By Jim MacDonald
It is my pleasure and honour—as one of the almost 90 attendees—to offer some notes on the wonderfully
entertaining talk given by Fay Rayner, very ably assisted by her daughter, Janne, regarding Rayner’s
Butcher Shop. Why? Because as a child around 1940, I can remember being taken by my mother up
to Mr Sid’s shop, so as to order the family’s requirements of fresh meat.
Up until about 1941, we had only the ice chest to preserve our meats. After that we upgraded to an Electrolux electric refrigerator, and that meant less frequent visits were necessary.
A visit to the shop meant that I was seated on a hard wooden bench at the front whilst mum spoke with Sid and discussed things such as the thickness of the cuts of lambs’ fry or liver. As I sat there, I tried to read and understand a very large sign on the wall, instructing ‘No Expectorating’.
Gosh, at that age, I was only up to five-letter words! The meat order was always delivered later by an employee pedalling on his pushbike to our house on Oxlade Drive.
My older brother Donald was about the same age as Ken, one of Sid’s sons who later became Fay’s husband. Ken and Donald served their country in the army and were posted overseas in conflict zones. I was not supposed to know what was going on when the boys—while at home on leave—would visit the shop. Ken’s father Sid would take them behind the counter to a back room, where he had a bottle of rum planted—and he poured them one. Gosh, how soon can I get into a uniform and enjoy those privileges! By contrast, my father was a total abstainer and did not approve.
What wonderful memories I have of Rayner’s butcher shop—and again, thank you to Fay and Janne on behalf of us all at the May meeting of the historical society.