The news recently has been dominated by the weather and nearly all the reporters make comparisons with the winter of 1963. This is when I realise how old we are becoming, 1947  hardly gets a mention!  I suppose most of the reporters barely remember 1963  (or are too young  to remember it at all), so that is not surprising.

I don’t know how the statistics of the severity compare, but we started this cold patch from a much better position than we did in 1947. The country was still  reeling from the after effects of the war, I can’t imagine what the National Debt was then, but rationing was even more severe than it had been in the war years and I read recently that there was a real fear that there would be famine to cope with.

Few houses then had central heating and most relied on a coal fire in the living room.   Coal was rationed, but I remember that we had a lorry load of logs delivered to us from a relative in the country which was a great boon. The rest of the house was unheated and I well remember the frost patterns on the inside of the bedroom windows. This discouraged us from dawdling over getting into bed. Our beds were warmed by hot water bottles and extra blankets and eiderdowns.

The children today are clad in colourful waterproof ski suits and fleece trousers. We had multi layers to keep us warm. I wore a vest, a liberty bodice, flannel knickers  and knee socks for the under layers and then a woollen skirt, several jumpers and cardigans, a thick knitted scarf, hat and mittens.

As children, of course, we had none of the worries of rationing or keeping the fuel supply going, but just saw the joys  of the snow. The school was closed, not because the teachers and pupils could not get in, or worries about us injuring ourselves in the playground (“Elf and safety hadn’t reared its ugly head then) but because they hadn’t any coke for the boilers! 

We got the sledge which Uncle Charles had made us – a very sturdy wooden sledge- from the cellar and I was pulled on it by my brother and his friends to the Forest recreation ground where there were wonderful slopes for sledging.

It was about a mile from home and I sat there feeling very superior wrapped in a colourful blanket until I was unceremoniously tipped off so the boys could perform their daring stunts. 🙂

I was allowed a few goes on the gentler slopes by my brother, who had been warned to take good care of me, so I was probably the only one who arrived home for midday dinner wlthout bruises!

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