Playground games have changed a lot since I was a child. These days it feels as if children need a mass of gadgets to have fun and, mostly, they play alone and indoors. Back in the 1960’s playtime meant being outside, even if the weather wasn’t that good and mostly we needed nothing but our companions and maybe a piece of old rope. Continue reading Memories of the early 60’s – playground games
As winter 1964 drew to a close leaving me with memories of Dad lifting me up to snap icicles off the arch of the porch and sucking them like ice lollies (obviously no one had heard of acid rain and pollution in those days) I knew my days at home were numbered. Spring brought my fourth birthday and, in September, I would be going to school. Pappy was preparing me by teaching me to sing the alphabet, to tell the time on the arched wooden clock on the mantelpiece and to write my name. Continue reading Memories of the early 1960’s – the last long summer of freedom
These days people jet off to some warm exotic place for holidays. Back in the sixties only the rich knew the joys of air travel and working class familes like mine spent their holidays far closer to home. My first holiday memories were of a caravan park in Dorset when I was about two or three. Our little caravan was permanently pitched on a grassy hill in Swanage, saving the need for towing it back and forth. These days there are lots of caravan parks in Swanage and I have no idea which one it was but we spent many happy weekends there. Continue reading Memories of the early sixties – holidays
Back in February 2014 I published the second of Commando Senior’s memoirs. It was written when my wonderful father in law was still in good health, dashing about all over the place and appearing out of the blue on our doorstep with a cry of “it’s only me,” bearing gifts of his delicious home made cakes. Little did we know that in less than two months he’d be in hospital with a broken hip or that this would begin a decline that he never recovered from. This instalment is set during World War II. It is hard to imagine living through such a time as an adult but for a child it must have been both bewildering and frightening. Imagine waking each day to a landscape changed beyond belief, familiar landmarks replaced by smoking craters. Continue reading random musings of a geriatric delinquent – the blitz – first published 28 February 2014
It’s hard to believe that today it will be a whole year since we lost my amazing Father In Law, Albert Keates, affectionately known as Commando Senior. It seems fitting then, that I revisit some of the memoirs he wrote in the last year of his life. Apologies to anyone who has read these stories of his before but, as they were lost when my old blog was hacked, it seems only right that I republish them now in tribute to him. The first instalment tells of his childhood in the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a time when poverty meant a completely different thing to our idea of poverty today. Back then there were no TVs, no mobile phones or computers, in fact none of the electrical gadgets and labour saving devices we all think are essential now. A trip to the loo often meant going to the bottom of the garden. Poverty meant a choice between food and shoes as you will see if you read on… Continue reading Random musings of a geriatric delinquent – The great depression – first published 11 February 2014
My very first experience of a playmate was a bit of a disaster although it began well enough. Close to the bottom of the Big Hill, next to the library, there was a big house and in the huge grassy front garden was a beautiful little Wendy House. It was my first ever experience of house envy. Whenever Pappy and I passed by I’d look at it and wish it was mine. Sadly, it’s long gone and flats have been built on the site. One day, as we were on the way to the chemist, a little girl of about my age with short cropped mousey hair, reminiscent of Mia Farrow at the time, came up to the wall.
“Do you want to play in my Wendy House?” she asked.
Of course I was desperate to. Pappy wasn’t all that keen on the idea but, with a little pleading from me, said I could as long as I stayed in the garden and only until he came back from the chemist. Continue reading Memories playmates and lies
Today marks the fourth anniversary of my first Moonwalk so I thought it was fitting to share the story of my day. This was taken from my diary at the time with very little in the way of editing. Even so, I think it captures the feeling of the night, the emotions and the sheer fatigue of walking through the night in an unfamiliar city for twenty six point two miles. I have added a few retrospective comments in italics where I thought they were necessary.
Most people have four grandparents. Sadly, I only had two. Mother’s father died of tuburculosis when she was a child and my dad’s mother, Mary, who I’m named for, died five years before I was born. Even so, I count myself very lucky because my paternal grandfather, Pappy, lived with us and I spent many of my childhood days with him. Continue reading Memories of the sixties, grandparents
In 1963 big changes were afoot. Alex was getting married! Being just three I don’t remember a great deal about what must have been excited preparations but I do have enduring memories of the day itself. Not all of them are good. Continue reading Memories of the early 1960’S – Alex’s wedding
Just before the blog hacking incident, I began to post some of my childhood memories after Sherri at A View From My Summerhouse suggested it. Of course they were lost, along with everything else, but I’ve managed to salvage the ones I’d already written. My intention was to continue writing more and post one every month but I got a bit bogged down with other things in January. Anyhow, this is the first one, published back in 2014, not long before my blog was hacked. Continue reading Back to the very beginning – memoir