WASHDAY! It was an event back in our house back in the Forties and Fifties. After the washing had been done – in a largish metal boiler, as I remember – the washed items had to be rinsed and dried. And that’s when I was often invited to flex my muscles and help with operating the mangle.

I can’t quite remember when the weekly wash was done – but I seem to think that it was on a Monday. It was a busy day which, weather permitting, involved hanging out the washing onto the clothesline.

And many of you will remember – if it was pouring down with rain at the time, of having the washing hang about the kitchen, pegged out on a wooden contraption that was hoisted up, almost to the ceiling, by a pulley. Now I know this contraption has a name. But can I remember it? My mind has gone blank. Perhaps you can help me out on this one!

I believe that there used to be a mangle roller manufacturer in Workington at one time, which employed several men. But I haven’t found out the name of this firm – yet. I’ve had to add it to my TBR (To Be Researched) file.

Back in the Thirties our towns relied on local lamplighters to keep the streets lit in the hours of darkness. This involved being out in all sorts of weather. Cockermouth, Harrington and Workington had supplied their workers with appropriate clothing for cold and rainy days.

But Maryport UDC, back in 1930, had decided not to supply their four lamplighters with oilskins. They were intent on economising. But this was back in the hungry Thirties and local councillors would argue that they had other things to spend money on.

I wonder just how long it took them to supply their four lamplighters with suitable protective clothing. It’s not as if we have little rain in our part of the world and I wonder what their health record would have been at that time.

Do you suffer from rheumatism? Like a great many of us of a certain age, I do. But I have come across an old superstition that is supposed to cure this complaint. You have to carry a raw potato in one of your pockets. So the next small new potato I get hold of is going to end up in one of my jacket pockets. Here’s hoping!

Long time readers of this column will know that I am a hypochondriac. I blame one of our neighbours, back in Birkenhead, who when I was about nine years of age gifted me with a five volume Home Doctor, vintage c. 1920, a year’s supply of old nursing magazines and a few other medical pamphlets. She had been a nurse before she retired.

All very educational, if a bit dated. Many of the bandaging diagrams had the injured persons covered with so many intertwined bandages that they ended up looking a bit like ancient Egyptian mummies. The oddity in this bookish donation was a late Victorian edition of “The Manual of Practical Dissecting” – or some such title. Quite fascinating, but scarcely appropriate reading for a nine year old – even if he was a junior hypochondriac.

I never know when a New Moon is due. Just as well, because if I did I might spend a few days anticipating aches and pains in various parts of my body. It seems that one of the old superstitions about the New Moon and the Full Moon has been verified by scientists in Slovakia – it’s a time when Gout is likely to occur. At least, that’s what one of our daily papers reports.

You have probably caught up on the public outcry about local bin collections. But when have we ever been content with local rubbish disposal? Back in 1977 the inhabitants of Maryport were most certainly not happy with their new bin collection timetables.

They had been switched to a once-weekly collection – until then they had enjoyed twice-weekly collections, albeit only for a two year period. So, however reluctantly, Maryport had to fall in line.

And when did I last see a Rag & Bone Man? I can’t remember – and, apart from Steptoe & Son, younger readers might never have seen one. hey used to push their handcarts round the streets - collecting rags, bones, and metals – anything they could make some money on. I suppose that nowadays they no longer exist. Unless anyone knows any different!