With the arrival of the cold weather I have heard predictions of a hard winter to come and I thought back to the winter of 1947. No doubt the adults viewed it in a different light from us, but to us it was a magical time, deep snow for weeks on end and extra days off school when the boiler broke down, the pipes froze or there was no coke to stoke the boiler! When we were at school I remember having to break the ice on our free bottles of milk. On the days off we would take our sledge to the forest and toboggan up and down the slopes and have snowball fights. I was quite spoilt as I was the only girl in my brother’s gang as well as being the youngest. I unashamedly played on  this and would have four little boys pulling me on the sledge, while I was cosily wrapped in the snow suit my mother had made me from her old fur coat.

This was soon after the war and rationing was still in force and even coal was rationed though we were more fortunate than some as my father worked for the colliery and we had the miners allowance plus a load of logs, sent to us by a relative in the country to supplement our fuel.

Power cuts did not affect us as much as they would nowadays as there was no TV and we had few electric gadgets and few homes had central heating. We had one coal fire in the living room and this was part of a range which had an oven on one side and a boiler on the other. There was no heating upstairs unless we were ill and then a fire was lit in the small fireplace, the rest of the time we got undressed very quickly and snuggled under extra blankets and a huge fluffy eiderdown.

We had lots of homemade soup, stews, apples, pears and bottled fruit preserved from the summer. We also had a daily dose of cod liver oil and malt, so stayed pretty healthy despite the weather, so all in all we children had a wonderful winter!