Memories of a rural childhood – Q is for quinces and quilts



The aroma of ripe quinces is wonderful. The fruits are yellow, generally lumpy looking and have flesh that is hard to cut. The effort of cutting into quinces is, however, worth it in the long run as the cooked fruit is very tasty. We often had stewed quinces, either by themselves or mixed with apples, with ice cream for “pudding”. Very occasionally some of the quinces were stewed, mashed, strained, then boiled with sugar and made into beautiful rosy-red jelly. We loved eating quince jelly on bread or toast. I have two quince trees in my current garden but rarely get much fruit as the white cockatoos eat and knock down most of them before they are anywhere near ripe!


That winters in the hills can be very cold is very much an understatement. When I was small the only heating we had was a “Warmray” and the wood stove in the kitchen and living area. The bedrooms were bitterly cold. Hot water bottles helped a bit but layered quilts on top of our blankets were the best protection. Some of these looked rather motley, being made up of a range of recycled fabrics sewn together. These days such quilts are called “Waggas” and are very much sought after by collectors. Very few survive as these utilitarian covers were generally disposed of when worn out or no longer useful.

10 thoughts on “Memories of a rural childhood – Q is for quinces and quilts”

  1. Quinces…now why didn’t I think of that? My maternal grandfather had quince growing in his back yard, but my family was too modern at that point to know anything about preserving or canning or cooking them. Too bad, because your descriptions of the cooked fruit sound wonderful!
    Molly of Molly’s Canopy

  2. Your blog is so interesting. I plan to follow to read more after the challenge. I love your stories. They are so similar to what life was like when I was a kid. I especially liked the part about quilts and heating the house. It was a bit nippier here; but, our homes were built for ventilation and not to heat when I was a kid. No matter where you stood, you could look out a window.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Ann. I am enjoying the challenge of recalling snippets from my childhood that fit with the A to Z constraints. I checked your twitter feed out today and was intrigued to find that your most recent link is to a blog about Alberton in Victoria. My earliest ancestors in Victoria selected land in that area. Small world!

  3. Wagga was a new name for me too. My mother made patchwork quilts ( the hand sewn hexagon flower garden design) and taught me how to make them. I love thinking about the stories connected with the different material and the memories behind them. Our winters were chilly too, no heating in the bedrooms and very dependent on bed socks and hot water bottles. It was 1961 before we moved to a house with central heating.

    1. I think the term Wagga was just a rural Australian one.

      We only managed to get the natural gas line extended along our road about 25 years ago. We had a Coonara type wood heater till then.

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