Penny pinching ideas from the ‘auld git’: Bread and butter pudding and being on your ‘uppers’ 


Hello my little super savers! Ever heard the saying ‘he’s on his uppers’? It usually indicates someone is very poor.

Before the creation of plastic shoes, footwear was made from leather sole, heels and the upper parts of the shoe. These shoes and boots could be repaired regularly, making them good as new again. Of course this cost money. No money = no repair, which resulted in the sole and heel wearing out, leaving only the upper part of the shoes.

So what happened to good quality leather shoes and work boots?

Most of today’s shoes are produced abroad and are made with a plastic nylon all-in-one sole and heel unit.

When these wear down they cannot be repaired. Did you know today’s shoes are only expected to have a useful life of 10-12 weeks maximum?

When shoes were traditionally made of leather segs were faithfully hammered into the toe and heel section of the shoe. This extended the life of the shoes greatly.

One stunt performed by youths was to slide down hill on the road while wearing shoes with segs in them, this could produce some spectacular sparks. It was strongly advised that you not fart whilst performing this trick.

It seems being frugal with footwear now can only be achieved by buying second hand. In the 60’s most shoes were produced abroad, causing a decline in the traditional footwear industry in Northamptonshire. Some manufacturers turned to producing specific items of footwear, niche markets to save their businesses.

One such factory, portrayed in the film Kinky Boots, began making footwear for drag queens. It involved redesigning ladies’ shoes to accommodate heavier weights and larger feet.

If any of you have any ideas on how to reduce the cost of today’s shoes please let me know.

In the meantime I’ll console myself with homemade fudge in a slow cooker. Break up 400g of plain or milk chocolate, add 400g of sweet condensed milk. Slowly melt these in a slow cooker on low, keep stirring.  The mixture will begin to thicken. When this happens, pour the mixture into a greased and lined dish approx 9”x 9”. When cooled leave in fridge to set for minimum of six hours. Cut up into bite size pieces.

Another cheap and cheerful treat is bread and butter pudding. Use up stale bread, six to eight slices, butter both sides of bread and remove crusts. Place one layer of bread into a buttered dish, sprinkle some sultanas on this layer. Continue with this layering till all bread is used. 

Mix 12fl oz of milk together with two large eggs and 1oz of sugar. Pour this mixture over bread, leave to stand for 30 minutes. Bake in the oven 160*c fan 180*c or gas mark four for 30-40 mins until the custard has set and the top is golden. Enjoy with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.

Next time: how my dad was on his way to becoming a millionaire.

For all the ‘auld git’s penny pinching tips, follow this link.

  • by the ‘auld git’ from Armley


  1. Solovair still makes shoes in Wellingborough, although the initial outlay is quite large. They do seem to normally offer a re-soling service, although their website shows as this service as currently unavailable. They do still seem to sell replacement soles though.


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