Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It doesn't matter, it'll do

When I was young, our house should have had a plaque over the door, with the words, 'It'll Do' engraved on it, because that was mum's favourite saying. She was very good at self sufficiency and make do and mend, and if things didn't turn out right she would say, it'll do. The thing is when you are a child everything has to be just right and little imperfections could turn out to be very embarrassing if your friends happened to be around and spot the mistakes.

I remember my first day at Secondary Modern School, I wanted so much to fit in and be accepted by my new class mates. Mum had to save up for the school uniform for weeks before the start date, but she was a pound or two short so she couldn't get me a white shirt. She said you will have to wear your white blouse with the red spots, I was mortified and cried because I would stand out like a sore thumb. Mum said, it'll do. She gave me a note to pass to the teacher explaining that she would be able to get the shirt for the next week. Of course everything was fine. Now when I get dressed to go out I pick something out of my wardrobe full of second hand clothes and say, it'll do.

My mum used to cut my hair when I was little. A few snips here a few snips there, then she would push me out of the chair saying it'll do, to make way for my sister. When we were out on a day trip somewhere, which wasn't very often, she would spit on her hanky and rub the muck off my face, and say, it'll do.

My mum was very resourcefull with what little money she had. The kitchen needed some kind of decoration, it was a new council house and none of the rooms were decorated. She wanted to cover the walls with something hard wearing that would last years and could be wiped down. Normal wall tiles were out of the question, but she found a shop selling off odd vinyl floor tiles cheap. She had to go back over several weeks buying a few at a time when she could afford it, none of them matched. When it was finished she stood back and looked at her handiwork. It'll do, she said.

Mum never expected too much, she knew what she could afford and never went over her budget. She came over here to start a new life, from Hamburg after the war, which was pretty much bombed flat. Her own house was destroyed so she had nothing.

Now that I have gone way past the, 'worried about what other people think of me' stage, I find myself using the same two words, 'it'll do', along with the saying I spoke of yesterday, 'it doesn't matter'.

All my curtains are what were left in the house and what people have given me. They don't match the walls but they'll do, it doesn't matter. I could do with some tiles putting on the roof, but it doesn't matter, the house is still standing and the roof doesn't leak. My cooking is not adventurous, but it'll do, I'm still alive ha ha. The elastic in a pair of jog bottoms has stretched and the waist doesn't fit properly, but a safety pin to hold them up works ok, it'll do. I can't get my oven to work, but it doesn't matter because I don't need to use it anyway. The microwave works so it'll do.

I have never wanted to spend lots of money buying nice things, never wanted a flash car, and never wanted to live in a show house. As long as my possessions are functional, a table, a chair, a cupboard, it doesn't matter where they came from. Most of my furniture was given to me or I bought second hand. I have never gone into a furniture shop and chosen something new for myself, with one exception, my bed. I don't have much but it doesn't matter, it'll do.


  1. This post made me laugh. When hubby and I do anything we look at each other; one will say "that'll do' the other says "you know why?", the other replies "because it will have too".
    Jane x

  2. What an amazing woman your mother sounds.

    Sft x

  3. I think many women of your mother's generation had similar ideas. They had experienced real shortages with no government help. Some rebelled against it as they became a little more affluent but many retained (and still do) their frugality, old habits die hard.

  4. You are one of the few frugalistas who really get. The last few decades have been ones of greed and irresponsibility and I think some have not learned their lesson yet. People wander round boot fairs every weekend feeling deprived and looking for more junk to lug home are just supporting their habit.

  5. I love your attitude....you really are your Mothers' daughter.

    Sue xx

  6. Good thinking ,our whole house is held together on that principal LOL.
    I have a pair of jogging bottoms with saggy elastic too and pulled the elastic out of the casing a few inches and tied a knot in it . I don't actually use them for jogging, they are makeshift pyjama bottoms now.

  7. Same style a me, nothing has to be perfect as long as it works.


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