All the articles so far, have been purposely written by Terry for the Terry’s Eating Places website, but I (Ian) thought it apt to share what Terry wrote about Christmas at number 7, Trulock Road as a child, from his own memoirs:
“Once or twice a year we would go to Caledonian Road Market. One of the visits would certainly be on the run up to Christmas. In former times, the market had been huge, occupying a space bounded by York Way, North Road, Caledonian Road and Market Road. Then it was a large live cattle market showing that rural England had once reached to what are, now, the inner suburbs.
Even in the thirties, the market was very large. All the stalls were lit by portable gas lamps. Everything was on offer, clothing, bric-a-brac, kitchen ware, toys and food of all sorts. It would take some ninety minutes to browse around the market where the goods were offered at prices below what one would expect from the local shops in Tottenham. It was something like Aladdin’s cave, it was magic and, although we probably spent very little, the sight and sound of that market left an indelible memory. I suspected, as I got older, that it was here that our Christmas presents were bought. By today’s standards, we received little at Christmas by way of individual presents, but in retrospect, I wonder how my parents afforded what we did get.
We were an optimistic family, we did not hang up Christmas stockings, we hung up pillow cases. On Christmas Day, the opening of pillow cases was an early priority. We did not wait for Christmas dinner or some other artificial deadline, we opened them as soon as we were awake.
Christmas time was a period when we made use of the parlour. Normally, it was unused except for high days and holidays. At Christmas, a fire would be lit and we would all assemble there for the unloading of the pillow cases. There were only four seats, a settee with a matching armchair plus the piano stool. Yes, we had an upright piano, but nobody in the house could play it. As a result of the shortage of seating, some of us sat on the floor. Grandfather would poke his head round the door to see what was going on.
We would get a small article of clothing like a scarf, socks or gloves, then there would be boiled sweets and toffees and a toy, like a clockwork tank or car. These last items were treasured for years until the spring broke.
The greatest gift was a small train set, a clockwork loco, two carriages and a circular set of lines.
Towards the end of the thirties, my elder brothers were working and they would contribute to the toys, usually something they, themselves, could play with. Each year, there would be an addition to the train set, sometimes by buying new track or rolling stock, sometimes receiving second hand pieces from friends. Eventually there was a discussion about whether to buy a “Princess Elizabeth” Hornby locomotive or a more modest 4-4-2. In the event, it was decided to go for the cheaper one.
On Christmas Day, the family gathered for dinner of chicken, a Capon, pork and roast potatoes with Brussels sprouts. Afterwards we all listened to the King’s broadcast on the “wireless”. At Christmas, there would be a bottle of Crabbies Ginger Wine and we would all have a small glass to celebrate the great day. It was traditional that my father should be served with the Parson’s Nose from the chicken, but what pleasure he had in eating it I did not discover until I tried it myself, many years later. My Dad would not eat the pork.
We all had a goodly portion of Christmas Pudding with some cream.”
Next Chapter: Chapter 14: Evacuation and a fruitful Summer