck fully extended;
the gull demonstrates where the term ‘gull wing doors’ comes from;
one of the pond’s grebes passing.

 


The crows are ‘mobbing’ a kestrel, I watched for a few minutes as they chased it through trees away across the nearby allotments. For any furriners here’s a link to what ‘allotments’ are.
Another tufty – this is ‘gimpy’.
I’m sure that I’d have called this a sparrow a few years ago – it’s a dunnock.

 


Hedgerow lichens.
One of my old favourites – a teasel.
Bet this dog wanted to come out and play – looked so sad.
Back home found this beasty behind the washing machine.

 

Sat 27th Feb

The mallard is one of a couple that have taken to ambling about outside my front door feeding on the patches of council grass.
Yet another of those female hazel flowers – the last for this year, I promise.
A solitary goosander. There were two, both male, but I never got a decent shot of the other one. Both flew away about ten minutes after I photographed this one.

 


What bird lays eggs in February? Whatever, this one was doomed.
Robins are singing all around.
Courting great tits in the pollarded willows – they’re more vegetarian in the winter but still hunt insects. There’s plenty of midges around even though it’s only February.
Thrushes outsing(Is that a word? ‘Tis now) robins but aren’t so often heard.
The cow parsley, wild carrot or whatever it is, has fractal flower/seed heads – individual florets are like smaller versions of the whole thing.

6 thoughts on “Almost the End of Feb

  1. Do like the “Devil’s eyes”. Much more interesting than the monochrome grey I can see just now.

    Grandma Wilson had a built-in boiler for washing, between her stone sink and the range, which heated the water, and on which she did the cooking. A boil wash was for cotton and linen that needed to be got clean. I have used a large saucepan. She also had a dolly, (three wooden legs like a stool, and a long handle from the middle) a posher and a zinc wash tub. And a wash board. You know – corrugated metal to rub clothes up and down on, and featured in skiffle bands.
    Her mangle was in the back yard. Lethal it was, or at least we were led to believe it was; trapped fingers or even hair.
    Things are now valuable historic artifacts, shown to schoolchildren in museums.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ‘Devil’s eyes’ were with the sun behind me – I think it was shining over the clouds to appear at the two eye spots.
      Grandma Wilson – a rather fierce lady if I remember aright? We had a hand-powered washing machine that probably was more work than using a posher. Our boiler was in the basement I think but we had hot water on tap from the kitchen back boiler up on the ground floor. Don’t recall a washboard though I presume there was one – first I recall of them was when we were skiffling when I was 14 or 15.

      Threw the mangle away when I left The Poplars – it had been in the wash house for years.

      Don’t know about the ‘valuable’ bit 🙂 although they’re certainly historic artifacts.

      Rather depressing when your own lifetime is someone else’s history lesson.
      😦

      Like

  2. Glad that Theresa introduced the word ‘mangle’ – we never called it a wringer. My grandmother’s was in the kitchen and folded down to make the table on which she prepared food. The ‘whites’ were boiled in the copper and poshed with the dolly peg. After my grandfather retired from the steelworks he helped her by poshing the clothes and turning the mangle handle. Blue bag (Reckitt’s Blue or Dolly Blue) was added to the final rinsing water to make the whites look more white. This was also the sovereign remedy for bee stings (vinegar for vasps, blue bag for bees) being alkaline. Underwear – combinations and liberty bodices – had rubber buttons which wouldn’t break going through the mangle and a lot of men’s shirts had flat metal buttons covered in cloth. It was always cold meat from the Sunday roast with pickled beetroot and cucumber and onion in vinegar on Mondays since there was no time to cook.
    The dawn chorus has become more noticeable recently – this morning I was awoken by a pair of very angry magpies ‘kak-kak-kakking’ at each other outside my bedroom window. Six pump wood pigeons patrol the lawns presumably pecking up leatherjackets. Saw some sparrows in the garden yesterday – quite a rare sight here now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got me wondering now – I can’t remember whether we called it a mangle or a wringer. Right about the ‘blue’ – I remember Reckitt’s.

      Men’s shirt buttons were ether cloth covered metal or mother of pearl or, I suppose, celluloid. Working overalls had ‘bachelor buttons’ that could be removed and replaced – can’t remember how they worked.

      We did have left over meat and cold veg on Monday.

      Magpies are rather nasty birds – they eat other birds’ chicks among other things and of course they’re the devil in a dinner jacket. Wood pigeons are nice except for when they ‘coo coo’ interminably outside the kitchen window.
      We’ve loads of sparrows in the shrubs around the pond. They twitter loudly in bramble bushes as do starlings.

      Like

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