Tag Archives: pensioner

Care Giving

Lesley Joseph (right), with her hosts Pat and Malcolm in the BBC’s When I’m 65 season on ageing.

If you’re looking for unsung heroes, look no fourther than care givers.

Though you may find them hard to spot, because as well as unsung – they’re often unappreciated, unsupported, unpaid, unhealthy themselves, quite likely unhappy – and unable to get out much. Such is the burden of responsibility and sheer physical exhaustion involved in looking after someone else.

According to Carers UK, there are an estimated 1.3 million people aged 65 and over who are the primary (perhaps only?) carer for someone else. So as well as the self-sacrificing goodness involved, they’re also saving the state (i.e. the rest of us) a lot of cash.

So it’s good when someone pays attention to them, or even better, lends a hand.

Whether it’s a care worker paid for out of those pesky taxes, a neighbour or – in this case – actress Lesley Joseph, who played Dorien in the TV series Birds of a Feather.

Sure it was for a TV show – part of the BBC’s When I’m 65 season – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be sincere and helpful – nor that she doesn’t personally have her own insight. She has a 100-year-old Mum of her own after all.

Birds of a Feather – back in the day: Linda Robson, Lesley Joseph & Pauline Quirke

I met Lesley when Continue reading

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When no one locked their doors on my street

This is a history of my street, from 1931-2011. It’s a firsthand account. So it’s not written by me. Guess that makes it a guest post.

One of my neighbours, Pam, wrote it to share with the rest of us on the street. I typed it up and printed off copies to hand out at our recent royal wedding street party (here, here and here).

I’ve slightly edited it for this blog. And I’ll give you a little context too.

The street is on the edge of a village in the south of England. Population less than five thousand people. Used to be mainly farm workers. Now a lot of people commute to the nearest city.

Pam was born on the street and has lived here most of her life.  She has some good tales. One of them features an odd woman in a beret. (Apologies. In the previous post I promised you a flat cap. Turns out it’s a beret.)

So here’s Pam’s story.

I was born at no.22, lived there for a year, then moved to no.18 for a year, then to no.17 for the next thirty years, until my husband and I bought an allotment and orchard from the owners at no.19 and built our own bungalow no.21.

Many of the houses were built in the late 1920s and 1930s by two local builders. They were mostly rented. It was only after World War II that people began to buy homes outright. Most houses have altered almost out of recognition with rooms added up and out.

I do not know if our home came with gas at first, but I do remember the excitement of just touching a switch and the light coming on when electricity was installed. Before then, one had a bracket with two gas mantles which had a chain to operate the gas flow. One then lit the mantles carefully with a match. That was only downstairs. Electricity came to the street around 1937 I think. Before then we went to bed by candlelight.

Everyone had a flower garden, a vegetable patch and a few greenhouses – fruit trees and bushes and strawberries. Everyone in those days grew most of their vegetables and shared them with neighbours.

A few chickens at the bottom of the garden and rabbits in hutches provided extra meat – especially during the war years and eggs were precious. During the war we had a retriever who when told to “catch a rabbit” over the fields, did just that and made the meat ration go further. The large oak tree (now listed) at the rear of no.17 was home to a family of red squirrels until the grey squirrels moved in.

1. It's not a woman in a beret. 2. It's the wrong type of rabbit. 3. It's a pipe not a cigarette. 4. Who cares.

Also to the rear of no.17 in the corner of the field was a reclusive lady who Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, In the village