Tuesday, 21 December 2021


It was a bit chilly this afternoon, but I went for a walk anyway. The tracks along the field edges were extra muddy. I don't bother washing my trousers from one walk to the next. No point when I am going to walk through mud again. 
I came across a coalman doing his heave ho, getting a sack of coal on his back. He said it's ok to take a photo. He said he has been asked before, people seem to like taking photo's of him doing his job. I suppose that's because there aren't many of them about now. 
Three sacks to deliver to this customer. Good job he is a big lad. Can't see a six stone weakling doing this job. 

There was a woman with him, she was talking to the customer. He handed over the money and she made a note in her book. When they came out I asked her if the lad was her son. She laughed and said no. She said she was the driver. She said she is 75 and had to come out of retirement because they are short of drivers. She used to have an HGV licence but gave it up a long time ago when she had kids. If you know anybody who wants a job tell them to phone the number on the truck. 

This reminded me of a story, something that happened a long time ago. We used to have coal deliveries when we lived in a council house. We had a small brick built room just outside the back door. A bit like a shed. The bags would be emptied on the concrete floor. 

I must have been about eight or nine at the time. We were having Sunday dinner sat round the table. I must have said something to upset mum, can't remember what it was about. Perhaps I was cheeky. The next thing I was being dragged into the coal house, and my dinner was thrown in after me. Maybe I was complaining about the food. The door was shut and I sat crying in the dark. I think she let me out when they had all finished their dinners. I didn't get anything. 

That memory has stayed with me and seeing the coalman today brought it all back. I can laugh about it now, but it wasn't funny at the time. Don't think mum was a bully, she wasn't. She just brought us up to behave properly and watch our manners. 

That's all for now. I'm waiting for a video to upload then I am going to bed. 

Toodle pip.   ilona



  1. oh Ilona , you don't half make me laugh sometimes.If I was naughty my dad used to threaten to take me to the home on the main road. It was a while before I found out it was only for boys.

  2. It's 3.0'clock in the morning and I can't sleep and reading about the coal man, I can remember him put the empty bags in a pile just in case the customer Wanted to check the numbers of the bags. Funny things you remember 70years ago.
    Hazel 🌈🌈

  3. The coalman used to deliver to us when I was a kid. Every spring when the deliveries stopped Mum would whitewash the coal hole. I didn't see the point when it would get dirty in the autumn. At least she didn't shut me in it, that was horrible for you.

    Amanda, Sussex

  4. i remember Capps wernt they down the bottom of Ashby high street ? we used to go with my dad to pick up a sack and you paid their very scary elderly mother in the shed for it

  5. This bought back a few memories, we used to have a coal man years ago when we had open fires. Haven't seen on in years.

  6. Yes, we had a coalman and a wood man who delivered logs for the fire. The dustmen were called ash men then as they also took ashes from coal fires, but my Dad spread them on the garden . The bins were metal and the men wore pads on their backs to cushion the bins as they took them out to the cart on their backs and then brought them back to our yard. Dad used to give them a card and a small card too at Christmas time.

  7. My mum was the same. I had to eat all the food put in front of me before I could leave the table. I remember steamed fish, boiled potatoes and awful tinned marrowfat peas in green juice. I can't eat these even today. She told me about rationing and that I had to be grateful for every mouthful. I expect it would be called cruelty today but it taught you respect!

  8. Wowww ilona yoΓΉ don't see them today there's still somebody on your row burning coal.. coal is king kept British people going didn't it years ago.. your mum probably felt bad later on but they we're from a different era where kid's we're seen and not heard ! Lot's of LOve to you ilona you are a inspiration to us ❤ yes there's a shortage of lorry driver's

    merry Christmas πŸŽ…πŸŽπŸŽ…πŸŽπŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸŽ„πŸŽπŸŽπŸŽπŸŽ…πŸŽ„πŸŽ
    Levi XX

  9. Living in West Virginia in the US coal has been our money. Both our grandfathers and dads were coal miners. Tough jobs they had in mining coal. Both grandmothers had coal houses. You will no warmer heat than coal. We also used wood as well, but the coal always kept the house nice and warm through the night hours. This also kept winter power bills low. Growing up in a very rural area it seemed spring was the time to plant the garden, summer was harvest and canning the crops for winter months, end of summer and fall were the time to get the wood delivered and stacked and coal delivered. All spring and summer were spent preparing for winter. It was hard work and we kids had our parts to do too. That gentleman does not have an easy job that’s for sure. Hoping his back can hold out.

  10. I can remember our coal house in the terraced house where I grew up and the coal man bringing the coal down the entry.Memories of happy days,when we didnt have a lot but every thing was looked after.My Dad used to light the fire and hold newspaper around the grate to get it going when me and my sister were getting up.My Dad used to paint it inside too.I was always scared to go in though in case there was any spiders lurking about!.I didnt know what central heating was until I was about 24.xx

  11. We still have a coalman. It's all smokeless coal now of course. They have to be strong. They must inhale a fair bit of coal dust, though. When I was young on a council estate they used to have a book. If you couldn't pay or pay the full amount, they "put it in the book" and you could pay them off weekly. It meant that people didn't go without heat and hot water in winter. Sometimes neighbours would borrow a bucket of coal and pay it back when the coalman came.I'd forgotten all of that until you wrote about it Ilona. That would have been the late fifties, early sixties.

  12. What a memory the coal man prompted in you. I imagine not many homes use coal for heating these days.