Nana’s war stockpile really took the biscuit

Jen Davey with her husband, Scott, and son, Cullen
Jen Davey with her husband, Scott, and son, Cullen

WITH ancestors in Wagga and relatives who had gone through the war years, growing up was always going to be interesting for Jen Davey.

She lived with her parents Annette D’Arcy (nee Nealon), James (Jimmy) D’Arcy and her older brother Paul.

Jen added: “For about eight years, my mam’s mother Rose Ann Nealon (nee Teasdale) lived with us and I happened to share a bedroom with her.”

She was exactly the sort of nana a young girl would want as a room-mate.

Jen explained: “Most nana’s wardrobes would be filled with dresses, hats and gloves.

“Half of hers did have lovely Sunday best dresses and her special hat for church.”

But this nana had her quirky side as well.

Jen said: “The rest of the wardrobe was filled with 1lb bags of sugar, loose leaf tea in many packages, jars upon jars of Robinson’s marmalade and numerous packets of Jacobs Cream Crackers.

“I asked the question one day ‘Nana. Why do you have half of the Co-op in your wardrobe’?”.

She said: “If war ever breaks out again, I’ll be ready.”

Jen said:”I never asked the question whether it was to keep her going if the next war ever broke out or was she going to trade in the black market.

“She was a character, she loved to bake bread on a Saturday morning and the aromas would fill up the house very quickly.

“Saturday afternoon was usually spent with my aunties, uncles and cousins all getting together for our weekly catch-up.

“While the cousins played games outside, the grown-ups would often be heard laughing lots.”

And if nana had “a win at the bingo on a Saturday night”, there was always a treat for Jen.

She explained: “She would wake me up and we would celebrate by opening a packet of those Jacob’s Cream Crackers and she would smother it in marmalade.

“Then she would open the bottle of Lowcocks Lemonade she had bought on the way home and we would drink it out of mugs from our warm toasty side by side single beds.”

Jen’s nana Rosie was born the fourth of seven children.

Her parents were Frederick Gibson Teasdale, also known as Frederick Cappy Teasdale, because he would “walk around Hartlepool wearing a top hat,” said Jen.

His wife was Sarah Teasdale (nee Collins). Frederick was born at Newton-under-Roseberry not far away from where Captain James Cook grew up on Airey Holme Farm, but “quite a considerable time after James Cook was a lad.

“Frederick, his wife and children, lived around Seaton while their family was growing up,” said Jen.

There’s much more to come from Jen including her links with Wagga, family tragedies and humour amid the air raids.