Sunday, 7 February 2016

Real Retro

For reasons beyond the realms of the blogosphere I'm spending the weekend in Essex. In 1968,  my family moved into a solid brick built terrace on one of the big council estates that went up after the war. Mum and Dad have remained here ever since. When they arrived the house still had its original kitchen.  Nearly fifty years on and it's still going strong.  The quality of all that joinery is a cut above those flat packed chipboard units available today.   Aside from a lick of paint and different tiling and floor covering, little has changed since my childhood.  My toy cupboard was in that space below the curtain you can see.  Each morning I used to empty everything out and then sit on the floor and chat to Mum.  I only went quiet when 'Listen With Mother' came on the radio just before Woman's Hour.




Mum, for always the kitchen has definitely been her domain, still has this very capacious old fashioned larder behind that door on the left.  The other cupboard that you can see contains cleaning materials. Latter day housebuilders could learn lots about built-in storage space.  It's in abundance around the entire home.  However a modern day wannabe chef would find the space for food preparation intolerable. That work surface shown in the picture above is the only one.  Yet somehow Mum has managed to rustle up incredible meals and baked goods in this tiny spot.  Even after my experience of living in the restricted space in my motorhome, I'm not sure how's she's done it for the last half a century.   There must be something Tardis-like about it that kicks in when the dining room door closes.  There is always homemade cake stored in Tupperware boxes when I arrive home.  The current offering of coconut muffins are so reminiscent of my childhood. Lush!


There's only two appliances, the cooker and the fridge.  Oh, there is a microwave tucked away but I haven't seen it used very often.  Yes, there is a washing machine but that's in the lean-to outside the back door.  It's an old fashioned top loading type.  In marketing terms my parents definitely aren't early adopters!

This is a very different beast from the kitchen in my own home that meets the modern requirement for being a hangout for friends and family.  I have to say that I prefer my own house's open plan feel and the sense of belonging that I have whilst I'm slaving away over a hot stove to feed the masses.  It's very  likely that the next owners of my childhood home will make some very big changes.  I wouldn't blame them for the different way of living of younger generations demands a different environment. However it would be great if some of that retroness, which really must be rather rare, could be preserved.

9 comments:

  1. Most of last year was spent in extending and reconfiguring our house on the ground floor. One of my requirements was a walk in pantry. We did this by relocating the downstairs loo which was off the hall bricking it up and knocking through from the kitchen voila a fab walk in pantry. I absolutely love it. Your parents house reminds me of my mums she has a two bed council house which she bought years ago having been in it since it was built in 1959 the year I was born. It's a house with so much storage. There is a massive larder a bit like your parents and two other walk in cupboards and the whole house is built like a brick .... house lol.

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    1. Mum and Dad's is a three bedroomed one. They bought it in the early '70s for about £4,000! x

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  2. Is thay the fridge tucked under the work space? Of all cultural differences between UK and US, the small refridgerators would be my biggest challenge. It's a cute little space.

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    1. Yep, a fridge. Mine is bigger but nowhere near the size of some of the US behemoths. My experience is that my American friends put a much wider range of goods in their fridge than we do. It seems to act as the main store cupboard for food. x

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  3. I'd a larder but more worktop space is a must for me.
    xx

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    1. Funny I got used to preparing food in a very small space when I lived in my motorhome. I spread out much more now and can't see how Mum manages! x

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  4. What is the red and beige thing on the wall (right) in the larder? It looks interesting.

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    1. It's a loose tea dispenser from the 'olden days'. Each time you press a button a teaspoon drops in the pot! x

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