Returning from the recycling bins the other day, I thought of how we used to do this when I was a child, but we hadn’t heard of that word! Recycle? No, we simply re-used various items.

Newspapers – almost every household had their daily paper, so there was always a pile of old ones waiting to be used. Apart from being great to light fires in the winter and Mum using some to wrap up the vegetable peelings before they went into the dustbin, children found them useful. A layer of newspaper when painting meant the table stayed clean and Mum stayed in a good mood!  They were also very handy when using Plasticine. Surplus papers were taken to the greengrocer for wrapping vegetables. Freshly boiled beetroot required several layers to stop the juices coming through. We took some to the wet-fish shop, (almost a thing of the past now) and the fish and chip shop. Nothing tastes better than freshly cooked fish and chips out of newspaper!

Bottles were never thrown away. The milkman would collect the washed empties from the step, which in turn were sterilised and re-filled. Beer and lemonade bottles were returned to the Off Licence, as a deposit of 3p (thruppence!) was paid on these. Probably not an incentive to return empties today, but it worked for us children, because if we were fortunate, we would be allowed to keep a penny from this for sweets. Jars were re-used for Mum’s home-made jams and chutneys.

No plastics were disposed of back then and very few tins. Occasionally we had a tin of corned beef, tuna or salmon, but mostly our food was freshly cooked.

Silver paper – bottles of milk, at home and school, had foil tops which we saved.  This would be collected by the Society for the Blind, sold and the proceeds would go towards paying for training much-needed guide dogs.  We did this throughout our infant and junior schools. Can you imagine how much could be raised these days, with all the things that are foil wrapped?

Things change from generation to generation; some for the better and some not, but one thing I do know is that we can all be re-used. Maybe we feel a bit redundant as we grow older and our work days are past, but one thing we ‘recycled teenagers’ can be relied on is to be there for others, for a chat and a good laugh, even at our own expense.  Talking about our childhood or youth and others will share their memories too. This in turn, keeps our brains active.

On this theme, singing is a great activity, so here is something for your October diaries; Stuart and Betty Hill’s Sing Along Group are putting on three concerts at 5€ a ticket. They will consist of songs from well-known films and musicals as well as down memory lane. There will be a concert at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11th October and a matinée at 2.30pm and an evening show at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 12th October. These will be held at St Nicholas Church, solook out for posters giving more information. There will be limited tickets for each performance. Come along and join in – singing is both therapeutic and good exercise, so we would love to see you there.

English speaking services are held at 11am every Sunday morning:


  • 4th Songs of Praise
  • 11th Holy Communion
  • 18th Morning Prayer
  • 25th Holy Communion

Please join us if you can as a very warm welcome awaits each one of you.

Rev Mo