The words of our previously unidentified gardener diarist ( see earlier extracts from a 1957 diary) on Friday 29 December 1950. He has now been unmasked as William L. Tjaden (b.1913), who was married to the adorable Madge in 1945 and by 1950 had become the 37 year-old Chairman of the North Kent Dahlia and Gladioli Society.
In the quieter days of these immediate post-war years, long before the festive season was an excuse to stuff your face with chocolates while watching box sets, life in the Tjaden household at Christmas was a time for still more potting, transplanting and tying up plants. In a period when for many, including the Tjadens, the wireless and the gramophone were the only sources of home entertainment, William and Madge took advantage of both in the dark and freezing winter of 1950. And in a rather Dickensian note we find that before factory farms had made chicken and turkey available to all, goose was perhaps the more popular festive poultry. The Tjadens ate Polish goose on Christmas Day, while the same meat was eaten on the 29thand 30th. If this was the same goose it must have been a huge one.
Nor did New Year’s Eve (a Sunday) mean a rest from gardening chores. William cycled over to Bexley to buy 2 gallons of creosote ( shopping on Sunday was, it seems, legal then ) and spent all afternoon attending to his growing frames. Instead of copious amounts of alcohol, the couple took tea at 6.45, and having taken a decision to ‘ ignore the New Year ‘, were in bed by 11. [R. Healey]