This book is about my employment as a Home-help during the 70's. I was born in Ghana and came to England, as a young adult. I didn't have any ideas about what work I should do and never imagined that I would become a Home-help at the grand old age of 19 years! However, this was what I became and found this was not only a new experience, but also a very valuable one.
I was not given any training and started this job with a 'fresh innocence', but became very knowledgeable soon afterwards. I would have to make three visits in one day; most people were either elderly or disabled.
Caring for people then was very different to 'caring' today. My daily routine would consist of making coal fires, cleaning the grates, shopping and collecting pensions. Making a coal fire was an art in itself! I would collect coal from the coal bunker (a sort of brick building at the back of the house.)
Not everyone had fridges, hoovers, carpets and telephones, so caring was hard and time consuming. I scrubbed many floors and door steps, cleaned many grates and swept ashes by hand of course! Rugs had to be beaten outside, windows were cleaned with newspaper and vinegar and nets would be washed with 'net glow' (a small blue bag) to whiten them.
I observed the people and learned to appreciate them and their ways. I shared humour, pain and joy and learnt from their lives. Everyone I encountered had valuable qualities, which made an impression on my everyday life. I was employed as a Home-help for sixteen years.
I have recalled these memories and hope readers will share the humour and envisage the characters in my book. I have loved making the book which contains similar illustrations of the 70's.
Published: 6th February 2014