Enquire Within (13). In their haunts at night…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s featured fruit is the forgotten pear behind the mantelpiece clock that has gone so soft it can not be picked up.

Hm, you know, I feel like making enquiries this morning. Yes, I think that I shall Enquire Within. Where is that tatty old book? Ah, there it is, hiding under a floppy guitar case in the corner.

DSCN4009I’m showing you the title page here as the book itself looks rather uninteresting, it is just a dull red cloth-covered volume. Ah, but I do like their globe emblem with the ‘light of knowledge’ and the laurel leaves – I think they are laurel leaves – if they are I might consider resting on them later.
Yes, here we are back in the jolly old Britain of 1934, anything useful that we might need to know for the smooth running of our nice middle class lives can be found in this fine book.
Across the top of each page is printed an uplifting aphorism or a pithy word or two of life-style advice – I shall include some of these with the extracts that we shall look at today:

Page 223: (He is well paid who is well satisfied.)
Hiring and Dismissal. – A general hiring of domestic servants is construed as a hiring for a year, but the hiring may be put to an end to by either party giving the other one month’s notice, or in the case of the employer one month’s wages in lieu of notice.

Page 385: (At open doors dogs come in.)
Excellent Woollen Rugs can be made at home in the winter evenings. A special thick rug wool is worked into a strong canvas, and the only implements required are a grooved wooden gauge, a pair of scissors for cutting the wool, and a strong steel crochet needle for drawing the wool through the canvas. The materials may be had at any wool shop, with full directions for their use.

Page 107: (Eggs badly boiled are good things spoiled.)
Alum Whey. – A pint of cow’s milk boiled with two teaspoons of alum, until a curd is formed. Then strain off the liquor, and add spirit of nutmeg, two ounces; syrup of cloves, an ounce. It is useful in diabetes, and in uterine fluxes, &c.

Page 398: (A hungry man sees far.)
Electric Bells.
No house of any pretensions is now considered complete without being fitted with electric bells…
How convenient it is to have an electric bell in one’s study; one has no need to get up and interrupt one’s work. Again, how useful at the dinner table to summon a servant without leaving one’s seat. In fact, it is a most useful addition, in many ways, to the comforts of life.

Page 401: (The groat is ill saved that shames its master.)
To Kill Cockroaches. – Insect powders.
(a) Mix three parts of sodium fluoride with one part of pyrethrum powder.
(b) Mix powdered borax with some sweetening matter such as chocolate, or with pyrethrum powder.
(c) Mix one part of plaster of Paris with two parts of sugar.
Scatter any of these mixtures in their haunts at night, and sweep up and burn the dead cockroaches in the morning.

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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10 Responses to Enquire Within (13). In their haunts at night…

  1. Wow this is a fine book – although forgive me, but I have some contemporary thoughts to add. P385 – woollen rugs – how about plastic bag rugs? Woven grocery bags make fine mats for doors and the kitchen sink. Easily wiped clean. P187 – Alum Whey – did you know that carve-able stone can be made from this stuff? I have only made beads, but I daresay other things can be made. I also use vinegar. P398 – Electric bell – well, a small copper one stands upon the telephone table, the ringing can be heard throughout the abode, and is used for tea making requests! P401 – Cockroaches – Thank god I don’t have them so I have nothing to say on the matter. 😀 (Excellent post as always)

    • Sounds like an updated edition is in order

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Gosh! What a comprehensive set of comments dear Scribbler!
      I must confess that I don’t know what ‘alum’ and ‘whey’ actually are – I’m not sure that I want to know either…
      At first glance I thought that ‘Alum Whey’ might be a traditional Scottish or Welsh greeting to someone on the far side of the hill…
      I’ve always fancied having a ‘study’ with a bell in it in case I needed to ring for a servant…

      • Yes, imagine having to get up to ring for a servant. Your pear on the mantlepiece reminded me of the horrible experience of putting my hand in my school bag to be met with a wet, sticky mess. On investigation it was an overripe pear that had been viciously attacked by a hairbrush. It was a bit like those torture caskets with nails inside as the pear and hairbrush had become melded. Oh school days, happiest days of your life

      • Hmm yes, sounds a bit more Welsh if you say it heartily “alUM whey?” In the far north of Scotland (where I spent some time) they said things like “Ayum, fitlike?” (Hello, how are you?) and another was “farareyeawatae?” (where are you going?). And as for the bell, I think nowadays one might end up wearing it, rather than have it be responded to…..!

      • Dave Whatt says:

        And as we say down here, hey up lass!…
        I was once buying a sandwich in Edinburgh and the man behind the shop counter said, ‘and will you have a poke?’

      • Hahaha! yes, or “y’want a bog?” That is what Scotland has to offer, pokes or bogs. 😀

      • Dave Whatt says:

        ‘Bogs’ eh? Not bags then?
        By the way, these days I am enjoying walnuts on my breakfast cereal, with no ill effects. Thank you for the dietary advice.

      • Oh I am so glad to hear that! You are very welcome 🙂

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