In an old cookery book, given as a present to Joyce in 1951, I came across a small square of paper covered in jottings. There are two or three short lists, and out of context they are quite strange – especially side by side on the same piece of paper:

First of all there is something crossed out which might be about apples and sandwiches for Geoff, and maybe no butter beans; there are more crossings out but it’s easy to read ‘typing; type letter to Dot; Mum and Dad – take brawn, 3 weeks, bib’ – yes it actually does say that! Uncrossed out it says ‘Buy bread, 11:45 bus to – ‘

Then written with a different pencil is a shopping list: bread 1/10½ (1 shilling and 10 and a half pence) dinner 8½, joint 5/4, carrots 6d (six pence). Then it seems to mention something about a farm, and again some prices for meat (£1/6/-) and milk (10/-)

  • 4 coal
  • 2 coke
  • 1 Welsh steam

This must be the fuel for the fire… but what is Welsh steam? I looked it up and found out: “Welsh Dry Steam is a naturally occurring semi-smokeless fuel – much softer than anthracite, but more clean-burning than house coal. Usually used to ‘raise steam’ in railway engines, traction engines and steam-powered boats – also available for domestic use and offered in three sizes – Cobble / Large Nuts / Small Nuts under the trade name of ‘Gloda’ – produced at the Ffos-y-Fran Colliery in South Wales. Best suited for closed appliances and Rayburn-type cookers, not AGA cookers. 

On the back of this small square another list:

  • half pig’s head
  • ½ stewing steak
  • carrots
  • cake

and then a list of things to do:

  • make junket
  • brawn
  • beef stew
  • 201 ginger fingers
  • 227 small cakes
  • 237 raspberry buns

… good heavens! This must be for some sort of function! But what odd numbers…201,227,237…

And finally, after a note that Mother’s day is the 20th March, there is one final shopping list:

  • carrots
  • grapefruit
  • bacon
  • cress
  • fish
  • orange juice
  • toilet roll
  • tomatoes
  • cheese

What strikes me is how economical this lady was, this little piece of paper, about three inches by four, has been used for six different lists and notes.



4 thoughts on “Jottings

  1. My wife put down 20lbs of potatoes with eyes on my shopping list. I asked why she wanted potatoes with eyes and she said because they have to see us through til the end of the month. Gotta luv her!

    Liked by 1 person

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