The Grand National holds a very special place in my heart. From a Liverpool family, when I was little we lived at Aintree, it wasn't just my link living close to the racecourse that makes it so special though. My Grandad worked on the racecourse for years. I grew up with so many tales of it and he loved it. Becuase of his work he would always stand at Becher's Brook during the race but alway said that jump was cruel. Horses always fell and even though it has been altered in modern times, still do. Many of these horses over the years died and in my Grandad's day Shire horses were then sent out to drag the dead horses away. These were the horses he worked with and loved. Among my most treasured possessions are some of the horse brasses my Grandad collected from these Shire horses at Aintree racecourse. As a little girl I would polish them at the table with newspapers all laid out. This was my job on a Saturday morning and when I polish them now with Scarlett I can't believe it has come right round in a big circle. Yesterday there was an enormous milestone in the history of the race, a woman jockey won! I doubt my Grandad would ever have believed such a thing would have happened, and all, because of the pandemic, with not a single spectator there, but what a breakthrough for women. This photo was taken of my Grandad working at the racecourse around 1930. He is on the far right of the photo looking very big and strong I always think. These are one of the sets of horse brasses from the Shire horses I have.
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Saturday, 10 April 2021
The main news in this country yesterday was the death of Prince Philip, the Queen's husband. I am not really a Royalist but I always admire the Queen and Prince Philip for the way they get on and almost without exception, nothing phases them. Talking to my old school friends in our Whats App group last night we remembered a day we saw him around 1974. We were told in assembly that Prince Phillip would be driving along the by-pass near our school and if we wanted to, we could take flags the school had bought and we could line the road to see him and wave out flags. A typical bunch of surly teenagers we all said "We're not going!" Then we realised it coincided with a double maths lesson and we all suddenly became staunch royalists and off we all went flags in hand. We walked through the fields to the bypass, if we stood there today we would be bang in the middle of the M25, and waited. We all said it was so much more exciting than we expected and when his big black chauffeur driven car appeared with the royal standard on the front, it slowed right down and he wound down his window as it drove by. Of course no one took photos in those day we just waved our flags and cheered and he waved back. We all quite enjoyed the morning and I can remember us all walking back to school arguing about who he had been looking at as he waved. Much more fun than double maths!
One man in our group who used to own a pub in the 1980s told us a tale that happenend there, He had just openend at 11am and the pub was still empty. In walked Prince Philip on his own an ordered a pint! My friend said "Would you like it in a glass or a jug sir?" to which Prince Philip replied "You can put it in a bucket for all I care!" He drank his pint, looked all around the pub at the photos on the wall, and then said goodbye and left. He said it was the only time his wife had ever seen him speechless! As my friend so typically said at the end of the tale, and I could hear his cockney accent as I read it, "God Bless him, may he Rest in Peace".
I spent quite a bit of time out in the garden yesterday and when the sun came out it was quite warm, so much more is coming up, and I was delighted to see many of the acorns I planted last year from my Dad's oak tree have started to sprout and are just poking above the surface. It's as if they are all in communication with each other all appearing on the same day. The blossom on our cherry tree at the end of the garden is looking very pretty and each year I try and get a photo of it at it's very best, it's not quite there yet.
Friday, 9 April 2021
Yesterday when Scarlett arrived she started talking about the "Bakery Shop" straight away. She was planning what cake to to choose, from 7.30 in the morning. It was all I could do to put off our visit until later on in the morning. The queue stretched right round the corner and down the road, but that didn't matter to Scarlett, she would have queued for an hour, I'm sure. She had nearly learned how to spell bakery by the time we went in! I brought my bread and she chose her cake. She chatted all the way home about the wonderful bakers.
After we had eaten our lunch she wanted to play bakers. She set up her little shop with her table and her till and I had to be the customer while she made the cakes in her pan and then served them to me. This game went on for hours, prolonged even more as I had to stand outside the "shop" for ages waiting to be called in. I'm surprised she didn't make me wear a mask!
After she had left I phoned my Dad before we had our evening meal to see how he was and for a little chat. He said he had a really stressful afternoon as Millie his cat had gone missing. After all the months she spent as a stray cat, she is now most definitely a house cat. For a long time my Dad was so worried about her straying again he kept her in and now she shows no interest in going out at all. After a whole winter of evading capture in eldest son's yard where she hung around as a stray, she has no intention of venturing out again. She knows exactly where she would rather be and that is lounging on my Dad's settee or his bed and the most adventurous she usually gets is sitting on the windowsill watching the world go by.
Today however she had disappeared. My Dad had been in and out going into the garden and was so worried he may have left the door open at some point. I was just starting to reassure him that I was sure she wouldn't wander far when he told me it was alright she had been found. After searching the house from top to bottom he noticed his wardrobe door was a tiny bit ajar. When he looked in, there she was on the top shelf, sound asleep amongst all his ties. To my dad's dismay all his beautiful collection of silk ties were unmarked but one tie had been ripped and scratched to shreds, his Liverpool FC one. "She must be a Chelsea fan!" said my Dad.
Thursday, 8 April 2021
Youngest daughter and I chatted for a long time yesterday morning about her afternoon and evening out in St James's Park. She said they were the only daft people sitting in the cold with candles on a birthday cake but they really enjoyed themselves. They have been planning all kinds of things now resrictions are relaxing. She is the most cheefrul I have seen her in months!
As it was so cold yesterday I decided I would stay inside and do a bit of sorting out in readiness for the charity shops opening again next week. I still have boxes packed ready for them opening. I have been ever so strong and not looked through them to rescue any bits that I have put in there. I decided to go through my books and see if there were any I could get rid of. Last week when we were eating our breakfast at the dining room table Scarlett was looking around the room. She said to me "Nanny you have so many books! It looks like ..." there was a long pause and she proudly added "a library!" So thrilled with her new word she said to me "A library is a place where you go to borrow books!" I do have such a lot of books and I can't resist them. I love history books, craft books and old childrens books. I could read history books all evening, I love those little incidental local history stories that you never learn about in history lessons. I'm not very good at borrowing from libraries as 9 times out of ten if I have borrowed a book I like I search ebay and buy it in case I feel like reading it again! I convince myself that as I always buy secondhand I am saving the world's resources.
My real weakness though is old children's books. I love them. I collect old annuals, ladybird books, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, books about ponies (I used to love them as a child!) and hardback children's classics that are in really good condition that just catch my eye. All the time I was sorting I kept thinking I must get rid of something or I won't have any room for new books for my collection when car boot sales start up. In the end I managed to get rid of an enormous biography of David Lloyd George, I'm not sure why I ever bought that and an even more obscure biography about a naval captain who fought at Gallipoli! I thought and thought about my 1950s Train Annuals but decided I couldn't bear to get rid of them. That will do for now, at least there are a couple of gaps ready to fill and I had such fun sorting them all out neatly. I sat and looked through books I had forgotten about. Just as well it was National No Housework Day yesterday as what with chatting and sorting I didn't seem to get any done. Maybe tidying books counts as something. Here are some of my favourites. I know I should be stronger after all my clearing, but I am really looking forward to searching out new books for my collection.
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
It was sunny and bright but ever so cold when I went to my Dad's house to get his shopping. Sitting in the shade at the station I was so cross I had forgotten my gloves. It was only 6C with a freezing wind. What a change from last week when it was 23C! Dad's tablets were sorted out and his shopping done. It will be so nice when the other shops in his village open up next week. It will give it much more of a feeling of normality. Although a talented person had made a real effort to brighten it up by the post office with this wonderful knitted decoration.
When I got home at 6.30 Tom had already got in from work. Youngest daughter had gone into central London to meet some freinds in St James's Park. It was her friends birthday and they had planned to get a takeaway and a few drinks and enjoy their meal in the open air. She had wrapped up really warmly but I did think what a shame it was the weather had turned so cold as she had been looking forward to it so much. I was thinking to myself at least it is dry then I got a text message from her saying it was snowing there!
I often think how strange it is she spends so much time going to St James's Park. She loves it and says it is her favourite park, in normal times she and her friends spend so much of their time there in nice weather. When I was 16 and 17 I worked in London in the 1970s and I would spend most of my lunch breaks there. I worked in a bank in Piccadilly Circus and on nice days we would buy our sandwiches at a little sandwich bar at the corner of Jermyn Street and walk down Lower Regent Street ,cross The Mall and sit eating them overlooking Buckingham Palace. As an extra perk of the job the bank would give us a 15p luncheon voucher a day, which in those days took quite a large proportion off the cost of a sandwich. Shops and restaurants would display a sign in their window if they accepted these vouchers. We would be given them on pay day for the month and sometimes we would treat ourselves, and my friends and I would go to a Steak House for a meal and pay for it all in 15p luncheon vouchers. We must have been really popular!
After our lunch in the park we would walk down to the palace and wave to the soldiers in their bearskins guarding in their sentry huts. We knew them all by sight and thought they were so good looking! Of course they weren't allowed to move but there was one who would always wave back at us by wriggling his fingers. What a rebel he must have been, I wonder where he is now!
I love talking to youngest daughter about all the things she has seen when she gets back but she was so tired and cold when she got in after not going out at all for months she went straight to bed. She said she had a wonderful time though so I'll be able to hear all about it later on today. It is sunny and bright but ever so cold here today. It was -2C when I got up. I don't intend to walk the dogs until it warms up a bit more and I think I will have a day inside today as there is a lot to catch up with after Easter. I hope everyone has a lovely day and if it is cold were you are you are lucky enough to be able to be just looking out at the brightness. xx
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
It was really cold when we set off to the yard where our caravan is stored yesterday morning. We took our old 1970s awning with us to check it fit on the awning rail. It was so nice to see our lovely little caravan again after the winter and just being inside it, even though we left the cover over three sides, so it was quite dark inside I could atlready imagine those summer evenings sitting inside it with the stable door open listening to our 1970s record player. Unfortunately yesterday while we were sitting looking out it was snowing! The caravan was all safe and fine except where the cover had been pressing on the fibre glass wheel arch, the small crack had got much worse so we are going to have to replace that now, but we have plenty of time before we go away. I bought the 1970s portable record player back with us as I had thought often over the winter I wish I had and on youngest daughter's request, our lovely orange sun lounger. She says she wants to build up her tan before the summer, well she's not going to manage that this week!
We had a couple more showers of snow around lunch time when we got back from the caravan. I had intended to clean out the aviary but decided against is as even though the sun had come out it was still very cold. We spent a lazy afternoon together and it was very nice all being at home. I did manage to source a new wheel arch for the caravan though as I know a man on facebook who is a bit of an expert with these old caravans and he is going to get someone to make us a replacement from the original factory moulds. Aren't some people clever!
In the evening there was a really clear sky and when I was out walking, one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen. Worrying about frost I dashed around the garden putting little cloches I had made from cut down plastic bottles over young plants. The fox looked on in amazement!
Monday, 5 April 2021
We were very lucky as it was a lovely sunny day here yesterday. Tom and I took all three dogs out for a walk in the morning and walked part of the London Loop which is near us through woods and farmland. We have walked this walk for 15 years and would hardly ever meet another person. Not yesterday it was packed, joggers, boys on mountain bikes, familys and walkers marching along with Nordic poles. I nearly fell out with one woman who shoved little Cassie with her Nordic pole as we passed on the path and said "Ugh I have an aversion to terriers!" Poor little Cassie is the sweetest little dog, wags her tail all round the walk just trotting along. She didn't seem bothered but it took all my strength not to tell the woman were to shove her pole! In the end we went off down a little footpath off the main route between two fields, which was much nicer and after that we really enjoyed the walk. Although Tom and I both agreed after it that Tess does find these walks with all the dogs very stressful and it may be kinder to walk them separately. She just worries too much the whole time that Layla may possibly stray and sees it as her job to herd her back. In the end we walked nearly five miles yesterday and the dogs slept for the rest of the day!
Sunday, 4 April 2021
Happy Easter Everyone! I didn't really get much done yesterday but I did walk a lot. Tom and I decided we would walk the dogs separately as everywhere will be so busy this weekend. We are hoping to give a walk through the woods near us a go today but the trouble is the whole country is at home and only allowed to be outside. All the millions of people who are normally away on holiday are trying to find places to visit and walk or jog! Joggers are a real problem for me when I am out walking Tess. Someone only has to run by us on the pavement and it awakens that Border Collie instinct in her to chase. Luckily she isn't that kind of snap at your heels kind of collie but she would love to run along too and I'm always worried she will scare someone, as she adopts that typical collie herding run, or even worse trip them up. It is not too bad if she is with Layla as she becomes fixated on her not allowing her to "Stray". Like a sheep she is constantly herding her along. It means Layla can't chase her beloved balls when they are out together which is a shame. Cassie luckily when off her lead just trots along next to our heels so doesn't cause Tess any worries. Nothing will distract her. After having Bud before Tess for 13 years we have learned to live with a Border Collie's natural insticts, but if it is very crowded I have to keep her on an extension lead, so I'm hoping today on our nice long walk all together, it will be a bit quieter. Poor Layla she just wan't to bounce along with her toys when we are walking but Tess has other ideas!
Saturday, 3 April 2021
It turned out a much nicer day yesterday than the weather forecasters predicted. The afternoon was warm and sunny and I was out gardening all afternoon. I'm trying to redo the part at the end by the aviary but can't quite make up my mind how to do it. I want to keep the seating area as Scarlett loves to sit there and watch the cockatiels but also want it to encourage wildlife. The trouble is although I want a wildlife area and I love the whole garden to look as natural as possible, it has become just a mess down at the end. I enjoy planning though and may have a walk down to a local ecology centre this week (if it is open) to get some ideas. The foxes live in the part at the side of the aviary, so I'll leave that completely alone for them to have their own space but the rest is going to be sorted out a bit. I'm really hoping we may get a repeat of last year with fox cubs living there too.
Friday, 2 April 2021
The weather was nice and warm yesterday and quite sunny, not as warm as it has been, but still pleasant. Scarlett and I went out for a walk and she told me all names of all the children at her nursery (including the first letter of their surname if there is more than one of that name), the babies downstairs (so cute!) all the staff, including the ones on holiday finishing up triumphantly with Brian the chef and the two guinea pigs! I have no idea if she is remembering everyone but there are so many I doubt she is forgetting many. I am amazed at her memory and it makes it such fun out walking with her as she remembers everything we have talked about the week before and we can have a proper chat. I am making the most of these days as she starts school in September so our time will be more limited and I know how lucky I am at the moment.
We walked back via the bakers as usual and queued for bread and her cake. The shop was full of Easter cakes and hot cross buns. They have gone to so much trouble, I feel so sorry for them not being completely open as usual with the tea room part packed, inside and out, as it normally is. I would normally take a photo of all the Easter decorations but it was pretty impossible with a queue of people outside the shop and everyone having to socially distance inside. They must be losing so much money after all their hard work. Scarlett chose this lovely little cake and was so excited. It's all so thrilling for children.
Thursday, 1 April 2021
I caught the train into Sutton to go to Morrisons yesterday morning to buy a few bits I was running low on. It was nice and warm but cloudy not clear blue skies like the day before. I bought two new plants a Clematis Aotearo and a little rockery plant Mossy Saxifrage. I have never had any luck with Clematis but I thought for £2 I'd give it one more go this year. The Mossy Saxifrage is a new one for me but I'm trying to build a little rockery from all the big stones I have dug up in the garden from the old farm buildings that used to be here. The only trouble is it is in a shady spot and I didn't have my glasses with me to read it likes sun or part shade and I think it may not be quite suitable but I really liked the look of it so will give it a go.
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
I travelled on the train to go and do the shopping for my Dad yesterday It was a really hot day and it reminded me that wearing masks out and about on a hot day isn't very pleasant. I really hope the rules are relaxed a bit by the time we have hot weather all the time. It was so nice though to see the sunshine and Dad's roses are going to look a picture this year as they are all coming to life.
By the time I got home in the evening Tom was already in from work and had started cooking the evening meal which was nice to arrive home too and we all had our usual catch up while sitting eating. Youngest son and daughter will be finishing work for the Easter holidays in the next day or two so they are very cheerful at the thought. While we were sitting eating our meal it said on the news this was the hottest March day since 1968. Tom and I laughed and we said "Oh we rememember that hot day in March 1968 really well!" Of course we don't, but it did make me think how when I look back on childhood days I always remember sunshine. When I am out on a sunny day and smell freshly cut grass I am transported back to school on a summers day.
It is not just me, my school friends and I often talk about it. We had a big grass field next to our school playground and we would all lie on it listening to transistor radios on hot summer days. We all say we only have to hear a song from those days now or smell that cut grass smell and we think of it. The boys would be playing football and showing off and the girls reading Jackie magazine and making daisy chains. The sun always seemed to shine, it's all we remember. We often joke if we had any idea in those carefree days we would all be friends in our sixties discussing cures for arthritis we would never have believed it!
I can't remember where we went holiday in 1968, I must ask my sister if she remembers, but it would have been a caravan holiday in this country. I feel like searching through the old box I have of diaries I kept in those days to see if I kept one for that year. I was a sporadic diary keeper, January was always well documented then I lost steam but I often kept a holiday diary. One thing I am sure of though it would have been a holiday like this one and the sun would always have shone! Happy days!
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
What a lovely day it was yesterday. I worked in the morning and after an early lunch I went out into the garden to tidy up before they come to empty the garden waste bin today. The end of the garden up by the aviary is always a bit neglected furthest away from the house and the weeds have been really growing in the last few weeks. When I am working at the end of the garden the vixen is always sitting watching me. The male fox is more cautious and watches me through a gap in the fence. The vixen is so relaxed now she even doses off in the sun only ten feet away from me.
Monday, 29 March 2021
I worked hard all morning rewiring the 1970s lamp. I had never rewired one with a brass fitting which has to be carefull earthed and I spent a long time studying YouTube videos and eventually found one from an Australian man who talked quite a lot about his alcohol consumption too but he explained nice and clearly how to rewire a lamp fitting just like mine. I'm very grateful to these people who take the time to make these videos as I always say to my family you can learn to do anything on YouTube. I don't know how I managed before it! I'm trying to find a retro 1970s lampshade now, I hope car boot sales open up soon!
Sunday, 28 March 2021
I went for a long walk with Tess yesterday morning. I didn't take her to the park as it get's so crowded now at the weekends. I thought I would take her round and about local roads and as it was a lovely morning it was nice to walk all around and see gardens coming to life in spring. I love to look at other people's gardens, it can give me so many ideas for things to try in ours. There is a house on my local walk that has a light box in their window. Every day they put a message in their window. Yesterday it said "Spring Has Sprung" Sometimes they put such nice messages it really cheers you as you walk by.
Saturday, 27 March 2021
Tom and I went to Lidl yesterday morning which was quite quiet. I wonder how long food shops will be this quiet for. It's quite nice really, I suppose everyone is shopping online. They still haven't any plants for the garden in stock but I bought a couple of little house plants. Later on in the day my new phone arrived. It's just an upgrade as my two year contract has expired but it's quite exciting getting something new even if it is a bit stressful getting all the new apps and settings right. I somehow managed to lock myself out of the online banking app and now have to wait for a letter from them with a new password. Luckily I can still access it on my laptop. It was the only mishap of the swap so I suppose it's not too bad.
The big excitement for the afternoon was Tom phoned up a Caravan Club Certified Location site in East Sussex and booked our caravan for a two week break in June. We won't be able to stay for the full two weeks as we do have commitments at home but it's only just over an hour away so we can drive backwards and forwards on days we can't stay overnight and we can take Scarlett with us on some days. I have told her we can spend the day, cook our lunch on the little cooker inside and sit outside to have a picnic. She is so excited I think she will burst before the big day arrives! We stayed on the site three years ago and it was the most beautiful peaceful site. I doubt it will be as peaceful with the whole country holidaying at home this year but it will still be a wonderful break that I have been dreaming about all winter. We had our old caravan last time we went but I have such happy memories of staying there.
Friday, 26 March 2021
There was a lot on the news yesterday about us having to carry vaccination passports if we want to travel or even go into music venues and pubs. It looks as if it may be on an NHS app on our phone that is updated when we have the vaccination. When the first lockdown started last March Tom was given a piece of paper saying he was a bus driver and had to travel to work so it was necessary for him to be outside. He was told he would have to show it if he was stopped by the police on public transport. Youngest son, who is very interested in civil liberties, was horrified and read the whole thing out to us in a Russian accent! How quickly things have changed in a year though, it is all accepted and we are so desperate to get back to normality I think we would agree to almost anything. Although I do worry about how these things are happening I try to remind myself that in other times of national emergency we have had to endure much worse loss of our rights and things returned to normal when the crisis was over. My Dad tells me that during the second world war they all had to carry a National Identity Card and you wouldn't have dared leave home without it.
However there is another story I have come across recently that really upset me. Eldest son asked me if I would look into the history of his house in Hastings as he is so interested in finding out more about the people who lived there. On the 1939 register in his house I found a couple with their 25 year daughter living there. The wife Dorothy was a local Hastings woman but her husband Charles, or Carl his birth name, had been born in Saxony. They married in 1911 a 17 year old girl and and a young German waiter. Their daughter was born early in 1914. How could they have imagined how badly it would all go wrong. I have seen photos during the First World War of German shops being fire bombed and even dachsunds having stones thrown at them in the street. At some point the couple changed their names to an Anclicised version of their German name and who could blame them. When I saw the husband's nationality on the 1939 register I remembered an epsisode of Foyles War, which is set in Hastings, about German nationals being put in prison and that is exactly what happened to Charles. He was arrested shortly after the outbreak of war and sent to Onchan on the Isle of Mann. Thirty years living and working in this country and he was taken from his home and family to the other end of the country just for being German, it is hard to imagine.
He was released two years later in 1941 "without any restrictions" but it must have taken such a toll on the family. I found a reunited Dorothy and Charles in 1965 on an electoral register living in Bromley in Kent, still using their English surname all those years after the war ended. I was so pleased to find their daughter Irene on electoral registers in London, throughout the war and into the 1950s, when she got married, still proudly using her German surname. I will never be able to visit my eldest son and stand looking out at that view to the sea, without thinking of this little family and what they went through. I will try not to complain about the restrictions we have to contend with now.
We had a really nice long walk with Scarlett yesterday and she loves the novelty of Tom walking with us. I'm not quite sure we will be able to go for such a nice walk with the dogs today as the weather is looking rather cold, wet and windy. We are going to Lidl this morning and I have a new mobile phone being delivered later so it feels a bit like Christmas, although no doubt it will take me about two weeks to work it all out! I hope everyone has a lovely day and the weather is not all bad. xx
Thursday, 25 March 2021
When I'm out at car boot sales or jumble sales (pre-coronavirus) I'm always on the look out for interesting, unusual little items. I don't know what it is but sometimes something will just catch my eye and I think it is something I would like to photograph and put on my social history website. I have memorial cards, old letters, Victorian birthday cards, diaries and certificates. I just can't help rescuing them from old boxes under tables at car boot sales. I always think one day I may find a family member who would be so pleased to have them back in their possession. I can't bear to think these once precious items may end up being thrown out. Several years ago I bought from household auctions and sold many of the items on ebay or cleaned some up and sold them on for a profit in antique auctions. I would buy large boxes of mixed items, often from house clearances, and then just sort them through. Sometimes it would make me feel so sad. Yesterday when I was looking through a drawer I found something I had put away from one of these house clearance boxes.
It was a purse I had found mixed amongst old china and cutlery. I had forgotten about it but when I saw it I remembered at the time I couldn't bring myself to sell it. Inside the purse were a house key, a library card and a hospital property receipt for this little gold locket made out to Kathleen Davidson and dated September 2000.
The two photos inside are of a little girl and an Edwardian looking gentleman. Was this Kathleen and her Dad I wonder? I have photographed them and I'm going to add them to my website and they are carefully stored with all the other items now in the hope one day a member of Kathleen's family may find them. I felt pleased all day this purse had turned up again.
Eldest son's girlfriend popped round to pick up a parcel that had been delivered here for him as hadn't wanted to be out and miss it. With all the lockdown restrictions I hadn't seen her since last year so we had a lovely chat about all that had been happening. On the doorstep of course but it was better than nothing and still so nice to see her.
When Tom got in from work last night at 9 o'clock and had had such a bad shift. A whole crowd of about thirty youngsters had got on his bus in the evening, refused to pay and refused to wear masks. He had no choice but just to let them get on with it and they were on the bus for about half an hour skating up and down the top deck on scooters. So much for lockdown so many people seem to be ignoring it now. He was really fed up when he got in. I had cooked his favourite scampi and he bought a portion of chips in from the fish and chip shop down the road and after a glass of wine with it he had cheered up no end and was really looking forward to the four days off he has now.
Scarlett is coming this morning so it will be a nice first day of the four off. It definitely looks nice enough to get out for a long walk and maybe even some seed planting in the greenhouse that I been promising her. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx
Wednesday, 24 March 2021
I went to my Dad's to do his shopping yesterday, I sat on the other side of the train so I couldn't see the dead badger, and the day brightened up weather wise as it went on. We filled in Dad's census for him online and he was much less trouble than the rest of my family! There were a couple of questions on the census that set me thinking. One was the section about qualifications and I thought it was really written with today's young people in mind and was pretty irrelevant to a large proportion of the population. Most of the qualifications listed didn't exist when I was at that stage of my life and the "or equivalent" option was pretty irrelevant too. I left school at 16 with six O levels worked in a bank for two years, then became a student nurse, three years later qualifying as a State Registered Nurse as it was called in those days. On the census I jumped from O level to degree level with nothing in between.
My Dad's situation at a few weeks away from 90 is even more far removed. Despite getting a grammar school scholarship and having one of the most brilliant minds I have ever met in any person, he failed his school certificate as he was not good at maths and to pass the certificate in those days you had to pass every part of the exam. As a school leaver of 14 with no qualifications he signed up as a cadet officer in the Merchant Navy and then went on to do his national service at 19 in the Royal Air Force. He excelled so quickly he was promoted to officer cadet and became a pilot which was incredibly rare for anyone on national service. He had to take numerous exams to reach this level and yet according to his census he has no qualifications with just one small box to check for "other". Filling in the census with my Dad really made me realise how much the world has changed. My young life and definitely his, bear little resemblance to that of young people today. Here is a photo of my Dad as a pilot when he was 20.
One question on the census that really has made me count my blessings though was the health question. My family, even me who has been treated for cancer in the last four years, chose the very good health option and my Dad who as I said is a few weeks away from his 90th birthday chose good health saying "There's nothing wrong with me!" . We are very lucky.
I am at home with only dog walking to take me out today but have so many things to keep me occupied as always. It's just trying to get the balance of tedious activities with fun activities. Hopefully if I plan it right the fun ones will win out! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx
Tuesday, 23 March 2021
It as a lovely sunny day yesterday. I caught the train into Sutton first thing to go to Morrisons and it was hard not to feel cheerful despite all these reports of third waves and variants. I thought I'm just getting on with my day and not thinking about it. There is blossom everywhere and that lovely spring feeling. It does seem strange with all the shops, but a few closed. I thought I would pop down to Wilkinson's and see how long the queue was. Luckily it was very short so I went in and bought some dahlia tubers and lily bulbs, by the time I came out the queue stretched to the top of the hill so I had got in just in time.
Morrisons was very quiet and I bought my food shopping and a couple of plants. They has quite a good selection but a lot I hadn't heard of, so I went along the shelf photographing them all so I could do a bit of research when I got home! These are the two I bought. I do love a Fuchsia and the Centaurea looks very pretty and attracts bees too.
Monday, 22 March 2021
I worked for several hours yesterday. Even though it was dry with sunny moments, it was quite cold so I only ventured into the garden to feed the ducks and birds and have a quick tidy up. Many of the new photos I acquired were of the Isle of Wight so I joined an Isle of Wight history group on facebook and submitted some of the photos. Firstly I thought it would be nice for them to have access to them and secondly I wanted some help in identifying them. The clever people in this group managed to identify the places and decided they were taken in the mid 1950s. Photos from a different simpler time, post war so everyone had their own set of problems but better times where on the horizon.
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Yesterday we filled in our census. I filled in the part about the house and my details and then got everyone else to fill in their sections. I wanted it to be them speaking in their own words for the future. I wish I hadn't bothered! When Tom got in from work he moaned about it and said you fill it in. I just ended up asking him the questions "Would you like to be known as British or English" "Either I don't really mind" "Qualifications?" "I can't remember that far back!" and so it went on with frankly no interest at all! Youngest daughter took it much more seriously wanting her descendants to know exactly what she was like and pondering on how every word would be interpreted in the future. She spent so long on her job description I had to remind her she wasn't actually filling in a CV! Then at 10 o'clock at night when everyone else had finished along came youngest son.
Now youngest son is very opinionated and if there is a "bolshie" gene in the family then he has definitely inherited it. He has however inherited a family sense of humour. There is no situation that he doesn't crack a joke about. He is so witty he has a funny aside to add to every conversation. A night out at a pub ends up with tales about every minute of the evening which are always hilarious, he can keep us entertained for hours.
When he sat down at my laptop there was a look in his eye that worried me. "Now remember you can be fined if you aren't serious on this" I said. I'm not actually sure if that is true. "Remember your descendants will be scrutinising this in 100 years" "I couldn't care less what they think of me, I won't be around to see it" Oh dear. Although he reassured me he was just messing with me as he was loving the look on my face, I just know there will be something. One little thing he will have to add to stamp his personality on it. When he finished he said "All done then, I'll press submit." So that is it, it has gone. I'd just like to say to our descendants if there is anything odd on our census, it's nothing to do with me!
The other exciting thing that happened was an anonymous packet was delivered to me. Now when I say anonymous there was a note inside saying they hoped I would find the photos useful, but no address or signature. I have two work websites and one is a photo and social history one full of photos of people and things. A bit like with a census, I feel that every tiny detail in a photo or every little item is a moment in history that should be preserved for the future. So many photos that other people would throw out I scan and store on the website. I usually buy the photos at car boot sales or auctions but some kind people have donated photos to me that they no longer want. These photos that arrived yesterday are so lovely. A mixture of family photos and 1960s holidays. I spent the evening (between census filling) scanning them and I'm really looking forward to adding them to the website. The site is totally free to browse and enjoy the photos, if anyone wants to have a little look UK Photo And Social History Archive
Saturday, 20 March 2021
What a lovely sunny day it turned out to be yesterday. I worked on my website in the morning, and walked the dogs. Everything seems easier when the sun shines! After an early lunch I spent most of the afternoon in the garden, planted some sweet pea seeds and potted up some more seedlings that are getting quite big. Last autumn I planted some crab apple seeds and lots of them have germinated. A whole tray of little crab apple trees. I know lots of experts say that they will never grow true to type, but I love the experiment of seeing how they do turn out and these little plants are totally free and fill gaps in the garden with different shades of foliage. I don't like order around the garden, I love it to look natural and a bit wild but not out of control! It's quite hard to strike the balance. We all laughed when we looked on the aerial map of our road. In a sea of grey terraces, garden furniture and trampolines our garden looked like a little tropical jungle in the middle of it all!
The other day we fixed our wisteria arch. It is rotten in places and I know it will have to be replaced at some point but we are hanging on as it is going to be such a hard job. We mended it with some old shelf supports that were in the shed but as so much of the wood is rotten it is still a bit precarious. The wood pigeons are thrilled and are using it as a landing platform when they fly into the garden, I'm not really sure it is up to their weight! It is hard to imagine looking at it now that it will be a mass of green within six weeks.