Friday, 14 February 2014

Living with less?

The joy of reading lots of other peoples blogs is that it can spark a thought or an idea.  Jane at Shoestring Cottage did a post with a short list of 30 things our grans didn't use. The idea for her list came from a visit to a museum that included a Fishermans cottage. That's the sort of museum I like - looking at how real people lived. When we went to Duxford  years ago it wasn't the planes that I enjoyed but  the wartime pre-fab showing how few possessions that people had then.

That made me think about the time in  1983/4 when we lived in a mobile home for a year while we did up an old house. Before that were living in a 3 bed house with our children aged 2 and 4. Most of the stuff from the house wouldn't fit into the caravan so we were quite limited on what possessions we needed for that year. I can't remember a huge amount about the year. I know I enjoyed having virtually no housework because the caravan was such a small space!
 It was a very busy time.  The work on the old house had to be done in 12 months to get the council grant which was available then for bringing a house that had been declared unfit for human habitation back up to scratch. Him Outside was working for the council all day and then came home and worked on the house until 9 most nights. I remember digging out the earth floors to lower the floor level and at the end putting endless amounts  of linseed oil on all the beams.
One thing I DO remember is having just one shelf for books and having to choose which ones to take before all the rest were stored away in boxes at His Nan's house.

That thought led me on to wondering which books would I take now, if I was only allowed one bagful from my book shelves. I would want to take favourites and things that can be read and re-read.
Time for a list!
So I would pack my bag with.......
The 3 Hovel Books by Elizabeth West
The 2 books by Patrick Rivers that are at the top of the blog
(Those 5 are all small so would easily slide into the sides of a bag)
Vere Hodgson - Few eggs and No Oranges.
Juliet Gardiner - Wartime Britain
Frances Woodford - Dear Mr Bigalow
Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
( Those 4 are all good fat books with loads of reading)
Amy Dacyczyn - The Complete Tightwad Gazette
( Another giant book that you can find new things in wherever you open it)
Helene Hanff Omnibus.
( The well known 84 Charing Cross Road + 4  others, lots to read there)
One Hundred Favourite British Poems
This is a small book , but full of poems that I ought to read.
Then if there was room I would fill up the corners with as many crime books as possible - things I've not read yet. Or maybe the 5 in the CJ Sansom series, they could be read again and are all huge.

And while I was looking at my bookshelves I spotted a book that took me almost full circle back to the beginning of this blog. It's called " Sucking Eggs, what your Wartime Granny could teach you about Diet, Thrift and Going Green". A book full of information about how women managed their households during the war.

So many things have changed since then that have made us 'need' more of everything. Take yesterday for instance. Because I have a freezer I made 4 pastry cases to store. That means I need 4 flan/quiche dishes to make them in. Without the freezer I would make one at a time.
Because we have 4 bedrooms we have room for all our family who live away to visit all at once,  that means I have lots of extra pillows, duvet, covers etc.
Because I have a big built-in cupboard in the dining room I have room for a whole other set of dinner ware, glasses,fruit dishes etc.

Thinking about living in a small space reminded me of a book that has been on my wish list for a while, it's called "12 by 12, a one room cabin off the grid". This is a book from the states and I'm waiting for the price to drop a bit more so I can order it. It sounds interesting.

That's a whole blog about what happens when someones blog sets you thinking!

By the way,out of Jane's list of 30 things there were 22  that we don't have/use/do and if I keep knitting even the disposable dishcloths/scourers would be off the list!

Back Tomorrow.

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