By the 1960’s everything was changing and yet I chose a profession which struggled to adapt to a more liberated work force. Sometimes the clash between old and new was more than funny… it was hilarious.
“A great read it brought back a load of memories. If you were around and working in these times, this book is a must” LG
“As someone who did similar training a few years later it brought a lot of memories back to me. I could almost picture the day to day life of the author. A great read.” MS
Excerpt from Bath Times and Nursery Rhymes
One thing always puzzled me. When I had gone to the Council offices for my interview for the job, like all those before and after me, I’d met the nursery supervisor for the council, Miss Fox-Talbot. She was a formidable woman famed for her fabulous hats and her racy mini. She told my mother and me that my uniform would be ‘an attractive pink
gingham dress’. It turned out to be a shapeless, round necked garment with a matching covered belt and a peter-pan collar. It had three rubber buttons down the front, so that they could be boiled, and apparently size 20 fitted everybody. The skirt was just below the knee and considering that the rest of the world was waking up to the sack dress and later on, the mini skirt, we all hated it. Most girls hoiked up the skirt, and took in the sides in an effort to look a little more 20th century than 18th century.
The thing that puzzled me was this. In the letter Miss Fox-Talbot had sent me was a list of things I’d need to take with me to the nursery. At the bottom of the page, alongside a toothbrush and comb it said two pairs of garden knickers. My mother and I scratched our heads. What on earth were garden knickers?
I was all for leaving it, but much to my acute embarrassment, Mum dragged me around all the major stores in Bournemouth but in every single department we were met by blank stares. Mum even insisted we go to a corset department where some old fossil who had probably been working in the shop since the age of the dinosaurs, suggested they might be powder blue silk drawers with an elasticated waist and long legs which stretched as far as the knee. As soon as I saw them, I recognised them as the type of garment my old granny used to wear. I rarely, if ever, defied my mother but I put my foot down right there and then.
‘There is no way I’m going to wear them!’ I said in front of the shocked assistant. ‘I’ll work in the garden with no knickers at all if necessary, but I won’t wear them!’
I worked for the Council for four years. Nursery Assistants like me came and went. We discussed the subject of garden knickers ad infinitum but I don’t think any one of us ever discovered what they looked like and although I never carried out my threat to go bare bottom in the garden, I certainly never had a pair of my granny’s silk drawers.