Alarm-clock Britain!

February 7, 2012

Last year a friends son was petitioning for an alarm clock. His father declined the request on the grounds that he would inevitably be in the working world sooner or later and one would then be obligatory.

 

This brought to mind the late summer of 1978, when I lived in London. It was the aftermath of the Jubillee year and Punk Rock and Arts and Music were flourishing. I travelled to Brixton one afternoon to visit a Sculptress i new. She had a studio in a derelict building. When I got there I found she shared the space with a group of performance Artists. Their conceptual manouveres consisted of lying for a sleep on an old mattress fully clothed in business suits and bowler hats and on the prompt of a large noisy alarmclock going off they all lept to their feet and rushed out of the door of the studio. I gathered this was repeated every day and probably filmed. Fairly prescient in the light of the fact that we increasingly rely on this abrupt call to earn a crust. Except that hardly anyone wears a bowler now……

Calypso song

January 7, 2012

This was composed by my mum in the 1950’s when calypso tunes were popular:

 

The sun is shining

the sky is blue

the apple blossom is pink for you

the birds are singing the whole day through

and i’m coming home to you..ou..ou..ou

I’m coming home to you

 

There was a further verse, sadly now forgotten.

one horse town

December 18, 2011

I exited the W.I. Christmas quiz early..about 9.30.p.m..and set off briskly down the main street of my home town. The Spar was open, the Xmas lights festooned all down the street infront of me..but there wasnt a soul about. A sign saying Merry Christmas in yellow bulbs creaked in the wind. There were no cars parkedup and the air was chilly. I half expected to see a clump of tumble weed blow across my path as I neared the library carpark. Only the Chinease take-away was still doing a brisk trade…..silent night…a black cat came out of a dark corner and entered another…..the sherif was nowhere to be seen…………

Merry Xmas

December 2, 2011

occupational therapy 2030

November 6, 2011

Mr Hoggins

September 25, 2011

A trip to Shrewsbury in the mid 60’s very often involved the dentist. My pocket money in those days was spent on Spangles and Cadburys Chocolate. Mr Hoggins resided in a terraced house that was on a grand old street that is now mainly divided into flats.  You entered up some steps into a hallway with moulded cornices and an umbrella stand and turned sharp left into the waiting room.  There was no receptionist, only a housekeeper who popped her head round the door to see if you had kept your appointment and ‘let him know’. On the table infront of the comfortable armchair, one of several was a table laid out with old copies of Country Life.  I loved the page with the picture of debutant of the month, and i wondered what her life might be like, and who she might marry. A nurse would appear and usher me in to Mr Hoggins operating room.  There was a leather reclining dentists chair and instruments laid out on a table and also in a concertina-like cabinet perched on a high table at my side. Leaving parent behind and being alone with Mr Hoggins never frightened me at all. He wore a white overall buttoned over a tubby chest and he said things like ‘this may hurt a little, ‘open wide’ and to the nurse variously ‘mix me some amalgum’ or ‘mouthwash please’. I invariably had a filling as my milk teeth and my new teeth were very soft and chalky, so he said.

Opperation over, we left down the steps and turned sharp left to the sweet shop to by sooothing lindt chocolate bunnys, and to make sure the next trip was not too far away.

Tonight, munching on my tea, one of Mr Hoggins works of art fell out.  I cant say it was a tooth because it was 90% filling.  I stared at it on my plate. All those years it had survived, and I wondered as dad had quiped, if he really did line those fillings with copies of the Morning Post. I still retain several back copies if that were indeed true…….

Tiger

September 20, 2011

When I was 17 I had left home and gone into lodgings near my Art College in Shrewsbury.  My landlady was quite a character, collecting broken furniture from skips in those days and doing them up to sell to the local antique dealers.   Her mother, Mrs Hillman, who wore something resembling a derestalker, was also eccentric.  She lived at Column and had been out in India where her huband worked for many years.

One night she was sitting out on the veranda, when a Tiger aproached her.  She recounted that she had followed local advice and remained very still.  Eventualy the Tiger walked past her and down the steps of the veranda and back out into the night from which he came. I think she must have dined out on that tale for years afterwards.

Mr Hoggins

September 14, 2011

A trip to Shrewsbury in the mid 60’s very often involved the dentist. My pocket money in those days was spent on Spangles and Cadburys Chocolate. Mr Hoggins resided in a terraced house that was on a grand old street that is now mainly divided into flats.  You entered up some steps into a hallway with moulded cornices and an umbrella stand and turned sharp left into the waiting room.  There was no receptionist, only a housekeeper who popped her head round the door to see if you had kept your appointment and ‘let him know’. On the table infront of the comfortable armchair, one of several was a table laid out with old copies of Country Life.  I loved the page with the picture of debutant of the month, and i wondered what her life might be like, and who she might marry. A nurse would appear and usher me in to Mr Hoggins operating room.  There was a leather reclining dentists chair and instruments laid out on a table and also in a concertina-like cabinet perched on a high table at my side. Leaving parent behind and being alone with Mr Hoggins never frightened me at all. He wore a white overall buttoned over a tubby chest and he said things like ‘this may hurt a little, ‘open wide’ and to the nurse variously ‘mix me some amalgum’ or ‘mouthwash please’. I invariably had a filling as my milk teeth and my new teeth were very soft and chalky, so he said.

Opperation over, we left down the steps and turned sharp left to the sweet shop to by sooothing lindt chocolate bunnys, and to make sure the next trip was not too far away.

Tonight, munching on my tea, one of Mr Hoggins works of art fell out.  I cant say it was a tooth because it was 90% filling.  I stared at it on my plate. All those years it had survived, and I wondered as dad had quiped, if he really did line those fillings with copies of the Morning Post. I still retain several back copies if that were indeed true…….

Blue Mashed Potatoe

August 15, 2011

During the 39/45 war it was usual for dad to travel down to the railway station at Ironbridge to pick up the feed for the animals we were allowed under rationing.  He brought sacks of potatoes home coloured with a blue die marked as unfit for human consumtion.  These were boiled up into a mash for the Pigs we had at that time.  However as times were so very hard it was not unknown for some to end their life on the dining table of family and workers on the farm.  I can only imagine what blue mashed potatoe must have looked and tasted like!

Petrol was also subject to rationing and the slogan ‘Is your journey really neccesary’ was used to stop people making pointless jourrneys.  In order to visit his Grandads farm for things like eggs and preserves as a top up, he would constantly carry a feed sack full of grains in the boot there and back so that if he was stopped he had the excuse of delivering vital animal feed.

Uncle bertie Pritchard , who worked in Shrewsbury would come over too, for family supplies to the home farm.  One night on his way back he was stopped by Police checking peoples cargoe. When asked what he carried he decided to come clean. ‘three dozen eggs, a whole ham ,4lb bacon, and 2lb butter’, he told the constable!

‘You wish!…get on home with you’ was the constables reply.

A similar thing happened to Grandad, but in his case it was dark  and instead of stopping for the check, grandad put his foot on the accelerator and drove home like a demon.

‘Oh ,Perce’ said Granny

‘Shut up Eddie’ said Grandad, with a determind gait at the wheel.

beatties

July 13, 2011

Most Saturdays in the early 1960’s we set off in the black zephyr family car for Beatties department store in Wolverhampton.  It was avery fine shop with everything under one roof.  Granny and mum wore their best suites and hats and I invariably felt carsick, riding in the back with an all pervading scent of facepoder and perfume whafting over me.  My determination to spend as much time in the basement where the toy section was, undetered, I would choose at least a new outfit for tressy or some American insired plastic toy.  Once we lost sooty and dad said low and behold, there he is on the top shelf , we had better take him home with us!  Upstairs on the top floor, and past the ladys hat department where mum lingered, looking absurd in a selection of 60’s modes pulled from wooden drawers, was the Rocking Horse.  There I was placed whilst more clothes were tried on and Grandad chatted to Mr Beattie, an old friend.  I dont know what they discussed,but this took sometime and seemed to be very important..perhaps we got a discount.  Then a milkshake of enormouse proportions in the restaurant and finally a trip to the very top to settle our account with the lady at the hatch.  Once we saw Frank Ifield and were offered his autograph.  I declined, as I only new the Beatles were famous..he must have been insulted!  On the way home I would play with my purchases in the car..unwrapping Sinys outfits and trying them on her..it was usualy that.  Exhausted from their trip, the adults probably made an easy tea..sandwiches I think , as we usualy had Plaice and Chips at Beatties to make a day of it…there were many of these trips, but they all merge into one occasion in my mind..the familys day out to Wolverhamton