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Thursday 21 September 2023

Tell Us About: Legacy

 Kathleen Lovis, grandmother of Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon

Dear friends. Welcome to this month's Tell Us About challenge, where 8 global bloggers interpret a prompt in their own way.

This time it's Legacy, chosen by Leslie from Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After.  It seems to have most of the group scratching their heads.

I was a little perplexed too, because as someone who's child-free, I don't have anyone to inspire with my legacy, although my life and memory will live on via three different blogs which have existed since 2006. 

I have a precious legacy of my own from someone who inspired me: my late maternal grandmother, Kathleen Lovis. 

I asked her to write her memoir for me, which she did;  she also penned all her recipes in a separate ring binder. Some of the pages are grubby: you can tell she was using the recipes as she cooked, which brings them to life. 

Handwritten memoirs and recipes from Kathleen Lovis who died in 1991 aged 81

Kathleen died in 1991, aged 84. I wrote about her 1930 wedding in my old blog in 2010. It was very much done on a shoestring. Her husband Jack worked in what was known as "the tar works" (tar distillery) in Plymouth, and money was tight.  They never owned their house, or had a car. Kathleen didn't go abroad until near the end of her life, when, as a widow,  she went to visit relatives in Canada. 

Today I'm sharing another excerpt from her memoir and one of her most celebrated recipes. 


Kathleen was just 14 when her sister Win secured her a job at one of Newquay's biggest hotels, The Headland, as a cleaner. She recalls:  "They put my age as 16 on the form. It was the first time I had left home, in Plymouth, and I went off to work with my sister.

"I was put in a room at the top with three others sharing. There was a knock on the door at 6am every morning.  I had to be washed and dressed in a black dress with white apron, and my hair done up in a bun, ready to start work at 6.30.

"There was a lot to do before breakfast at 8.30. In that time, I had to clean two large sitting or lounge rooms, a large billiards room with two snooker tables and a long corridor with a huge umbrella stand in the middle of it.

"All I has to work with was an old fashioned Eubank carpet cleaner, a tin of Ronuk polish and dusters. I was on my knees every day to rub up the sides of the lino, which also had to be polished twice a week. One time I was pulled out of breakfast because I hadn't cleaned up some cigarette ash from the fireplace, and told to clear it up right away."

"Every afternoon I'd have a different job to do, such as cleaning all the brass door knobs. Believe me, there were a lot. 

"We had a nice evening meal around 6.30pm, and after that I had to help the chambermaids. We'd have beds to make or tidy."

Kathleen never saw a penny of her pay and believed it went straight to her mother via Win. She had enough to buy herself some mints, which were her treat. "I'd walk to the nearest sweet shop, buy some humbugs, then go back and lay on the bed for an hour before supper, or dinner time. Before that though, I had quite a large corridor to clean, in the same way I'd done downstairs. Then I had several bedrooms and toilets to clean each day."

As a lot of her work was done on hands and knees, Kathleen's legs became very sore. After three or four weeks, Win told her mother, and she said they should give in Kathleen's notice. Ironically, in her last week, Kathleen was given "lovely big mops" to use, and wouldn't have minded staying on. 

Below: my grandmother in later life 

Kathleen Lovis's Recipe for Pasties 

A Devon pasty is crimped along the middle rather than around the edge, which is the style of the Cornish pasty. My Grandma included a couple of ingredients that aren't always included in a Cornish pasty. She insisted on using chuck or skirt of beef, which you may need to ask for a butcher's. Braising or stewing steak is not a good alternative. 

Ingredients for 4 medium pasties
500g self raising flour
125g butter, chilled
125g lard 
2 onions 
175g swede
226g skirt or chuck steak 
100g lamb's kidneys
2 potatoes
Beef Oxo cube 

Mix the fat with flour using your finger tips until it's crumbly, add a little water to make a dough (not too soft). 
Cut the meat and kidney into small pieces. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Crumble an Oxo cube over the meat, mixing well. Then cut the onion into small pieces and season lightly. Grate the swede and do the same, adding the onion and swede to the meat. Finally cut the potatoes into very small cubes, season and add to the mixture.
Prepare the pastry by cutting it into four rounds. Shape each piece into a circle on a floured board, then roll out each piece until it's the required size. Your first attempt will be disasterous if you roll the pastry too thin. 
Brush the edges with milk or water to make them stick together. Put enough filling on each round so that you can life one edge up and seal it over the ingredients.Press tightly together, then squeeze into a fluted edge. Place the pasties on a greased baking tray for 1.5 hours. Glaze with egg.  Lower the heat when browned. 


Suzy from The Grey Brunette explores her aspiration to leave a lasting legacy of creativity, inspiration, and empowerment, emphasizing the importance of igniting creativity within oneself and others.

Debbie from Deb's World embraces the quirkiness of life in her response to the question of her legacy, thanks to some helpful technologies.

Sue from Women Living Well After 50 ponders the question ‘What will my legacy be?’ Legacy is one of those subjects she has never really taken time to ponder or confront.  As she delved to find her answer, she discovered she really does know who she is and embraces and celebrates her unique qualities.

Leslie from Once Upon a Time and Happily Retired says that one of the most touching things she was told just after her Mom died in August last year was that she and her her brother and sister were her legacy.  Leslie's (former) sister-in-law Metra was the sweetheart who imparted those words to us. And they were such a comfort to her. She felt like Mom had gifted us with so much in her 95 years and now it was up to us to carry on for her.  A big job!!

Marsha from Marsha in the Middle is sharing the legacy of a truly extraordinary man.  His legacy is in the thousands of children and adults who were fortunate enough to have known him.

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper is on holiday but will share her post in the next few days. To whet your appetite, Penny  felt rather at a loss when contemplating ‘Legacy' as she had decided to leave this planet with the least fuss possible. And yet she has things to say about ‘Legacy' which will become clearer when you read her post!

What are your thoughts on Legacy? It s something you've thought about? Do tell in the comments. 



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