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Peceful image of open book resting on a arm rest of a couch. Warm fireplace on background.

Well, winter is here! This picture speaks to me and I’ve been thinking more about hearth and home and how it was in times gone by, especially when I’m living in the world of my books. Think where we came from and how different life was for our forebears. There are both pros and cons…

They didn’t have: electricity; phones; television and internet; recorded music; hot and cold running water; washing machines; dryers; dishwashers; espresso machines; food processors; microwaves; electric blankets; refrigerators a vast array of medical specialists with skills and understanding we take for granted, and the list goes on and on…

But they did have: a rooster or two for an alarm clock; home grown fruit and vegetables were a necessity if you wanted them fresh; luxury was home grown fruit in season, a glut of which could be shared or bartered or home preserved for a special treat later in the year and animals around the house were not necessarily just pets but also contributed to the table with fresh eggs and milk and more.

Candles and oil lamps were a way of life, making every evening a romantic setting for dinner. Saving wax or oil meant going to bed early rather than sitting up square eyed watching the idiot box. Unpasteurised milk straight from the cow with cream on top which could be enjoyed as it was or made into churned into butter or made into cheese. Ice was precious and icecream was for the select few.

Think about how many more people had musical instruments and could play them! Instead of personal entertainment, there were singers unafraid of being heard and others who enjoyed playing whatever was available, right down to spoons while those energetic souls danced! People learned and recited poetry for fun and I so miss hearing a whistler. Can’t remember the last time I heard somebody whistle for sheer pleasure. Wish I could whistle.

Those were days when a pair of socks were a welcome gift, clothes were made to be worn out, not discarded when the newness wore off. Housework was really that – hard work washing by hand, if you were lucky you had a mangle to get some of the water out before hanging everything out in the sunshine to dry.

Who else remembers when water was so precious that the bathwater was shared – who went first in your house? Who got the water last, half cold and less than sparkling clean?

Wood burning stoves warmed the whole house summer and winter! When you went away for a time you didn’t have hot water for a couple of days after you came home and started the fire. In winter, everyone gathered around the fire to keep warm, maybe someone reading aloud from the precious printed ages of a well worn book.

10,000 steps a day was easy to do but who bothered trying to count them? Obesity was almost unheard of.

So, who would want to go back? What could you do without? What would you miss?