Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to pull away the bubble wrap and quickly pop one or two of the bubbles just for the fun of it; slit the brown tape along the central join and allow the two cardboard flaps to spring open; stroke the exposed polished mahogany top with the palm of your hand and admire its smoothness; pull out plugs marked: ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘D’ and ‘F’ – on no account touch plug ‘E’; attach the mains lead (cord US), plug in and switch on. Remove your socks and shoes and slip your toes into the wide slot in the bottom and press the large red button in the middle of the control panel.
So, what was it like back in Britain in 1934? One could study the economic and political history, or look at clips of film, or read the diaries of famous people from the period I suppose. But what what did everyday middle class people get up to in the privacy of their homes?
Well dear reader, how about thumbing through that minefield of information The Daily Express Enquire Within? It’s another one of my scruffy old cheap junk shop books. Look, here’s a picture of the title page with a very nice globe emblem on it:
Let’s dive in at random. I will include with today’s selection the pithy words of wisdom printed across the head of each page.
Page 472. (He that is down, need fear no fall…) [cont.]
Be careful to write out the whole telegram very legibly, both the message and address. In order to economise space do not cut down on the address until it is of no use at the other end. The officials spare no pains in trying to find an insufficient address, but they are not bound to do this…
Page 473. [cont.]: (He that is low, no pride.)
Feeding of Fowls.
The feeding will vary according as the fowls are meant for laying or to be fattened. For laying the food should be given rather warm, and non-farinaceous; for fattening farinaceous grain and paste should be given.
Page 219. (To-morrow sinks into the silent tomb.)
Arrest of the Debtor – may be ordered by the Court if, after a bankruptcy notice or petition, there is probable reason to believe that he has absconded or is about to abscond, or to remove, conceal, or destroy any of his goods, books, &c., or if, after receiving an order, he removes any goods above the value of £5, or if, without good cause shown, he fails to attend any examination order by the Court.
Page 81. (To be prudent is the best revenue.)
Take of flour half a pound; butter, four ounces; sugar, four ounces; two eggs; carbonate of ammonia, one teaspoonful; white wine, enough to mix to a proper consistence. Cut out with a glass.
Page 29. (Study not to beautify thy face, but thy mind.)
When removed from wet pickle, wash well, put into pan with cold water, bring to boil, and skim. Allow to simmer slowly for three hours according to size. Remove the skin and extra fat at root of tongue; set up in skewers, glaze, and garnish with tomatoes, beetroot, or lettuce. The tongue may be decorated with scrolls of butter on top.
Page 357. (There is no grief like the grief which does not speak.)
Hints on Conduct and Manners.
Be sociable. – Avoid reserve in society. Remember that the social elements, like the air we breathe, are purified by motion. Thought illuminates thought, and smiles win smiles.