Over the years I have learnt that there are some things you will use over and over again! Many of them are just every day objects but these items are a “must-have” in my household!Yellow block soap:

This was ‘Velvet’ or ‘Preservene’ in my childhood and my mother always scrubbed the collars and cuffs of shirts and school clothes before putting them into the copper to boil up.  It was grated to put into a wire cage box with a handle and we would agitate it in the water to use before liquid detergents were made.  My granddad used it as a base for garden sprays as it, grated, dissolved and added to water, sticks to leaves and prevents caterpillar attack.

Linen or Swiss cotton handkerchiefs:

Some of these I have had since 1964.  They have saved many, many trees in their lives!  They are generally dropped into a bucket of mild bleach solution (not strong enough to bleach but just kill bacteria) and then washed as normal with other washing and hung in the sun to dry.  Not grotty at all.  Handy when you have a cold as you can put Rawleigh’s Ready Relief on them and have a portable aroma therapy tool!  Today’s kids think it is disgusting to have handkerchiefs but I disagree.  Tissues are abrasive to noses.

Fabric serviettes:

Again, most are very old.  I rarely, if ever, use paper at mealtimes.  My grandmother would be scandalized by anything as ill-bred!!  Same treatment as hankies.  And as they wear out, they are demoted to wipe down benches and as paper towel substitutes.

Set of Derwent pencils:

I have had these for more than thirty years and when kids come to visit, they play with them too. I replace the popular colours as the pencils are worn out.  They contain no PVC or lead or other harmful chemicals, never leak and are beautiful to use.  The pencil shavings go on the garden or compost.  I augmented the set with a silver and a gold pencil which is handy.  When I watch TV, sometimes I colour in an anatomy colouring book or other ‘educational’ revision type book (well, the Pope John Paul and Carmen Miranda dress up books probably don’t count!!!) and it is relaxing and teaches you things along the way.

Scrap wool blanket

My Nan made the squares, my mother crocheted it together.  Substitutes for heating.  Is emotionally satisfying and better than comfort food if I am feeling low!


This is tap water.  We used to drink this in the 1950s.  It was free.  And there wasn’t a plastic bottle to throw away after.  Enough said.

A watch that requires winding:
No battery in this little beauty!

Get up and walk!  10,000 paces a day are what are required to stop obesity.  You can do 20,000 and lose weight and gain fitness easily.  Dump the cholesterol and diabetes medication! ‘Walking’ is what we did in the olden days to get from point A to point B!  It doesn’t cost a cent (unless you are wearing Jimmy Choos or Louboutins at the time).

It seems that these are considered old-fashioned and a waste of time in Australia just now.  If families are disintegrating, it’s my bet that the members do not treat each other with respect, and amplify this principle to that wider family, the community, you can see how lack of consideration can cause problems.  Start with ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’.  Treat service providers  with respect.  Get rid of the Princess and Little Prince factors in child raising.  See how we can renovate society!

OK, so that’s my two-cents’ worth.  Or should that be ‘tuppence ha’penny’ worth?

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