At Delapre we had a ‘Glory Hole’. It was a cold stone-floored room next to the equally cold stone- floored downstairs toilet, which we referred to as ‘Grandad’s toilet’ because Grandad only ever went up the stairs on the occasions of his rather infrequent baths.
The glory hole had a musty smell as vegetables were stored in there, often until they grew sprouts or turned to dust. I remember being sent in to fetch potatoes for dinner, digging my hand into the sack and feeling something soft and squidgy.
The shelves lining the walls bowed from the weight of the many treasures stacked up. On the top were vases, placed high due to irregular use. Then there were thermos flasks, plastic camping plates and mugs, chipped china cups and saucers, empty biscuit tins and assorted glass jars awaiting their turn to be filled with mum’s home-made preserves and placed on the lower shelf.
So within reach was plum jam, blackcurrant jam, redcurrant jelly, seville orange marmalade, chutney and piccalilli. Before the days of the freezer, tomatoes and fruit were bottled and stored in large Kilner jars.
On the floor were boxes and sacks of veggies, a rusty tin dustpan (blue) on a long wooden handle, gum boots and picnic baskets and an old china chamber pot, which, to the best of my knowledge, was never used.
The deep drawers in the kitchen were also places of discovery. Two items I remember being favoured at the time were the mincer, a heavy grey metal contraption that was screwed on to the edge of the worktop, and the remains of the Sunday roast pushed through to be turned into curry or cottage pie. The other was a cheese grater that had a little barrel which rotated when you turned the handle. Nifty little gadgets that I rather miss.