Di Rayburn – Coley

If you can imagine me standing on the old black gas stove and looking down to draw this…see below…on the right is the coal hole which dad eventually turned into a shower room. The toilet remained outside. We had to go through the door by the sink and down the back bricks to reach it.

The bane of my mother’s life, the old brick boiler is in the corner. I can still remember the smell of boiling soapy water when mum did the washing, and her ending up soaked to the skin after rinsing the washing in the shallow sink. Her hands used to be white with cold in the winter. There was no running hot water. Eventually dad put a small electric water heater over the sink so she didn’t need to put the kettle on to do the washing up and bought her an electric boiler after he connected the house to electricity. She used to stand the boiler outside on the back bricks when she used it. She never fully trusted it not to give her an electric shock. When she’d finished the washing, she would take buckets of the still hot soapy water from the boiler, add a splash of San Izal [it had a red skull and crossbones on the bottle so she used to make us stand clear while she used it] and then literally chuck a couple of bucketful’s onto the brick kitchen floor, and take the broom to it. The toilet got another couple and the last bucketful went down the outside drain. Mother always ended up soaked to the skin but satisfied because we were germ free for another week.


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