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.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Champagne And Afternoon Tea

As I was recovering from surgery on Mother's Day my eldest daughter booked a special treat for me a couple of months ahead. Yesterday we went to The Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge for champagne and afternoon tea. The sun shone and it was one of the nicest days I have had for such a long time.
   I really feel London is home for me, even though I was born in Yorkshire and have lived in Liverpool,  Leicester and Surrey, London feels like home. I moved into a London Borough at 18 and that is where I have stayed.and have loved it.  In the past few years though I have been getting a bit sick of it all, the constant traffic, noise and the joy of a living by a station half an hour away for central London is starting to wear a bit thin, but yesterday I loved every bit of it.
   We caught the train to Victoria then the underground to Gloucester Road and had a little look around Knightsbridge. We had intended to go to Harrods but were worried about running out of time so decided we would go another time. When I used to go into London with my Mum, Dad and sister in the 1960s we would often look around Harrods. The part of the store that made the biggest impression on me was the pet department. They famously sold lion cubs, baby elephants and panthers. I never remember anything so exotic when we visited but I do remember staring for ages at a young fox in a cage. It looked at me so sadly I was heartbroken for days. Thankfully the pet department is now closed else I would probably be rescuing every animal in there!
  We walked round to The Bentley Hotel and it was in a lovely old square, the type of London square I just love with communal gardens and old houses. They have balconies that look as if they are in a scene from the old musical film Oliver. The Bentley Hotel is stunning.

Just look at the toilets!

 This looks like a gentleman's drawing room. 

There is even a Grand Piano at the bottom of the stairs.

Today was an afternoon tea to remember for years.

    I told my daughter, one day when I am old and if I ever I am in an old peoples home, I will get yesterday out of the part of my brain put aside for special memories and look over it and smile. It was a day I will always remember.

Monday, 14 May 2018

A Tiny Little Time Warp

 Tom wasn't working today so we popped over to see my Dad this morning and asked him if he would come with us at the weekend to pick up our caravan. He is a caravan expert from all those years of caravaning when we were little and to be honest Tom and I are total novices. The tow bar is being fitted on Thursday and I am starting to panic as we have no idea how to do any of this, I have visions of our beautiful little caravan flying off on the motorway! So my Dad is coming to make sure it is securely hitched up and then we are driving to my eldest son's yard where it is going to be stored. Then more worries, I am terrified a bus or a coach is going to damage it while they are driving in and out and I must have asked my son a thousand times if it will be in a safe corner. I don't know how he is so patient with me!
   The man we are buying the caravan from was telling us everywhere he goes people are coming over and asking if they can look inside as it is such a 1970s time warp and he said he could only sell it to someone like us who would keep it that way. For years I have joked I would love to open a little museum to display all my retro collectables and now is my chance. We have decided we are only going to have genuine 1970s items in it so we can show any one who asks to look inside with pride. I have so many items it is a case of which to choose! Here are a couple of items I have put aside for our evenings sitting outside. 70's living here we come!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Who Needs Crème Fraîche

On my post a couple of day's ago Sally made a couple of really interesting comments about Home Economics lessons at school that really set me thinking. The cookery lessons at the time taught the basics for example how to peel potatoes and how to make pastry but they also taught nutrition. I don't think these basic skills are on the curriculum for most young people today. A little while ago my youngest son was complaining that a friend of his was learning to cook "It's Crème Fraîche this and Crème Fraîche that" he said "He's driving me up the wall, please can you teach me to cook and what even is Crème Fraîche?" "I have no idea" I replied "but don't worry you don't need any of that." I don't think it is any coincidence that the more fancy recipes that are on TV the less people are cooking from scratch. According to a recent study the average British family now spends £1320 a year on fast food buying 12 meals a month and 25-34 year olds are the biggest consumers spending as much as £2626 a year on fast food. These statistics seem incredible to me as we don't spend anywhere near this amount but apparently these are the figures!
  I decided I'm not doing my son any favours in cooking for him all the time so I searched out this old book.

   Yes I still have it, my old Home Economics book. Oh dear I feel a bit guilty I probably should have given it back in, but I doubt there are many old school books that have had as much use as this one. It is full of basic recipes such as fish pie, beef stew and even really basic skills such as how to bake potatoes or cook green vegetables. There are also chapters on nutrition and how much we need of these nutrients each day. It is all so simple I wonder why on earth the backs of food packets looks so complicated.
   Every week we have decided we will cook one recipe together and I'm hoping it will give him the same basic grounding in cooking that I gained from it. "Experts" differ in how many recipes they think people should be able to cook from scratch but I think if I can give my son 10-15 meals he can cook, then that should stand him in good stead for the rest of his life, and not an ounce of Crème Fraîche in sight!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Live Every Day As If It Was Your Last

This was exactly what I told Tom we should do this week. We have been saving for a camper van for a long time now and I was starting to worry we would never manage to get the full amount. None of  us know what is a round the corner and I don't want to waste any more time. So we decided to lower our sights and buy a small caravan instead. Today we went to put a deposit on a perfect 1978 retro caravan. So untouched by the years I expected to hear John Travolta singing Sandy as we were looking around it. I realised it wasn't lowering our sights at all, it was beautiful. I loved our caravan holidays as a child and still have this little model caravan and car my sister and I used to play with as children, always hoping the day would come when I would enjoy days like that again.

When I returned this evening I saw the news from a blogger Sue, who I so enjoy following, that her husband Col has died yesterday following a long battle with cancer. I was so so sad. The dignity and cheerfulness they had shown dealing with this situation was quite humbling. When I got my thyroid cancer diagnosis I thought of them and hoped I could show the same bravery. Even though my treatment seems to have gone very well as I said before none of know what is around the corner. We must not waste any of the time we have in our precious, precious lives as Sue and Col definitely didn't.  My thoughts and prayers are with Sue her children and grandchildren today.

Friday, 11 May 2018

I Love Shopping Baskets!

Not using plastic carrier bags is a pleasure for me. I have a selection of lovely fold up material shopping bags, one with little dogs on given to me by my eldest daughter and a pretty floral one given to me by my Mum. I also have my Mum's shopping bag she used all the time for years. In the days before anyone was really worried about the use of plastic my Mum was far to stylish to be seen around with a supermarket plastic bag! I love having this bag but I don't use it though, I just get it out to look at it every now and again.
  My real love though is shopping baskets. I found this pretty one at our charity saleroom for £1. I put it up for sale on ebay and after a couple of weeks said to myself "Oh dear. that hasn't sold" and quickly took it off to keep!

   I love using it but I'm terrified to put anything heavy in it in case it gets damaged. Thinking about something for heavy items I remembered a shopping basket that lots of old ladies would have when I was a small child.

    How could I have forgotten these? I remember they used to have little rain covers on top to keep your shopping dry on wet days. I even remember seeing old ladies pushing their little dogs in them. I wonder if one might be a step too far, even for me, but I'm sure Cassie would enjoy trips to the shops! This is the type I used to take to school every Monday morning with my Home Economics ingredients in. We would drop them off in the "H.E. Room" so they would be ready for our lesson later in the day. There would be about twenty of them lined up. Then after the lesson it would be used to bring home what ever culinary delight we had made.

So not using plastic carrier bags is definitely not a hardship for me. I wonder if I am alone in my nostalgia for shopping baskets.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...