In My Day ……..  


Weren’t those words enough to make you switch off completely when you were a kid?  A lecture always seemed to follow.  I don’t say them to my grandkids but I certainly think them!


We are very lucky to live in a suburb just 20 mins by train from the centre of Adelaide, capital of South Australia but if you looked out our front windows you could think you were living in bush.  The area is hilly with gullies separating the winding roads.  My children walked probably about 500 metres to the little local school of about 120 children.  They walked less than 100 metres up our road which is very narrow with no footpaths to the fenced off path beside the railway line where they’d meet up with friends coming from other directions.


Times have changed. Now, each morning,  “The mummy run” begins.  Not “Yummy Mummies” running along the railway path with little children in Jogging Strollers but a steady stream of cars heading to the school.  Council have had to ban parking on one side of the road because there was no way any emergency vehicles could have made it through but even so it’s a place to avoid for at least an hour morning and afternoon.


Why is it necessary for parents to drive their children to school?  This is not a crime ridden area.  I know some people believe there are now paedophiles waiting to pounce on any unaccompanied children but I think there have always been unpleasant people around.  Children need to learn how to deal with unexpected situations to keep themselves safe whether it’s on the road or interacting with people and they can’t learn to do that if they are always closeted in a car with an adult taking all responsibility.


I guess it’s indisputable, I’m now a boring old fart who says, “In my day ……..”


Hotel Housemaid

In January and February 1972 I was working as a housemaid at the Strathspey Hotel in Aviemore when the Miners Strike resulted in large scale power cuts. Housemaids worked split shifts, coming to work early to make the guests’ Continental Breakfasts then to clean the rooms. If there were lots of departures we wouldn’t be able to finish before lunch because all the beds would need to be stripped. I can’t remember if all the beds had Continental Quilts which had to be manhandled into their seersucker covers but that’s where I learned to make “hospital corners” with the sheets. If the guests were staying for up to 3 nights the sheets didn’t get changed so then it was much quicker to make the beds and clean the rooms. When the power cuts happened it sounds crazy but I’m sure we used candles, I have a memory of chuckling at the paradox of cleaning toilets by candlelight.


At night someone would be rostered on to “turn down the beds”. We had to close the curtains and fold back the top corner of the sheets and quilt so the bed was inviting for the guest. One night I was rostered on during a power cut and dutifully knocked on one door and when there was no response I went in. A man was in there stark naked. I said nothing, just backed out of the room with my flickering candle and he didn’t get the sheets turned down that night!


When I was vacuuming a room one day a silk dressing gown was strewn across the bed, the tie must have been near the floor and suddenly it was gobbled up by the vacuum cleaner. No way could I get it out so I decided to just pretend nothing had happened but later I felt guilty and told the Housekeeper who retrieved it and replaced it in the room.


One guest hid his girlie mags under the Hotel Information Folder so each day as I went out I made sure they were sitting in full view on top.


You didn’t know that about Nana did you?



The Strathspey has changed hands and been renamed but it's the tall building in the background. The photo was taken by leonardo for a Hotel booking site.
The Strathspey has changed hands and been renamed but it’s the tall building in the background. The photo was taken by leonardo for a Hotel booking site.