Amazon Kindle Store

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Killing the first fly of Spring and other uses for newspapers!

I was reading the newspaper today and out of the corner of my eye I saw the first fly of Spring. I’m not keen on flies in the kitchen and immediately I had a vivid memory of my late Dad revelling in thwacking flies and bluebottles with a rolled up newspaper  (well, attempting to anyhow) and further childhood memories of  mum drawing the coal fire with sheets of newspaper and making newspaper knots with old newspapers to start it going in the first place. This led to a rush of remembrances featuring newspapers from my childhood.

 Newspaper hats and newspaper boats to sail down streams.

We ate fish and chips out of newspapers.

There was the family routine of buying the Daily Mirror and Sporting Chronicle and News of The World and the TV Times and Radio Times. My comics, although clearly not newspapers were the Beano, Dandy, Topper and The Valiant. My step sisters liked Bunty and Jackie and anything with the Osmonds on, the Monkies or David Essex.

 A squared up newspaper would provide harsh paper squares in the toilet.

I had a newspaper round at the age of fourteen, just at the time when Sunday supplements had started. Bad timing. Bad back too.

At the age of fifteen I was told by my Dad, “Get a proper job son otherwise you’ll end up as a newspaper seller. “ In his eyes this was the lowest of the low. Don’t know why.

We’d put newspaper sheets into loose shoes to tighten them, stuff  balls of newspaper into leather shoes to preserve their shape and stuff  wedges of newspaper in wet shoes overnight to dry and deodorize.
a fire started with newspaper
The family cat would have its litter tray lined with newspaper sheets. This was usually old Sporting Chronicles. A subtle reflection on my Dad’s shitty luck with the bookie, perhaps.

Being keen gardeners my parents would also use it to wrap green tomatoes to ripen, cover plants during a frost and they’d shred up newspapers and cram the bits into vases to help support fresh flowers.

Like a lot of council houses, our house could often be a cold and drafty place so elements of newspaper were placed in closed windows to eliminate wind rattle and wodged  under doors and in cracks to stop cold wind from coming in.

As kids myself and my step sisters would make paper chains, paper dolls, paper mâché puppets, kites and  cut out articles and make a scrap book on a specific subjects of interest to us.

Many a family budgie would have its cage lined with old newspaper and many a fly would meet its end thwacked with a rolled up newspaper too.

Now where’s that fly???

 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz thwack! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Karen said...

We were too poor to afford newspapers when I was a lass. (only joking - this is just the silly sort of comment Steve & I make to each other when vying for the title of 'who had the worst childhood'). I remember my Mum putting newspaper on the floor to stop mud going into the house, & making paper toys from them - the sort where you fold up strips of paper then cut out a shape (for me usually a figure) & open it up to reveal a row of connected figures. Then there was the fun of trying to remove the ink from ones fingers.

I also had a paper round, when I was 14. I had no problem getting to the paper shop for 6am (unlike today, when I'm always fast asleep then), & loved walking round the street of Sherwood when hardly anyone was around. At first, I used to deliver papers & magazine to Nottingham Prison, which was a mixed blessing. The Prison Govenor's house has a stupid tiny letterbox, & he had the Sunday Times, plus a large dog. It took me ages to squash each supplement of the paper through the letterbox, & most Sunday's I would hear his dog grabbing each one! Delivering to the Prison was fun, as one a month there was a copy of Forum, or Playboy, which I would naturally look through, & then try to look all innocent when the Warder who finally opened the door to take the papers wanted 'my word' that I hadn't looked at the 'dirty' magazines.
A fat rolled up newspaper is still the best weapon to squish a juicy fly with.

Joy said...

We put newspapers to pretty much the same use swat flies! And we used them for paper boats, party hats, packing take-away food,packets, starting coal fires and such....universal application!

Phil Lowe said...

I think I was a bit thick as a fourteen year old. I used to try and cram the whole Sunday newspaper and the extra mags through, often tiny letterboxes, all in one go. I imagine they came through the other side shredded. There was one house where a very large dog used to wait behind the letterbox and as I pushed the paper through it would tear it from my grasp and chew it bits on the other side of the door.

Phil Lowe said...

packing away food? that's interesting Joy.