Daily Prompt: The fifty bob tailors

Grandmother's sewing machine

One of the jobs my dad had, some time in the 1930’s, was for the fifty bob tailor. I am sure the title is a mystery. It was a shop selling men’s clothing and the attraction was that they couldbuy a suit for only fifty bob which was quite cheap at the time. A bob is a slang word for a shilling which was the currency of England before everything became decimalised and the shlling was abolished, replaced by pence which has absolutely nothing to do with the politician in America, it is just a name.

So dad had a job, He was not a tailor, but a salesman, although when you work in a shop for a few years selling suits and measuring people up for suits you get the hang of it. My dad was always full of stories about his youth and so I grew up knowing what the fifty bob tailor was. He told me that even Joachim von Ribbentrop was a cusutomer, who was the German ambassador in england before the war. I never checked that story, but dad confirmed that it was not fake news. He, of course, bought his fifty  bob suits in one of the West end branches of the shop.

When dad had to buy clothes it was an operation. He would examine every seam, every buttonhole and tell me all the technical descriptions of the suit. It might be double or single breasted, and you got all the information about how the collars were measure out.  I wondered how the shop assistants had the patience with him and dad was only a salesman. Of course he knew the tailors in the shop where he worked and learned the facts of tailoring from them.

I grew up in the East End of London and the area around Whitechapel was mainly jewish. They were the owners of the tailoring workshops. It was called the rag trade, but at the beginning of the 20th centuary many people were employed in their tailoring businesses, machinists mostly – the backbone of the the working class employment industry at that time.

My mum was  a Hoffman presser, learning how to operate the compicated clothes press for the clothes you bought in the shops. My Aunt Lil was a dressmaker. She never bought a dress, skirt or coat, she made her own. She would even make clothes for me when mum asked her, although I was not too keen on that operation. Of course she made great clothes from the material mum bought, but I had to try them on for a perfect fit when she made them. As a kid I did not really have the patience waiting for her to stick the pins in everywhere to get the fit.

I made my own clothes for many years due to the fact that my figure was not tailor perfect. Today I do not bother and my sewing machine lives in the cellar. Now and again I might use it for a small repair job, but otherwise I do not bother.

Daily Prompt: The fifty bob tailors

Good Morning

Swans 13.07 (11)

The problem with MS is that you have good days and not so good days and sometimes completely negative days. Yesterday was a relatively good day and so I decided to let myself out in the evening for a walk whilst Mr. Swiss indulged in the news on the TV. I decided to go down to the river and this time with the 300 zoom lens on the camera, as the swimming bird life always seem to park on the other side of the river at a distancde. I also wanted to walk  further, which would be OK, as I could cut into the road and take the train home. However, the best laid plans of mice and men etc. etc. – will come to that later.

So I arrived at the river and the futher I walked I realised it was international swan day. There must have been at least 20 swans floating around. I discovered a bench and shot a few photos of them. I had to tell myself to stop otherwise I would have still been taking the photos. As I walked on I reached the part where one of our small streams cuts into the Aar and I realised that when swans sleep, they sleep on the river. I had never really thought about it. This was where I wish I had my “normal” lens as I could have got more into the picture.

Swans 13.07 (1)

This was just two of the sleeping swans, but there were at least three others: all floating on the water with their heads tuckd into their bodies. I had never seen this before. I usually return home at this point and if I am feeling OK, might walk up to the road and make the return journey along the road, or the same way back along the river bank. I was feeling good, and decided to do what I intended to do and walk on to the next bridge. On the way I saw two strange birds on the river bank. I thought they might be something completely different.

Pigeon 13.07 (4)

When I uploaded the photo onto my computer after reaching home, I realised it was just a pigeon. However, it was a special pigeon for me as it was twice as large as the usual pigeon and had an interesting beak.

Now I was gradually reaching my walking limits and knew it was time to go home. Before leaving home I told Mr. Swiss my intentions, but said I would take one of our train tickets with me to use on the way home. Our local trains have a half hour rhythm, except for Sunday, so I was convinced this would be no problem. I turned away from the river and walked along the street to the main road which I could see quite easily. Of course I discovered a few interesting objects to take photos of on the way. They were renovating part of our local high school and so there was scaffolding and strange architectural additions to the building.

It was now that I realised I had cut too much off the cake and my walking efforts, with the cane, were not flowing as they should, but the train station was just around the corner. It was then that the ***** train (pardon the language) arrived along the main road and as there was no-one at the station to stop it, it continued. Great, another half hour to wait for a train, so silly me decided to begin to walk home. I was already dragging my left leg, although it could still move. I arrived at the next station and sat down for five minutes: sometimes that can help. When I continued on my journey I realised that it didn’t help. Shall I wait for the next train or not. I was not even sure if the trains travelled every half hour in the evening, perhaps only once an hour. And so I continued and was so happy when I reached our estate, although I still had a short distance to go.

The last part of the journey is always the toughest and I was really getting into a small panic. What if I lose my balance and fall, what if my right leg decides to do the same as the left, although the right leg usually behaves to a certain extent. I was now gripping my cane and grabbing bushes with the other hand to steady myself. I turned the last corner and entered by my back garden. Mr. Swiss was outside on a chair and thank goodness I could hold onto him for the last few steps to a chair on the porch.

“Why didn’t you call me, you have your mobile phone” were his first words “I could have picked you up in the car, it would only have been around the corner for me”. Of course he was right, and I really do not know why I did not call him. I even thought about it, but me not wanting to become a burden, did not call him. I have now realised that MS is not just something that is not so bad. It is not a painful problem, compared to other complaints, but your endurance is not so high as it should be. I have now learned a lesson that there are limits to what I can do and I think it is the first time my thought was “f**k” MS and I usually keep my profanities to myself, but there are times…….

This morning I seem to be functioning again, so I will take yet another walk this afternoon. Mr. Swiss has to visit the doctor in town and I will go with him. He will be some time at the doctor and afterwards I will drive home with him. The mad things I do just for a couple of photos.

And now to make my way to my daily chores. This morning is week-end shopping time. As No. 1 son is still on holiday for the next week. it is just Mr. Swiss and I that have to be fed.

Enjoy the day and think twice before you go on a marathon walk.

River Aar 13.07 (1)