Tid, Mid, Misera, Carling, Palm and Paste Egg Day.
The above names were often recited as the Sundays leading up to Easter Day.
Carling Sunday Carling Sunday was a tradition of the North East but seems to be now dying out. Carling Sunday was the fifth Sunday in Lent. Carlings are small brown peas and it is thought the tradition may have started when a ship carrying a cargo of peas was wrecked on the North East Coast.
There are various ways of cooking and eating them. Soaked overnight, they can be boiled alongside a ham or bacon shank and served at a meal hot or cold, with vinegar pepper and salt. Some are steeped, dried then fried in butter.
Sometimes they are soaked in beer and served with mint sauce. Children often carried a newspaper packet full, so they could eat them like sweets whilst playing in the streets. Most pubs would have a big dish on the counters full of carlings, free for their customers.
A skipping rope rhyme was,
Tid, Mid, Misera, Carling Palm and Paste Egg Day,
We shall have a weeks play,
Bonny frocks on Easter Day.
Easter Easter, apart from its religious significances, seems like starting afresh. The winter behind us and Spring with its new life of flowers etc. seems like a new beginning. Even the hens start to clock, and hatch chickens to begin a new generation and it is eggs that play a large part in Easter celebrations.
Nowadays there are chocolate and other sorts of eggs to take the place of the natural ones. Again it was the mothers who did the work. Even if a person did not have their own hens, eggs were quite cheap. It was who could have the bonniest eggs.
In those days, coloured cloth was not always dye proof, some eggs were then wrapped in the coloured materials and boiled, the dyes then transferred to the shells and making a jazzy picture. Onion peelings over the eggs made a nice shade, more so if the names were written on the eggs first with candle grease, so the name remained visible. Whinny (Gorse) flowers were another source of colouring as was tea or coffee.
The eggs were all hard boiled and distributed to all the children. The boys had a grand game called jarping, similar to 'conkers.
In those days hens were not always confined to a garden shed, but were free to wander the streets, which of course had no made up roads. Consequently they picked up much grit and so their egg shells were really hard.
Two opponents faced each other, holding their eggs ready to jarp, break the other's shell. The winner claiming the losers egg.
This was the time when new clothes were worn if there was any money to buy them, but even so old clothes could be altered and made to look different. If the weather was fine, which it often was there were picnics or visits to the seaside.
Most children attended a church or chapel Sunday school. They were encour-aged to attend by being rewarded with a summer time trip to the seaside. This was usually by train to Hart before charabancs became popular.
The Sunday school superintendents took the large washday pans, carrying them onto the beach. Helpers collected beach wood, sticks and coal and with water collected from the farm tea was boiled and served. This day maybe along with Whit and Carling Monday would be the only holiday many of them would get, so it was looked forward to very much.
Another exciting time was the Anniversary. There was much preparation for this. The children would each be given an appropriate poem to learn, then in May or June, for two Sunday mornings they would meet in the street instead of chapel, and sing hymns accompanied by the organist playing the mobile organ. In the afternoon regulars' parents and friends attended the chapel to hear the little ones say their 'piece. Some little tots were shy and burst into tears but to some it gave them confidence to confront folk and speak well.
The children wore white dresses.
Christmas was eagerly looked forward to. Preparation even began in the late summer. Everyone had their own Christmas cake recipe and it was now they started to collect the contents to make the cake. Nowadays everything is bought ready made in cartons, even to all the ingredi-ents being in one package. In those days shop assistants had to be experts in weighing and packing all groceries. Everything came loose in barrels, crates, tubs or chests. Goods were weighed on gleaming brass scales and transferred into dark paper packets with the tops neatly folded in securely, - no sellotape then. Butter from the tub was patted into 1/21b., llb. and 21b. blocks. Tea arrived loose in big square chests. Grapes were in barrels or wooden crates covered with cork dust, which was also used for stuffing toys, oranges were in barrels or wooden crates which children could convert into dolls houses. So everything was made to be useful.
The cake was not made in one day, for there was much preparation beforehand. All of the currents, raisins, and sultanas had to be examined, stalks picked off when seen and then all rubbed in a clean floured tea towel. The lemon peel had to be cut into small pieces and other ingredients prepared.
When the day of the actual baking arrived, all of the cake mixture would be in the large bread bowl and everybody had a stir and a wish. The fire was watched over to get the oven to the exact heat and then a small dollop of the mixture was put on a saucer and baked. This was called the 'trial' and was much enjoyed. Then the whole mixture was put in the tin and cooked.
The same preparation was made for the Christmas Pudding, but they were boiled either in the washpan or in the 'set pot. >>>