Potato Nostalgia

Lobbies.

My house is full of the smell of lob scouse as I write this. There is a big pot of “lobbies” bubbling away on the stove.

It is an evocative aroma which brings back memories of my mother, my childhood at Tawd Bridge and my Nana’s kitchen on washing day. My Aussie husband even has a great fondness for this very British and very Lancashire dish, (just as well! He tends to get plenty of it!)

So lots of fond memories are going through my head today, and thoughts of my family and friends in Upholland and Skem.

Another fond memory of my childhood in Lancashire is the joy of new potatoes. In my childhood we were a potato growing district. The school holidays we had in late autumn were known as the potato picking holidays, ( or T’pratoh pickin holidays.) I used to go with my Mam and other neighbours, following the potato picking machine along the drills in Forshaw’s field. But it was in spring (I think) when we had the joy and unique taste of new potatoes. Is it still the same? There is an incredible array of different and more fashionable vegetables on the market these days. Can you still get good new potatoes and spring greens?

Even though we have grown our own potatoes here in Australia on many occasions, to my mind we have never been able to replicate the taste of new potatoes that I remember from my younger days in England. And I have never seen spring greens available in the shops in Australia. It’s funny what you miss!

Anyway, where we live now in the Western District of Victoria, we have a “Potato Man”. He is a farmer who periodically loads up his pickup truck (mainly with potatoes but sometimes he has carrots or pumpkins as well) and travels the road from Ballarat to Hamilton (approximately 200km.) He stops at all the little villages along the way, selling his produce. It is a wonderful service and his produce is of excellent quality and comparatively cheap. He arrived yesterday saying he had new season potatoes, only dug the day before, so we got 12kg.

And I have to tell you that they WERE new and fresh with the very thin skin peeling off with just a brush of the thumb! I cooked a few straight away and we ate them just plain with butter and they were superb! The closest I have ever come (but no quite!) to that distant memory of English new potatoes!

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About Edith C

Born in Tawd Bridge, attended Digmoor school and chapel. Migrated to Australia in 1958, but have been back to Upholland for visits on several occasions since. Was a teacher, now retired. I would like to keep in touch with the people of Tawd Bridge, Upholland and Skelmersdale, I still have a fond and deep connection with the home of my childhood.

5 thoughts on “Potato Nostalgia

  1. you may recall that fred Forshaw always had a potato pile at the side of his field ..as you walked down to tawd bridge on grimshaw lane it was on the left hand side just as the slope came ..
    and of course over what we called the moss from digmoor to rainford potatos were extensively grown..we would go with mam on the trailer to help her pick them..

  2. The spuds you want for that beautiful taste are Ulster Prince.
    My Grandad used to grow them at t’other side o’ Skem from you near t’ football ground

  3. I was brought up next door in grimshaw lane to ken and family, i remember my mother and other locals including kens brother les being picked up on cold occtober mornings in the prata picking hols by harry hesketh and riding in the tractor drawn trailer to his farm on the moss. The smell of the tractor plus the fresh soil has always stuck in my mind as we were soon picking our breyd as we called it. happy days when simple pleasures were enjoyed by all.

  4. you have certainly recalled those days david very vividly…
    i seem to think harry hesketh was a relation of my dad..and perhaps you recall picking at peter heskeths farm on the moss..he was a relation of my dads..ive been trying to recall what they called the lengths of the picking area that each picker had..you will perhaps know .its nice to read your post on here david..

  5. Hi Ken the distance we picked the spuds was called a bredth, or breyd as we called it. can you still recall the row of houses we live in in Grimshaw lane, all gone now. The toilets a bus ride away round the backs in between the coal sheds and a muddy patch of ground. Do you remember mrs watts keeping pigs next door to these toilets, manrs the time we nicked some of the potatoes she preparedfor the pigs in that stainless steel bucket. Happy owd days ken

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