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Reader letter: We had it tough in the old days

PUBLISHED: 17:05 11 October 2017

Hoar frost: It's not cold, just bracing. This is Norfolk, you know.

Hoar frost: It's not cold, just bracing. This is Norfolk, you know.

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I felt the need to reply to the comments in Steven Downes article about the most appropriate time to put the heating on. I am 67 years of age and retired, so I probably fall into the category that he is maligning.

I wonder what age he started employment? I started at 13, washing up after school in the kitchens of Riddlesworth Hall where I made enough money after several months to buy a second-hand bike, my first bike I may add!

READ MORE: How far into autumn can I get before I put the heating on?

I started full-time employment when I was 15, at what age did he start? My age group didn’t get into debt, we only bought something when we had enough money saved to buy it, there were no credit cards in our day or the bank of mum and dad and as for deciding when to put the heating on. The only heat we had in our house was one small fireplace to be shared by my parents and my five brothers and sisters. The luxury of having central heating was unheard of – we had ice on the insides of our bedroom windows in winter. We had my father’s great coat put on the bed for extra warmth – there were no luxury duvets like today, the thought of using the chamber pot was put off until you braced yourself for the freezing temperatures. Did Steven Downes ever have to endure these conditions?

As for retiring on a fat pension – we should be so lucky, whatever we have, we have worked extremely hard for and I have never patronised a waiter in my entire life!

We worked hard to bring up two sons on meagre wages, paying 15pc on our mortgage, not like today’s low interest rated mortgages of approximately 2.5pc. The only holidays we had were a week in a caravan on the Norfolk coast once a year. Foreign holidays were out of the question.

If anyone should be feeling justifiably bitter it is us, the older generation, who have watched helplessly as the younger generation fritter away money like confetti.

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