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Yesterday's Wisdom
The book is available from
For social and local history, the archives of the regional press provide a rich source of information, a tradition of course now being ably maintained by the Milton Keynes Citizen! As for the content of yesteryear’s news sheets, most notable is the absence of any dating ads, and ‘massage’ and escort services, and so goodness knows what a sheltered existence our forebears must have endured. Instead, the papers often carried a column or two of helpful household hints, and/or homely advice, and so - with perhaps some relevant to modern times, and some perhaps not - here are just a few;

Pictures hung by a single wire have an annoying way of getting uneven on account of the slipping of the wire on the picture hook. This can sometimes be avoided by first hanging the picture face to the wall and then turning it round. The single turn this makes in the wire near the hook prevents slipping.

A letter which has been sealed with the white of an egg cannot be opened by the steam of boiling water as the heat only adds to its firmness.

Milk jugs and basins should always be rinsed in cold water before being washed in hot. Hot water used first sets the curd, and the surface is not so easily cleaned.

Common bracken fern laid down in places frequented by cockroaches will drive them away.

Many a woman who, from one cause or another, has her husband on her hands, knows what an objectionable creature he is if he has nothing to occupy him. Anything is better than to have a man mooning about with his hands in his pockets, and a pipe in his mouth, getting in the way, growling at the domestic arrangements, or snapping at the children. Therefore, encourage your husband to have a hobby. If it can be carpentry, so much the better. You can find him plenty of employment, and keep him at it while he is at home. Even photography is to be encouraged. It may mean the use of one of your cupboards as a dark room, much slopping of water, and stains on clothes and handkerchiefs from chemicals. But it is a hobby, and should be cheerfully tolerated, for it will keep the man contented and happy.

Awesome stuff, I think you’ll agree, and in fact to while away an hour or two, many of these I’ve now compiled into a small booklet, for such pearls of wisdom should be surely preserved for the future generations. But then they’ll perhaps be too busy expressing their charms in the dating ads, which, to get a life, is perhaps something I should be doing. So here’s a possibility; ‘Apprentice geriatric - some remnants of original teeth and hair - seeks not too lively female. Bank details essential. Looks (within reason) immaterial; pensions welcome. Local history interest an advantage.’ But who will answer? Will she be the one? Shall I bathe in the warmth of her loveliness; be aroused by the brush of her lips? Naw, probably not. So I’ll just have a nice cup of tea instead, and a browse through some back copies of the Bucks Standard.