Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Cooking With Gas

In County Antrim, back in 1959, it would have been the height of sophistication to be connected to the telephone system. Numbers in those days were two or three numbers long. We didn't get ours until the 1960s and our first number was Kells 416. People who got the phone installed in the 40s or 50s would have had three figure numbers starting with 2. The phone was so posh that Daddy had a special telephone voice. He'd say, "Helloooo." How I sniggered. I was a horrible child.

I must still be a bit horrible for if Bert were to ring me and tell me he was bringing anyone home for dinner in 20 minutes I would be rather pissed off. The only thing I'd be rustling up would be beans on toast. Mind you he never calls me 'Darling.' That's where he must be going wrong.

I remember those cars. They were proper cars. Not everyone had the phone but pretty much everyone had the big solid car. I confess I actually remember cars with running boards and my Uncle using a starting handle. Upholstery was leather and awfully cold (at first) to the cheek of a sleepy child. there were no seat belts, no child seats. Baby sat in the front on Mother's lap and the rest of the family would be in the back squirming and squabbling like a nest of puppies.

Now Bert would never tell anyone that I'm a wonderful cook. But then he's never called anyone 'Sir', not since Cullybackey High and he sort of had to then.

Darling is awfully calm about it all. I don't know how she can get all that organised in 20 minutes and still have time to smarten up. In my case 'smartening up' would mean removing one pair of mud-stained and pig-snotty jeans for clean pyjama trousers. No wonder Bert never brings his boss home! Oh but I forget - he doesn't actually have a boss, unless you count Clint and he's just bossy.

I see Darling gives all the credit to her bloody gas cooker. We modern women are not so much in thrall to our kitchen machinery. We like to take the credit for ourselves. Well I do anyway. I prefer cooking with gas myself but it is me who plans the meals, shops and prepares - not the bloody appliance.

What a corker Darling is. Sir announces that she and hubby are relocating to Brazil and she doesn't bat an eyelid or turn one perfectly coiffed hair. Just hopes that she can have a gas cooker out there. That's the sort of standard the ordinary woman had to live up to way back in 1959. No wonder she persuaded hubby to buy her a gas cooker so that she could live the dream of peach crumble, tiny-waisted taffeta dresses and promotions that took her and hubby all the way to Rio de Janeiro.


Brighid said...

Well done Darling. I remember those days as well, we had a party line phone, which was great to listen in on...as a child. Prefer to cook with gas...when I cook.
Do you think any real women really where like her...or for that matter the men?

ganching said...

Perhaps she was checking on whether or not there was a gas oven because she was planning to put her head in it.

Nelly said...

Brighid - I don't think such women existed, outside the heads of Mad Men anyway!

Ganching - Well you would, wouldn't you?

Grannymar said...

I wonder if 'Mrs Harvey' was supposed to know where Rio was.

I remember those days when the phones weighted a tonne and like the few cars about only came in black.

Nelly said...

Those phones were great. At least they worked!