Brain surfing in the night, without a bed jacket.

I woke yet again in the wee hours of the morning unable to sleep and thought I’d read my book for a while.  No, too cold to pop out from under the covers and I’d get cold. Brain clicks mmmm, what ever happened to the Bed Jacket?

Designed to be ‘nice’ to wear while in the hospital or while having taken to your bed when ill, these little gems would have to have been some of the ugliest items ever introduced. I decided that they would take forever to get on, do up and probably wouldn’t do much to add warmth either. Thank goodness these are no longer around!

I would love to have added some pics here but just couldn’t find anything.

Off on its next wave, back to my first part-time job at Allen’s drapery store in High St Preston. I hated the idea of going there, but mum had stitched up a holiday job and I had no choice. I swear back then I thought the ladies on staff were probably about a 100, but now I would bet that was certainly not the case. Allens was one of those beautiful old stores with ladies wear down one side, menswear down the other, haberdashery and all the embroidery cottons in the back corner, mixed items down the middle and I clearly remember shower curtains on rings down the back near the lay by office where money was loaded into bullets that flew around the roof to each department. Anyway, back to bed jackets, I clearly remember on my first day working, an elderly gentleman went to a lot of trouble selecting just the right bed jacket for his wife who was in hospital. He was back for a refund the next day as she had passed away that night……..have never quite worked out why he was back the next day but people are funny little creatures.

I remember all the block and tackle type underwear, slips and nighties both practical and fashionable that was sold at Allens, all in cardboard boxes wrapped inside with tissue wrap  and stacked carefully on the shelves behind the counter and the Mrs Slocombe twin could almost blindfolded, put her fingers on the box that was the correct size for ‘Madam’.

I’ve searched and searched for some pictures that resemble a shop similar to Allens, but couldn’t really find much. I do know that the creators of ‘Are you being served‘ nailed it completely though as far as stuffiness.

I found this link which has some wonderful pics of the undergarments, lingerie and nightwear of decades gone by. I still like my flannelette jarmies though!

So the brain goes from bed jackets to Mr Jones’s fruit truck. This is probably where my passion for fresh fruit & veg started. Mr Jones had a big old red removal truck that resembled this. The overhang was loaded with full bags of spuds, there was a weigh and wrap station on the side wall and everywhere else was stacked with boxes goodies. I can still smell the dirt and hessian bags of those potatoes.

It was loaded with all of the freshest things he had secured at the Vic market and he then did a selling run going up and down the streets of Preston, stopping at the top, middle and bottom of each street and people would come and buy whatever they needed. They could leave a basket out with a note and he would fill the basket. He stopped at our place for tea on Thursday night and it was my job to ‘mind the truck’ while he ate his dinner. I still know that there are about 3 bananas in a pound, how to cut newspapers (that were used for wrapping) with a knife like a machete, and how to stuff my face with as many strawberries and passionfruit as possible in a short amount of time. I think we need some more of Mr Jones trucks now!

My brain then went onto a few more connections but slowly I went back to the land of nod. Probably thinking I should order something like this little number. What do you think?






26 Replies to “Brain surfing in the night, without a bed jacket.”

  1. That was a fun trip down memory lane. I remember wearing girdles and suspender belts – horrible. I remember too those bullet things that whizzed up and round the ceiling to the invisible cashier. That poor elderly man and his carefully chosen bed jacket – maybe his wife said “I’d rather die than wear that”! We had a fruit and veggie man who came round in a horse and cart and people would hold their breaths and shovels and wait on tenter hooks for the fertiliser gold for their roses:) Such different times.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the blast from the past illustrations you found to flesh out your mental nocturnal wanderings. I never understood the need for a bed jacket, surely a dressing gown would suffice. However, I have a bit of nostalgia about those old style stores, my older cousin worked in ladies & children’s wear in my hometown so I loved my childhood visits. A relic of the past, our local small town department store is in its closing days. It’s stock was very pricy but entertaining for a browse. How times have changed.. These days, I think we would all appreciate a truck full of fruit & vege, milk on the doorstep in glass bottles, and deliveries of fresh bread via a horse and cart.
    ( I have just watched the 50’s & 60’s episodes of Annabel Crabb’s Back in Time for Dinner on ABC ivew, another trip down memory lane)


  3. Brain surfing – what a great expression. And so many memories now washing through.
    But it looks like I’m a loner. I loved a good bed jacket – up on a cold night to feed young bub so on with the jacket on to keep warm. Or having the rare lie in reading. Or being unwell and needing that extra bit of warmth while sitting propped up with extra pillows.
    Now I use a (man’s) flannelette shirt to throw on.
    But I might just get out the knitting needles . . .


    1. I do love the concept, just not the glam factor. My niece gave me a great suggestion but it wouldn’t work for feeding a bub and that is to put your dressing gown on back to front so you have no gaps for the chill factor. I adore my polar fleece Jim jams and have been seen at quite a late time in the morning still donning them.


  4. Great read Maree, prompted lots of memories from growing up in a home with four generations living together and the many stories of old which were shared. I must say that since moving back to a Trafalgar Winter (ouch!) I too have wondered about a cosy, but of course sexy, little bed jacket for those sleepless nights that I sit up in bed and read.


  5. I made one of those awful bed jackets for my mother about 48 years ago- I did it to master the stitch. Must see if she still has the unworn thing tucked away, though she is very good at ‘chucking things out’. I’ve been on duty for a month, on and off, at her place lately as she needs more care. Sometimes she doesn’t bother getting out of her nighty and dressing gown, and we were reminiscing about the HOUSE COAT. What a useless piece of attire that was. My son likes to talk about popping on his Smoking Jacket at night- code for jamies. I wouldn’t mind bringing back the Opera coat though- something in lush black velvet, lines with soft satin, with beautiful hand worked buttons, or maybe some fastenings in pearls.
    I am so pleased we don;t have to wear that tackle any more. It was bad enough donning a suspender belt to hold up the 30 denier stockings each day from 13 to 18 years old, just to go to school. God, those memories are horrible. As were my part time jobs, mostly in Puckle St, Moonee Ponds.
    Great nostalgic post Maree.


    1. Sorry to hear that your mum hasn’t been as independent lately , every time I see you post a pic of her I think what a lovely kind, sprightly and gentle person she seems. Oh yes, the opera coat! Not without the sateen cravat of course! Urrghh, those suspenders and stockings, for some reason those of us with generous thighs had problems with ‘oozing’ of flesh over the top of the stocking. Feeling ill as I recall this 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I have very strong memories of Puckle St thanks to my maternal Grandma. She always bought sticky yeat buns at Plarres, they were such a treat. Then there was Gilbertson’s butchers, Coles and Woolworths variety stores, so many good memories…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooooh, Plarres in Puckle St was the best around. I worked in MP for a while and they sold ‘mini Boston Buns’ and I had one every morning (shamefaced). When I transferred to Camberwell the staff posted me one, didn’t travel well!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great read Maree, it brought a big smile to my face. I remember shops like Allens. I have a similar memory, mine involved a bread man from Ovens’ Bakery who had a big oblong basket he carried from door to door and kept full with stock from the horse drawn truck. It’s thanks to this bread that I Iove poppy seeds on my crusts


    1. I giggle as I read this Sandra as today was my bake day and I spend the last hour delivering around town. Hadn’t connected the dots that I have turned into a Mr Jones until I read your comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Very funny read! I wince as I remember my mother struggling into one of those girdles. Load of old knitting patterns – slick looking men better suited to Armani decked out in chunky Aran or Fair Isle sweaters and women and children sporting whole knitted outfits – have appeared on amusing cards and postcards. They’re all fascinating bits of culture history. In fact, I think I have a few pattern books somewhere with those bed jackets… But, on a more practical note, I use a fleece. Certainly not as sexy as that last little number, but I bet it’s warmer!


      1. For some reason, Bedlam insane institution comes to mind when I think of clothes on back the front. ( less the arms of said dressing gown).


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