"Mrs. Dollor had us on the step when we was kids, telling us the time, she teached, she taught us the time, she learned us she did, all of us.
Best time was when we come home from school. We’d wait for the bus then, about half past four. The bus driver used to get the papers for people and he’d chuck them straight through the window like, somewhere where we lived, and us boys would all line up and see who could catch the papers. Whoever caught them, took em, you see, 'cause we’d get an apple or some sweets if we took the papers that night. There’d be fighting between us who’d get to take the papers. It’s a wonder they got their papers all in one. Of course the furthest away would give you some apples and then you’d eat 'em all before you got home because you dinna wanna share 'em. You’d take your time coming back. We used to have to walk, didn’t have pushbikes or anything, always had to walk to take 'em.
We used to pick all the apples around our way, and the blackberries. There weren’t no blackberries round our way we didn’t pick. And hazelnuts. The only thing dad ever did with us was when we were sledging, he used to come sledging with us, and the other time was when we were picking hazelnuts.
Our mum, we'd go on the road with her, like, with the big pram and the baby would be in there and another one sat on the side like, and another one in her tummy likely. and we’d go down the road like and her’d say pull the sticks out of the hedge, and her would fill the pram across like and you couldn’t see the baby in the pram because these sticks is all across, We’d get 'em home like and we’d saw em up for firewood for her. Wonder the farmers didn’t curse us for taking the sticks from the hedge. And she’d have this sack round her and go in the fields to help pick potatoes for the farmers and the pram’d stand in the middle of the field and when we got home like the pram was full of spuds. We had to pull the pram off the field some days when it was really wet. The farmer came round and mother got payed like; mother had the money, we never had any of it. If she saw big ones, mother‘d say 'cover 'em over', we’ll have them later on.
Them were days them were. We never sat in the house, we was miserable when it was wet because we couldn’t go out, be under mother’s feet. Good days they were, everybody the same. You’d leave your back door open. Monday morning was wash morning and everybody have their washing out on the same day. We’d just have a bath on a Sunday night. all of us in a cold bath. You’d fill it up with hot water from the boiler like and we’d all get in there, we all had the same water, three in a bath like. Mother then put all the clothes in and soaked em all, to get most of the muck off like and then fill the boiler again and boil the water again and put all the washing in the boiler and you’d have a big stick like and stir it all up. Then you’d rinse 'em all out and put 'em in this old mangle. We’d turn the handle for her and then Monday morning out on the line they went. Bloody great line about half mile long, nappies, nappies all the way.
Yes three of us in a bath. and we’d all try to get in first, because it was hot then, by the time you got out and the next lot went in, the water was cold. so you’d all be willing to get in quick like, girls or boys, be first to get in like, and it’d be clean water then. There’d be an old scullery, somewhere at the back and everybody’d be shivering like mad, once you got out of the warm water, be bloody cold, shaking like, specially in the winter. In them days there was no heating. You’d run into the kitchen to the stove to dry off, and we never had colds, we was hardy. It’s that entral heating you get colds from, innit, have it too hot and then go out in the cold. That’s what does it.”
Some commenters have assumed that Gardener must be a very old man and that his stories tell of a time long gone. Not so. Gardener is in his 60s and he was a boy in the 1950s when times in rural England and Wales were still very hard for the peasants and birth control was unheard of.