A lady giving a speech.


I was born in 1936 and I lived with my family in a village near Bristol. My father was a fruit farm advisor and my mother was a housewife. But when our teacher retired from my school, my mother asked for the school books and started a small school at home. I think about nine children used to come to study with us. Mother taught us French and English, even though she was very deaf!

Because it was the war, most people didn’t use to have much food. We were lucky as we had lots of land so we used to grow our own vegetables and we had chickens, rabbits and a pig. But mother would feed us lentils every day, which I hated! I still can’t stand them now. I remember hiding lentils in my pockets – and I’d sow them in the garden. Luckily I didn’t ever wait for them to grow! I think that was the beginning of my gardening career, because after I left home that’s what I studied at college!

We didn’t have a television until I was about ten. Instead, we listened to the radio a lot after school, and we would play cards and board games, and play with friends outside. We couldn’t really afford many holidays – people didn’t in those days. There wasn’t much petrol, and it was very expensive. But when I was a bit older we had a caravan and I remember it had a tin bath that hung down under the floorboards. We used to love bath time on holidays!

Nowadays people buy so many clothes, but when I was little people used to make them all. My grandmother would cut up old clothes and make skirts and blouses from them. And she used to give us a home made jumper every year that she knitted from wool she took from old jumpers. These jumpers were lovely – bright and stripy. And when we made holes in our socks grandmother would always mend them for us.

Mmm … we didn’t have a lot in those days, but I had a very happy childhood.

In this lesson you will listen to a recording about life in the 1940s. The language focus is ‘used to’ and ‘would’ for past habits and states.


Task 1 - comprehension

Task 2 - language activity