#SoCS Looking at Scents

The prompt for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is “cent/scent/sent.” Use them in any form you like. Use one, use two or use them all. Bonus points if you use all three, and Cheryl will put your next drink on David’s tab.  (I could never resist a free drink Linda!) 

I have a fantastic sense of smell. My children often tease me about it because I smell things that no one else can smell. “You and your nose Mammy.” Scent is important. Sometimes it evokes a memory; it can give us happy feelings or sad feelings.

I have photos in my camera roll that make me feel warm, hungry, refreshed, excited and sometimes nostalgic. It’s not just the image that conjures up feelings, it’s also the smell associated with the image.

Here’s my favourites.

The refreshing scent of the sea and freshly washed up seaweed.

Frothy Nespresso.

Black Magic Chocolates.


Coconut Oil

Freshly Cut Grass

1 cent, 2 cent and 5 cent coins. (For when we play cards at Christmas) Copper coins remind me of childhood days!

Aw the lovely smell of Cotton after she’s had a bath.

My son sent me this photo. This little munchkin will be joining the family this Christmas. I can’t wait to hold him/her and inhale the most gorgeous scent of a new born baby. This is my favourite smell in the whole world!

‘Don’t Tell Your Mother’. #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 87 #100DaysOfOldDays

For today’s post I decided to do a bit of research in order to determine what style of parenting I was raised with.

Bear with me…this is not a boring lesson on parenting psychology. Sure who am I to lecture on parenting styles?

In the 1960’s, phychologist Diana Baumrind worked on developing ‘parenting styles theory’. She categorised them into four styles; authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and neglectful. The model was later redefined by Maccoby and Martin in 1983.

After inspecting each model, I’ve put my parents into a category!

Here’s what each one means (Just in case you’re not in the know).

Authoritarian; strict rules, harsh punishment if rules are not followed, little or no reasoning for the rules and punishments, high expectations, unsympathetic, unaccepting, cold, demand respect.

Authoritative; warm and nurturing, reason instead of demanding, encourage independence, consistent with enforcing boundaries, earn their child’s respect rather than demand it, encourage independence, teach about values and moral behaviour.

Permissive; set very few rules and are reluctant to enforce these rules, few boundaries.

Neglectful; they don’t set firm boundaries or high standards for their children, uninvolved in their childrens’ lives.

Going by this model I can safely say that my mother was an authoritative parent.

My father falls into a completely different parenting style category. One that’s called, ‘Don’t Tell Your Mother.’

I’ll explain…

While Mam was the rule maker, Dad was the rule breaker. We only broke the rules when Daddy Dearest encouraged us to.

When Mam would be getting ready for bingo he’d say to her, ‘Now Mam, get these to bed before you go because they won’t go for me.’

She’d have the supper in us, the jammies on and we’d be all tucked up in bed as she was leaving. She’d walk across the terrace to get the bingo bus to either Kells, Tullyvin, Shercock, or Kingscourt. Different towns on different nights.

As soon as she was out of sight, Dad would come up the stairs, ‘She’s gone,’ he’d cheer. We’d get up and the fun would begin. On the bright summer evenings he’d let us get dressed and go outside to play. ‘Don’t tell your mother,’ he’d warn.

On dark or wet evenings he’d let us watch telly, or play games. He’d sprinkle sugar on the floor (we had linoleum) so we could slide up and down in our socks. He’d give us weetabix spread with Golden Syrup or butter and sugar. He’d be a donkey and let us ride on his back. He’d play hide and seek with us…letting us hide in Mam’s wardrobe where we were totally banned from.

He’d always have us back in bed before Mam would get home from bingo. ‘Now, make sure you don’t tell your mother,’ he’d remind us.

One night she missed the bus and came home to find us all outside playing. He was in the doghouse for a week after that.

Sometimes he’d take us to work with him instead of school, especially if the weather was good. ‘Don’t tell your mother.’ Of course we didn’t tell!

He’d give us money for Mrs Fulton’s shop. ‘Don’t tell your mother, or she mightn’t buy sweets for yas tomorrow.’

When we’d get into trouble with Mam, he’d comfort us. If she said no, he’d say ‘Go on, but don’t tell your mother.’

We’ve always laughed and joked about his style of parenting down through the years. Mam knew rightly what he got up to behind her back. Their opposed views on child raring didn’t cause any issues. They had a high regard for each other and worked it all out between them. Their zest for a fun-filled family life made everything okay!

Having said all that, Dad had limits too. He didn’t let us away with bad manners. We had tremendous respect for him and we knew the boundaries. He didn’t demand anything from us or lecture us…we just knew not to cross the line. I think my parents had the balance right!

Sweet Shops #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 60 #100DaysOfOldDays

Mrs Fulton’s and Francie McDonald’s; the two shops in Bailieborough that bring back fond memories for many grown-ups from that era.

I bet every town has a sweet shop they remember with fondness.  

Mrs Fulton had her little shop about a five minute walk from town close to a couple of housing estates; Lake View and Drumbannon. We had to pass the shop on our way home from school. We didn’t have money to spend every day buy when we did it was a treat. It may have been 2p—or 5p if we were lucky. 10p was a very good day and it was likely given to you secretly by your Granny. In my case it was Uncle Johnny who sneaked the money into our hands when Auntie Ellen wasn’t watching. But I think she knew.

We could but a bag of ha’penny sweets with 5p. Or an ice-lolly with a bag of crisps. I remember buying crisps for 2p. We bought Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Golfball chewing gums; two for a penny. Candy lipstick and whistles, penny bars, cola bottles, jelly babies, gobstoppers, milk teeth (my favourite).

Ice-cream cones weren’t affordable for a mother with five or six children (or more), but in Mrs Fulton’s you could buy a slice of ice-cream between two wafers. She’d cut it to whatever size the child could afford.

She was very kind and had great patience for us all down through the years. She knew every child’s name too. If a child among a group was the only one with no money, she’d give him something.

Francie McDonald was the very same with the troves of children that went into his shop. Francie had a glass-top counter where we could see the boxes of sweets on display. Even though he was almost completely blind, he knew exactly where every sweet was in the shop. The shelves behind him were stacked with jars and boxes of sweets too. It didn’t matter how long it took for you to decide what to buy with your 5p, he waited. “One cola bottle…one chewing gum…no two chewing gums…no just one…and a penny bar…annnnd…annnnd…another chewing gum.”

He never complained and never uttered a cross word to any child. Often he’d have to gather a pile of ha’pennies from his glass counter where a small child would reach up and drop their money on the counter.

Francie had every sweet that existed! Wonderful memories of him and Mrs Fulton!

🍬 🍬 🍬 🍬

Thank you Lucy for your drawing of Francie’s sweet shop.

Two Weeks in Bettystown #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 35 #100DaysOfOldDays

For quite a few years in a row, we went to Bettystown (Co Meath) for two weeks on our summer holidays; the last week in August and the first week in September. We were always a week late going back to school. It was about an hour’s drive from our home but it felt like a hundred miles away.

There were five of us, and the dog, all packed into a small car—we owned minis too—four in the back and the youngest in the front on Mam’s knee. Completely acceptable in the 60’s & 70’s.

On the roof of our little car we had a roof rack, and tied to the roof rack was a big trunk packed to the brim with all our stuff. I swear, that big trunk was like Mary Poppins’ bag. It held all our clothes (seven people), buckets and spades, rubber rings, balls, shoes, food, tennis rackets, and wellies & raincoats — because we live in Ireland.

The little thatched holiday house we used to stay in didn’t supply bed linen. Mam had all our sheets and blankets folded neatly on the back seat. We had to sit on them; our heads touching the roof of the car.

We didn’t have seatbelts, or air conditioning. When we got thirsty, my dad didn’t stop at the next petrol station to buy us all a coke. No such thing! Mam would take out the big bottle of Mace red lemonade. And a straw.

Thinking back now…I think she was a contortionist. She was able to reach each of us in the back from the front seat, the child on her knee (or maybe he had slithered to the floor, I can’t remember) with the bottle of lemonade in her hand, a finger and thumb holding the straw. She’d put it into the first child’s mouth. We had to be really quick and suck fast on the straw to get as much in as possible because after about three seconds, Mam would squeeze it and move on to the next child.

There was no point in whinging for more because she’d say, ‘Swallow your spit if you’re still thirsty.’ But she was great!

For weeks before the holiday, Mam would’ve been saving up some non-perishable foods like; tins of Ambrosia rice, jelly, biscuits, soup, cereals, beans, diluting orange. She was a planner and always organised.

Our beach picnics are stamped in my memory and there to stay. We had sandwiches—usually egg and onion—creamed rice, melon, Kimberley biscuits, and wee bowls of jelly. And as much diluted orange as we needed. We never had to swallow our spit at the beach!

Dad spent hours in the sea with us, and building sandcastles. He was very competitive with the sandcastles. They had to be the biggest and the best. And they were!

Some days we’d drive as far as Laytown just to see the trains. That was exciting for us. Laytown also had a little playground, which we loved. A trip to Laytown was a very enjoyable day out. Sometimes we were lucky enough to get ice-cream too.

Laytown was great for shells. This is where Mam gathered most of the shells she used for decorating her lamps and other things in the house. You can read about that HERE.

Those holidays were fantastic. We were so lucky!

My Shoes #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 3 #100DaysOfOldDays

It doesn’t always take a photo to remind me of the past. Certain images pop into my head at the slightest prompt. I’m sure everyone is the same.

I remember a lot of shoes I had. As clear as if I wore them yesterday.

The oldest shoe memory I have is of my little white leather T-bar shoes. And the whitener my mam used to put on them. I would have been just a toddler, but I remember them so well. They’ve never gone out of fashion. It’s not that long ago since I bought a pair for Little Miss Ten, and recently I saw a little girl wearing a pink pair. So cute!

Toddler T-bar Shoes by Lucy McBreen

My first communion shoes were also T-bar; black patent. That was in 1974. I wasn’t too happy with them because all the other girls wore white shoes.

The day my mam bought me my first pair of clunky clogs was the same day I got my first gypsy skirt. My clogs were brown and my skirt was red with flowers dotted all over it. Well, I thought I was the bees knees clunking around in my lovely new clogs. Definitely my favourite shoe memory!

I desperately wanted a pair of Scholls after that but Mam said I’d likely break my neck in them, so I gave up asking.

In the early 80’s I had a pair of moccasins. They were light brown. I don’t remember loving them…I only had them because they were in fashion.

Then I wore loafers. They were square and heavy; like what the boys wore. They weren’t noisy enough for the extrovert 14-year-old me, because I had metals tips/taps fitted to the soles of them. My parents had no problem with this because the tips saved the soles. Less frequent trips to the cobbler.

As I got older I got more daring. Stilettos! I had red ones, blue ones, white ones, black ones, pink ones. I even remember dying white shoes because I couldn’t always afford a new pair.

My favourite shoes from the 90’s are my red platforms. I bought them to wear to my friend Roisin’s wedding. Not with the black tights I have to add. I took this photo recently when I came across the shoes during a clear out!

What your favourite shoe memory? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading and for following our #100DaysOfOldDays.