Probably everyone remembers their first time. Afterwards I felt a little shameful -- loss of innocence perhaps. As previously agreed our rendezvous was the Rotherham Road bomb shelter. Did anyone ever truthfully enjoy their first experience?
My Woodbine came from a pack of five; my accomplice had liberated a single Craven A from his father's cigarette case. We tactfully ignored each other's coughing fits and concentrated on holding the cigarette in approved Bogart fashion. It was more then ten years before I smoked another.
Back home the rug production line was in full swing. This involved use of a small metal implement to feed short lengths of wool through a backing material with the aim of creating a rug. Various patterns and graphic designs were involved but my allotted responsibility was usually the background. This activity was shared by family members of all ages.
Ringlets seemed to supervise the whole project; ensuring that each family member contributed their required area of coverage, and approving the quality of finished article. Disputes among younger operatives were not unknown.
Great Aunt Alice was a very enthusiastic if undisciplined participant. Her imaginative contribution was usually reworked by others at a later stage. Even occasional visitors would be issued a tool and allocated a corner of the rug to work on whilst conversation continued.
Another fireside activity whilst listening to the wireless, was creation of woolly balls. Many of the drawers in the large sideboard were full of large woolly balls. Woollen garments that were no longer considered acceptable were unpicked, and the recovered material rolled into a ball; subsequently to be knitted into another generation of garment, perhaps mittens or a scarf. That was the theory.
Newly purchased wool was supplied in skeins. My somewhat key role was to support the skein across outstretched hands and develop a drunken swaying movement as mother rolled the wool into a ball.
Family fun for all ages. Sniff.