Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dreaming Of White Horses!

Thank you for all the brilliant ideas about fixing my Robert's radio in the last post. My Dad has taken it to the little electrical shop near where he lives. It is the same electrical shop that sold our Ferguson radiogram all those years ago although it has changed hands about ten times. They have said they will look at it so I'm hoping they may be able to sort it out.
  Sooze made a comment saying how much she loved the song White Horses that was popular at the time. So did I, in fact I loved anything to do with horses or ponies as a child. Dreaming of White Horses was how I spent years in the 1960s.  I was pony mad and read every book I could about little girls owning ponies or pony care books for children. I knew every piece of equipment I would need ready for when the time finally came. If I wasn't reading about ponies I was galloping around the house or garden singing the theme from White Horses pretending I was actually riding one. I bought this Music For Pleasure Surprise Surprise childrens 7" single at the local newsagents with my pocket money and practically wore it out playing it over and over again.

   These children's 7" singles were quite popular at the time and many songs in the charts had cover versions (some pretty dreadful to be honest) which sold in local shops at pocket money prices. They had a colour in picture on the back which I had not coloured in, rather surprisingly, as I loved colouring. Maybe I was just too busy galloping about!

   Sadly the closest I got to owning a pony or horse was my Troll horse who I called Danny Boy. I wonder what happened to him? I played the White Horses record yesterday and all the memories came flooding back. I was singing it all day. I still haven't given up all hope of my pony, I just don't gallop about anymore when I think of it!  Just to put the song in the head of anyone else who remembers it you can listen to the theme of the White Horses programme here.

   There is something really reassuring about this song, it takes me back to summer holidays as a child when days seemed so carefree. I have an appointment at the Royal Marsden Hospital later today to discuss my treatment which starts next month and if I feel a bit stressed while I'm waiting I may just put my headphones in my phone, listen to it and gallop off on a white horse in my mind!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Any Repair Shops Still Out There?

 Yesterday was a work all day, day. I have always tried to work six hours a day but some days in the last couple of years it has been hard to do this many, so I'm always doing mental arithmetic to make up to the total over the week. I think of it in two hour blocks and if I get up early I can fit in a two hour block between 6 and 8 am and other evenings I will work from 9 to 11 pm. No matter what happens in my week I juggle around these two hour slots until I have made up my time.  Yesterday I managed to bank a couple of extra two hour slots so I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.
   I didn't have much time spare for anything else but I did get out my old 1970s Roberts radio in the evening. I can look at this and remember those early episodes of Junior Choice with Ed "Stewpot" Stewart progressing to all those David Cassidy songs through my teenage years and then evenings struggling to keep the signal on Radio Luxembourg.
   Junior Choice! I had almost forgotten about it until I looked at this radio. It was full of sing a long songs and Sunday mornings were always spent listening to them on this little radio, I searched out a playlist from the show and Tom and I spent the evening singing songs I had forgotten all about (much to our youngest son and daughter's horror!). Ernie by Benny Hill, White Horses by Jackie, Morningtown Ride by The Seekers and Champion The Wonder Horse by Frankie Lane. They were all favourites on Junior Choice.
   I had thought for a while I must get my little 1970s Robert's radio fixed and buying our caravan has pushed me into trying. Are there any radio repair shops still out there? I'm determined to try and find one. Sadly it won't play music from those happy days but at least when I look at it I can remember!

    When I was walking back from the shops yesterday evening there was a sign in the charity shop window saying 50% of all bric a brac so I am off there this morning to see if I can find any good buys to sell on ebay. I hope everyone has a good day.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Busy Sunday

Tom was working all day yesterday so I got on with a lot of the things I have neglected in the last few days. I had to catch up with my work and there are always emails to answer and photos to copy and then there was all the boring washing and housework jobs that unfortunately just won't do themselves. After this both dogs were bathed (no stinky dogs allowed in our new caravan!) then the bathroom was cleaned from top to bottom. No matter how many times I say to Bud our border collie "Please don't shake" as I lift him out of the bath he can't control himself. He shakes from his head to the tip of his tail and that's that, the bathroom and me are soaked.
    In the afternoon I set to sorting out some items I bought at a recent jumble sale. Some things I put up for sale on ebay, some items I have decided I can use or would be perfect for our caravan and some toys or books I put aside for Scarlett. I was lucky enough to find some lovely retro fabric items at the last jumble sale and as the weather was so nice they have been washed and dried on the line. I'll photograph them in the next few days while I'm deciding whether to keep them or sell them but which ever I decide I was really pleased to have found them.
   Last week I had been thinking a lot about working in London in the 1970s and had been talking to my youngest daughter about it. When she was leaving for St James's Park on Saturday I told her we would spend all our lunch hours there in the summers of 1977 and 1978. One sunny day in 1977 my friend and I stood and watched the workmen cementing commemorative plaques into the pavement to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee. My friend said "One day we can come back with our children and say we watched these being put in." My youngest daughter and her friends searched them out when she was there and they took photos of her standing next to them. She's so thoughtful, she knows exactly what makes me smile. Here is a photo of the plaque.

Queen's Jubilee 1977 Plaque The Mall London

   Another item I have found while sorting out the loft, in between a pile of old photos took me straight back to the 1970s in London. In 1978 I used to go to Toni & Guy to have my hair cut. I saw an advert in Miss London magazine that was handed out free in the underground stations and thought it looked like a really cool place. Toni used to cut my hair and he was funny. chatty and always kind. I was sad when I heard he had died in December 2017. I often think how could I have afforded it but finding this I think, I wish the prices were like this today.

Toni & Guy Price List 1978

  The weather looks good today around London today maybe with a few showers this afternoon and this evening, hopefully not when we are walking the dogs! I hope the weather is good wherever you are and your day goes well.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

....And So The Day Went Well

Well the sun shone and the royal couple pulled off the whole day flawlessly. Everyone celebrated diversity and love and that can only be good. Youngest daughter and her boyfriend had a day of fun and making memories, next door's party went well and the Chelsea Pensioners enjoyed their day.

   We collected our little caravan with no hitches, it didn't fly off on a tight bend and it is safely tucked away with a cover over it at our eldest son's yard. In a few days time we are going to take it to my Dad's house to clean it from top to bottom and take lots of photos. In the evening we walked the dogs to the park with the smell of barbecues all around in the air. We planned our trips and where we are going to visit as we walked. Yes the day certainly did go well.
   For anyone who would like to remember Harry and Meghan's day here is a lovely video to remember it with.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Telling A Story

Yesterday I looked after Scarlett from just after 7 o'clock in the morning until the end of the afternoon. We have a routine of different activities to keep her amused. Now she is getting a bit older she "helps" me give the animals their breakfast which she loves. I'm hoping it will give her a life long love of animals as we all have. In the afternoon we always go to the park to feed the ducks after I have taken my parcels to the post office what ever the weather really and in between meals and naps (hers not mine!) we play or read books. She loves being read to and very quickly gets to anticipate the exciting bits in her little story books. I loved books from a very early age and always remember being read to as a child and had a love of stories.
  I often buy my books from the Oxfam online store as they have such a big selection of brilliant second hand books. Every so often they have a sale and can have 70% off so it is really worth checking when they have one on. I recently bought this book in one of their big reduction sales for a few pounds.

   It took me back to so many happy days when I would lie on the settee, curled up with our little dachshund, next to our old 1950s radiogram and listen to "Listen With Mother". I loved it. I remember the stories and the nursery rhymes so well. Our old Ferguson radiogram was wonderful. If I wasn't listening to the radio, my Mum would put old records on such as Vera Lynn singing nursery rhymes or Enid Blyton reading Noddy stories. I'm sure I could join in still with them all. I found this old photo of it with my sister and I standing next to it in 1963.

This one was up for sale on ebay recently, I was almost tempted to buy it. 

Vintage 1950s Ferguson Radiogram

    When Listen With Mother had finished Women's Hour would start and I would either play with my toys or go out in the garden while my Mum ironed whilst she listened to it! I can so clearly remember walking around the garden singing the nursery rhymes or reenacting the stories I had been listening to! The book has some lovely stories in and even though they are dated now I'm sure Scarlett will enjoy them when she is a bit bigger. 
  Sadly when we moved down to Surrey our radiogram was put up for sale. I remember nearly crying when I saw it on the pavement outside the old electrical shop near were we lived with a For Sale sign on it. "But we have a nice new Sterogram now" my Dad tried to console me with. I remember thinking "I don't want a new one I want our old one." Oh dear I haven't really changed. The new one never did seem quite the same. For anyone else who feels nostalgic about Listen With Mother I have found this episode on Youtube

  Anyway I hear there is a big wedding on today. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend are off to St James's Park to enjoy the sunshine and fun, eldest son is driving a group of Chelsea Pensioners to the cup final, next door are putting up the bunting and preparing for a party but we are off to pick up a caravan! Hope you all have a brilliant day.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Sleepless Nights!

We live on quite a busy road but are lucky enough to be raised up on a bank behind a hedge and a little path. The houses are old and very cottage like and were there before any other houses in the area were built. A neighbour told me they bought the house from an old lady who was born in the house around 1910 she told him when she was a little girl she would look out of her bedroom window to lavender fields all the way to the town. It must have been beautiful and I can only imagine the smell. No one can park cars in their little front gardens so it has kept a pretty unspoilt almost country feel.

  The only downside is we have no where to park our car except on this quite busy road so Tom had to go to our eldest son's yard to have our tow bar fitted yesterday and of course our lovely little caravan can't be kept here. I won't be able to go out and admire it and add little touches to the inside which is a shame but of course you can't have everything in life.
   This is a complete digression from what I was going to write about today which is why I have been having sleepless nights for the last week. When I wake up I always find it hard to get back to sleep but this week I can hear a beeping sound outside our house. It is high pitched and only happens intermittently but it is all I can hear when I am awake. I look out of the window trying to decide whether it is a car alarm, a burglar alarm or something completely different coming from near our little path. When I walk to the station or the shops I can hear it and look suspiciously at all the parked cars. There is a delivery driver who parks his little moped on the road and I was convincing myself he has some kind of alarm on it which beeps day and night. It has become very annoying and what is even more annoying is as Tom sleeps through anything he doesn't seem bothered by my problem.
   Yesterday morning when I walked to the shops two men who live in adjoining houses a little further up the path were out looking in the hedge. I stopped to chat and they told me they were being kept awake at night by a mystery beeping. "Me too!" I exclaimed "I was starting to think it was in my mind." They searched and searched in the hedge and there it was, an old discarded smoke alarm. Some inconsiderate person had chucked it in the hedge and it was beeping to warn the battery was low. I couldn't believe this small item could cause so much disruption to our little row of houses. Last night when I woke up I managed to get straight back to sleep. It's strange how the noise of traffic never disturbs me but one different little noise could keep me awake half the night.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Tired Of London Tired Of Life... the saying goes. Well I am definitely not tired of life but I have thought a lot lately am I tired of London and yesterday's post has made me wonder. Where we were the other day was so peaceful and beautiful but most of London is not like that now. I worked in Piccadilly Circus for two years in the 1970s and it was among the most fun times of my life but it has changed so much since those days I barely recognise it. We used to be popping in and out all the time up to several years ago and I loved it but in the last few years, mainly because of circumstances. less and less and now I find it so busy I can't really be bothered. I loved our day out on Tuesday but really I would be happy with just five or six days a year now not every week or two as we used to and if I never went inside a shop again it would be too soon. Victoria station was packed and everyone just barges into you, no one makes eye contact at all. Even the pigeons look stressed! It is really sad.

   My youngest daughter's boyfriend lives in East London and are they are in and out several times a week. Last year I went with my eldest daughter and Scarlett for a day out with them. I was planning the route when my daughter's boyfriend said "Let me help" and took the map."My station isn't even on this map and what does British Rail mean?" Oh dear I put it away trying to keep my thumb over the 1984 printed on the side! I think this sums up the problem really I'm not keeping up with the changes.  
  We spent the day rushing behind my youngest daughter and her boyfriend while he called out instructions, left here, right here, tap your oyster card here, to the underground, the overground (I resisted the urge to start singing Wombling Free!)  right to the lift, left to the exit, tap your oyster card again. I was exhausted and was starting to feel like an old person out with my carer!
   Next they decided to show us the new Stratford Shopping Centre, by this point I kept looking enviously at Scarlett who had fallen into an exhausted sleep in her pushchair. We sat and drank our coffee whilst he told us of all the school friends of his who had lost their homes when they "regenerated" the area around Stratford in the run up to the Olympics in 2012. I looked at this awful shopping centre and felt like crying for them. As they were both going out for the evening at the end of the day, youngest daughter's boyfriend wrote instructions of how to get home on a paper serviette. My eldest daughter and I still managed to get lost and we were so relieved to get home at about 8 o'clock. Luckily Scarlett had been as good as gold all day.
   The next day youngest daughter's boyfriend asked me how I had enjoyed the shopping centre. "It was very tiring" I said. "Yes you can walk for miles in these places" he said. I hope I didn't sound ungrateful when I replied "When I walk miles from now on it's going to be across a field with my dogs next to me" That was the first time and hopefully the last I will ever set foot into a big shopping centre! Maybe the problem lies with me and I am just yearning for the past but maybe I am just getting tired of London.