Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Goods And Chattels

I always felt my mother's home was full of interest: packed bookshelves (alphabetised by author no less) pictures, photographs and the inherited bits and bobs - or 'doodads' as she would have called them - that will continue to be passed on and then on again. Her little flat was inviting and warm and distinctively 'her'.

And so - I have become the custodian of a few new (to me) things which are special reminders of aspects of my mum's character.

....including a home-made cook book c.1964. It must have been one of a dozen or so copies typed out by my mum and has - amazingly - survived umpteen house moves over the last forty six or so years.

Amongst mum's offerings in it are Shrimp Chowder which she describes as 'a soup which is a meal in itself', and Pork Cassoulet: 'almost impossible to overcook'.

Here's a recipe from one of the other contributors. I love its prescriptive tone.


The hips must not be used until touched with frost. Further, they must be used as soon as they are picked and not left overnight, as they contain a valuable quantity of Vitamin C., which is lost with keeping.

To every pound of hips allow half a pint of water. Boil until tender and pass through a fine sieve to remove pips. Add 1lb. sugar to 1lb. of pulp and boil until it thickens.

Miss D.V. Rowe
The Plough House

The advice (tutorial was it?) I was given about the importance of hand washing delicates and woollens in - specifically - Woolite may be considered a bit outmoded today. But I know that from my mum's point of view she was simply passing on a handy tip - a useful skill perhaps - and also the notion that if you take good care of the things you value they will last longer. 

And the stripy scarf above is a great example of this. It's actually about twenty years old and - like her other knitwear - was carefully stowed away in a protective bag whilst not in use. Lucky for me it still has a faint scent of lovely perfume on it.

Finally - the autumnal orange and green of a necklace that was my mother's mother's. This treasure is made from moss agate and other stones which were foraged for by my mum and her sister as little girls when they were living in Cornwall - the sweetest memento and the loveliest story.


  1. Dear Lucy, I am so sorry to read of your mother's recent death. My parents died a good few years ago but continue to be with me in so many small ways, and I'm sure that this will be the same for you. I also have recipe books and jewelry that are precious to me because they belonged to my mother,and in some cases to her mother also. I really appreciate that you share with us via the blog.

  2. Dear SmG,

    Many thanks for dropping in.

    Also, it was very thoughtful of you to take the time to comment. I appreciate your kind words.