Jane This was a struggle; my OCR isn't the best; needed lots of editing, but it's good practice for when I have a go at that other article you recommended.
From The Oldie, Jan.20 Quote;
The northern housewives of my childhood
were a formidable lot. Many were cardigan-
- the figures portrayed so finely
by Roy Barraclough and Les Dawson in
the 1970s and' 80s as Cissie Braithwaite
and Ada Shufflebotham/Sidebottom.
The cardigan-huggers had a lot to deal
with. Husbands might be on the fiddle.
Sons were easily led astray. Flighty
daughters needed 'keeping an eye on';
not to mention (gasp) that brazen hussy
down the street, putting it about.
But the housewives themselves, legs
planted firmly on the ground, rose above
the swamp of local iniquity: indomitable
bastions of moral values and public decency.
"Her indoors' habitually wore a floral
wraparound pinny, except on Sundays.
And for popping to the corner shop or
hanging the washing out, she 'd shrug a
woolly garment on. Of dubious design,
indeterminate colour and age, ponging of
mothballs and hand-knitted, this
cardigan-type garment came in handy as
a prop for demonstrating moral
indignation, and acted as imaginary
armour against the ever-lurking threat of
perceived virulent corruption.
When scandalised by a piece of gossip,
the housewife rolled her eyes with
lascivious delight, yet she'd take a step
backwards, signalling detachment from
such filth, making space for her disgusted
bosom to inflate. (Les Dawson often added
a little nudge of his bosom.) Then she'd
hug her cardigan tighter round her, both
highlighting how severely her respectability
was being outraged and instinctively
employing a protective, maternal gesture,
inbred from the days when babies were
carried inside their mothers' shawls.
Though enormous, the northern
housewife's capacity for outrage was
forgivably maternal, and laced with
A butt of jokes, from music hall to Les
Dawson, these indomitable ladies
nevertheless held serious sway. They
were part of the glue that held society
together. Little escaped them. In towns
and villages where everybody knew
everybody, their influence was mighty.
Huggable; Roy Barraclough and Les
Dawson as Cissie and Ada, 1979
Remnants of that formidable band
survived into the swinging sixties. But by
then we'd discovered Elvis and the Beatles
strangers had moved into the street, and
the permissive society was gathering steam,
Then along came affordable electrical
home appliances and convenience foods
and - eureka - housewives in their droves
headed for the juicier gossip-holes of the
Add in TV soaps and package
holidays in Spain and the old local back-
street shenanigans were small potatoes.
And so the cardigan-hugging
upholders of public morals and decency
slipped away, into the annals of history.
Or so it seemed. In fact, they'd just
skipped a generation. Now they're back
with a twist. Many are young and not
necessarily physically wearing cardigans,
though mentally they're still hugging them
to virtue-signal, in the time-honoured way.
These days, their 'outrage' is often not
maternal and community-minded, but
personal. They declaim stridently about
their "issues"'on social media and directly
in our faces from the telly, with concerned :
eyebrows and an air of smug self-
satisfaction, at pains to prove themselves more' woke'and holier than thou.
'Not another cardigan-hugger,
grabbing her 15 minutes of fame!' I groan
and click them off. Their outrage is often
no more than a flight of fancy. And, unlike
their robust, down-to-earth predecessors,
they''re woefully lacking a sense of
humour. They bore the pants off me."
EleanorAllen "The Oldie" Jan.2020