Holiday time – My Mother’s Way’s

Here in Australia it is ‘holiday’ time. Our roads are quiet from traffic. Families are at the beach, camping or overseas enjoying other cultures. Yesterday it was 40c so some of us who are not away flooded to our larger shopping centres for a cool down or to the beach, swimming pools. As children in my day, before water restrictions, we would put on our swimmers/bathers and turn the sprinkler system on in our backyard and play for ages frolicking under the cool spray.


A necessity

The limited time available for recreation in this era was spent in a variety of ways, In town, tennis parties and cricket matches were becoming popular; in the country, the family picnic or bush trip was a popular source of pleasure. Great preparations were made for these outings; the hampers packed full of delicious, home-made provisions, the billy stowed carefully into a saddlebag or cart, suitable hats and boots donned, and the horses saddled.

Some lucky folk took holidays to the seaside or other parts of the country, and a few even packed their trunks for long sea voyages to other parts of the world. Most, however, contented themselves with outings closer to home, and derived their amusement from the local show, annual church picnic and municipal get-togethers. A gret deal of entertainment was had at home. Evenings around the piano, tea parties on the verandah or picnics in the far paddock or on the riverbank were convenient and inexpensive way of entertaining friends and neighbours. Even these events required considerable preparation, as the hints here illustrate, and reliable ways of lighting the campfire and cooking the butter were always sought by wives and mothers. Mothers and grandmothers were expert in planning and preparing for these family-centred forms of relaxation. These hints reveal that no detail was over-looked, and that their economical and practical ideas contributed greatly to the enjoyment of the whole family.

Carry a square of waterproof canvas or sailcloth in the car for laundry purposes when touring in the outback. Lay the spare tyre on the ground or on a rock, spread the canvas over, press it in and fill the depression with water. Safe, clean and easier to carry than a tub, large bucket or basin, and the wheel is always with you.

When out camping, put unpeeled bananas into the coals of your fire to taste the pleasure of real, natural food.

Make oilcloth or baize slips for your cushions before going on a holiday tour. You will not have to worry about the ground being damp, and a soapy cloth keeps them looking like new.

Keep moths from your bathers during the winter by placing the perfectly dry costume in a screw-top Mason jar –                                            (How interesting…or…bizarre)

**** This is a gem…is this before or after she has cooked the dinner and washed up etc.?

If you live in a lonely, isolated place with little opportunity for social evenings, dress up for your radio entertainment at home. A quick warm to cool shower, a liberal shake of your favourite talcum powder, clean undies and a nice frock, and instead of the family drudge, a dainty leisured lady is ready to enjoy the evening’s offering of music, comedy or drams. It may startle the family at first, but it acts as an example.


Instead of carrying toilet soap when travelling, pack a tube of shaving cream. No waste, no wet cake of soap and delightfully refreshing to use…This is interesting, I hate travelling with oogy, gooey soap.


Great idea…anyone still do this?

When going away for a holiday, put a little lavender oil on a few saucers and place them in some of the rooms. This will destroy any moths in the house and the usual musty smell or ‘shut-up’ atmosphere will be absent on your return.


Keep your butter cool for a picnic in this way. Soak a brick in cold water, wrap it in a wet cloth and place it in the shade. The evaporation of the water will keep the brick cold, and the butter placed upon it will be kept as cool and firm as though it were on ice.


One for us ladies:

Just before leaving by train or car for a long journey, wipe your face with a pad of cottonwool moistened with witch hazel to which has been added a few drops of eau de Cologne. Dry with another pad of cottonwool and then use the powder puff. This avoids using hard or lime-rich water that damages our fine complexions.


Squeaky things are such an annoyance, especially on holidays:

If, while travelling or away from home, you have a squeaky handle or rusty catch on your suitcase, rub a dab of face cream onto the offending item. I oiled the hinges on a cabin door aboard the Edinburgh Castle with face cream and enjoyed the journey between England and Africa much better for doing so!


Stocking, long dresses and hats in hot weather, on holidays…groan.

In hot weather, keep a piece of blotting paper cut to the shape of insoles inside each shoe to absorb perspiration of the feet. This saves the stockings from becoming hard and difficult to wash. Renew the paper often


A brick soaked in kerosene and packed in a leak-proof container will quickly start the campfire even if the wood is not quite dry.


If anyone decides to do this hint, I want a photo.

Avoid a sun-peeled nose at the beach. Cut or tear a piece of paper – newspaper will do – into the outline of a plump fig, fold down the centre lengthwise and tuck the tapered end under the bridge of your specs or sunglasses. This cowl fits snugly and protects the nose at all angles.

Happy holidays for those having a break and for those that are not I suggest you take the advice of this book and have a quick warm to cool shower, a liberal shake of your favourite talcum powder, clean undies and a nice frock/suit and be ready some home entertainment.

Hope you have enjoyed these snippets in holiday season. I cherish each and every one of them but at the same time I can’t help a giggle. If anyone would like to share their own stories of family holidays it would be great to hear them.

Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you…Thinking of you this holiday season!
— T.A. Barron