I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
I personally find it hard to find a lot of enthusiasm for the New Year Celebrations. Why this is I know not. Growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s it was just another evening before a working day. January 1st only became a Bank Holiday in 1974. My Mum was quite superstitious and had a ritual she did each year. Dad would be in bed as he had to be up early for work next day. Mum and I would be sitting ready waiting for the clock to go round to midnight. Wearing our nighties and M & S quilted housecoats we would creep quietly into the kitchen and unlock the back door. At midnight Mum would step outside carrying a piece of coal and a tiny glass of sherry. When she came back the glass would be empty, the coal would go back into its tin and we would lock up and go to bed.
The coal was a special piece kept in a biscuit tin. Part of the last load my Great Grand Father William Berrington brought out of the pit before he was crushed to death. I still have the tin, though the coal is gradually turning into dust, but I don’t bother with this rtual. Quite why Mum thought it was lucky to involve this coal is a mystery. I would have thought it was unlucky?
New years Day Mum and I would set off for the local Post Office. There I would have to deposit part of my Christmas money. Another walk to the Yorkshire Penny Bank where I would have to deposit another small amount. Mum did some transactions too but these were kept secret from me. The purpose of this was that if we paid money into our accounts on the 1st Jan we would be paying in all year.
When this was done we caught a bus into Leeds and looked at the sales. I say looked as the stuff always looked pawed over and shop soiled. I do remember buying sales items at Schofields, Lewis’s and Littlewoods. The Lotus shop on Bond Street was a favourite with Mum ( she took a size 4 1/2 and they always put 4 1/2 ‘s in the window displays, so lots in the sale!)
Bond Street, Leeds 1960’s, looking towards Park Row. The TSB Bank is on the right and Lotus was on the left towards the cameraman.
Mums other superstitions were, no rubbish was taken out to the bin on Jan 1st, no clothes were washed and you should just do the things you would like to do all year. Poor Dad was sweating over a heavy steel press at Taylor Rustless Fittings, he had no choice in how he spent his day.
My New Years Day is going to be spent just enjoying being me. My young man has just asked for a cuddle so I have to go now ( pity he has four legs and a fur coat!)