Settling in

Washing machine - child and budgie added later!

Washing machine – child and budgie added later!

It took us quite a while to get our belongings in the right places. John already had a lot of books and they had to be properly organised so that he could lay his hand on just the one he wanted. That was the priority. Then the kitchen was next. There was a flagstone floor with two large ‘proddy mats’. The coal fire heated both us and the water, so had to be on unless we wanted cold baths  – which we certainly didn’t. The sink was very small and the draining board even smaller. Above the sink in full view was the hot water cylinder. The gas cooker was really old, totally unlike my mother’s cooker. However nothing daunted us – until the next week when I washed the sheets in the minute sink. It was too much! We had spoken of getting a washing machine with some of our wedding gift cash, but not right away. However, the Saturday after our arrival we were in the Co-op buying a Hoover washer – small and square, but with an integral wringer. What a difference it made, it was worth every penny. Sometime later we bought a wee spin drier which danced around the floor when in use, probably because of the uneven flags.

People came to call on us quite a lot. Mr White, who was a railway man and lived along the road in the Railway Houses, came for a few weeks with a bunch of flowers. He was a keen gardener. We were given cakes and it seemed as though every woman in Haltwhistle was a great baker. Which I wasn’t! I could bake well enough for ourselves, but mine never turned out good-looking enough to take to a Faith Supper, for instance.

At home in Haltwhistle

At home in Haltwhistle

The Circuit held a Welcome for us in Castle Hill Church, after the Quarterly Meeting I think it was. That would be logical, as the people from the country chapels would be in town for it. There was a platform party of Stewards, representatives from all the Women’s’ Meetings, etc., and from other churches in the town. John was on the platform and I was in the body of the hall with Mrs Thynne. It was quite a jolly do and the speeches weren’t too long. They all welcomed John with goodwill. However there were two quite amusing incidents. When the Presbyterian Minister spoke, he finished his speech by saying a word of welcome to Mrs Mitchell, which was directed to the lady sitting next to John who was rather senior to him! The other was when the father-in-law of one of the stewards spoke. He told us all that he was very glad to welcome this young man to the Circuit, because he knew how difficult it had been and his son-in-law had written to 17 ministers before John accepted the invitation. That did raise a laugh. But as it turned out John was the round peg in the round hole even although he was the 18th choice………………


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