Other than the Short Story competition, do any of us write to amuse and distract ourselves?

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
Here's a childhood memory..... little writing, have you one?

The 'broken biscuits' sold by Mr Ramsden and the bacon slicer and the pink paraffin man who came round once a week. Don't forget Ronnie the Fishman who came on Fridays, because we were all Catholics.

Washing, labouriously done, flapping across the back street, between long rows of 2 up 2 down's. Woe betide if the NCB were delivering coal - all the ladies rushed out to bring the washing in. But I recall one sad day, when the coal lorry drove right down through the washing.......

Donkey stoning - donkey stones bought from the Rag and Bone man, now there was a pride in donkey stoning and a skill... and did you have a cream donkey stone, or were you much more brazen and had a bright yellow one???
Writers Corner sounds like a good plan B)
I'm intrigued- what were donkey stones?
Brilliant poems Poppy, thank you :D

And yes, what are donkey stones?
Agreed, never heard of donkey stones. Very intrigued...
Excuse me butting in, but Google says they were square blocks used to scrub stone steps in front of houses in the north of England. "Donkey stones were made from a mixture of pulverised stone, cement, bleach powder and water." Wikipedia. The donkey stone brand was used by one company but there were others. Pictures on the Web too. I have enough difficulty cleaning inside, I can't imagine regularly cleaning steps.


The Rag and Bone man came round with his old horse and cart and would collect old rags and bones and rubbish - early recycling me thinks.

He used to call out ( for some reason " Rags and Bones, Any Old Iron" he did not pay cash for the goods given, but would exchange a 'donkey stone'... now here was the thing..

'Up North' where I come from, the long rows of mean 2 up 2 down houses, in the sooty, smoky atmosphere of the mills, were a challenge to keep clean. Housewives were judged on how early in the morning their steps were donkey stoned. This meant washing the front step that led to the door which went directly into the sitting room. The step was washed and then carefully using the donkey stone, a line 2 or 3 inches wide was 'chalked' along the edge of the step, to make it look smart. The window ledges were often so treated as well.

Woe betide any child or man, who dared to walk on the donkey stoning with wet feet and make it messy. These people, my people had very little, no bathrooms, no indoor toilet, often no hot water unless the open fire was lit and had a 'back boiler'.

But was ever thus. My grandfather, much loved, and still sadly missed, lived in a cottage with a beaten dirt floor and no electric - you would think I was about 100 years old recounting such things... but I am not... there you go, that's my bit of the day.
Thanks Greta and Mary for enlightening us. I knew about scrubbing the steps but not heard the term donkey stone. Dad was from the midlands so maybe they had a different name- I will ask him when he is on planet earth next time.
I remember blocks of red carbolic soap when I went up to his old house in the midlands (very early 70s). It was as you describe Mary when he was a lad (now 91). No electric, cold water downstairs only, outside lavatory, grew all own veg in garden, candle to bed on a chamber stick, gas lighting and yes I'm sure his mum scrubbed the doorstep. Some of his family had pig stys in the garden and Dad used to hold the pigs leg while it was being slaughtered and the meat shared around- sorry not for the veggies amongst us but just life as it was in the old days before Tescos and Sainsburys arrived. It was a small terrace house with an "entry" up the side shared with next door and coal etc delivered round the back.
Typical front parlour in those houses in the black country had an organ and rag rug made with a podger, and lived in the back room.
Kitchen had a range which needed black leading and a copper in the corner for boiling water, bathing in a tin bath in front of the open fire.

Just asked Dad and he says his mother didn't clean the step as not that sort of step (?)- not convinced about that. He can't remember donkey stones and says his parlour had a piano in it but was never used apart from special occasions like birthdays and it was only a very small house.
charm_1965 wrote:Hey, Mary, we need to team up :lol:
https://50shadesofcaregiver.wordpress.c ... k-groupie/
I enjoyed reading that!! :) and I would like to get onto wordpress, how does one do it????
time for a coffee methinks....