Winter is upon us once again. I wonder what the next few months have in store for us weather-wise?
It has been a tad chilly these last few days and nights after our mostly mild December.
I have been given permission to publish this article written by Frank Shenton. Makes interesting reading!
Mid 1980s - Rudloe Manor, Wiltshire - In the office of the criminal investigators working for the RAF Special Investigation Branch Southern Region Headquarters, my desk was up against one wall next to that of a colleague’s and together we shared a single telephone.
Why does the story of the Titanic still have the power to move us, even though it happened more than a hundred years ago?
On 23rd February 2016, Ian Soulsby, a former 'Snowdrop' who had served with the RAF Police, passed away. Several years earlier, Ian had contacted the author to share some of his memories of his time in the RAF. This one story was included in the condolences on the private Facebook Group 'Snowdrops Gone but not Forgotten'.
So the question was what was the first job we had. Probably the first unpaid job I had was weeding and stoning our garden for my Dad but if we are talking paid work then my first job was a big surprise. I wasn’t looking for it, nor was I interviewed.
I am delighted to be the winner of Eric Lennick's book, A Life Worth Living! Here is a story of one of my first childhood memories. It is of our two little kittens, Jonathan and Josephine.
It is a clear cold November 5th sometime in the late 1950’s. I stood with my father and mother watching with, frosty clouds of bated breath, my elder brother Willie von Braun proudly preparing his rocket for take-off.
I married Paul in September 1999 when I was thirty-six years old, and although this was my second marriage, it felt more real than my first, and this time, I really wanted to get married.
I recently read a short memoir by Kirsty Grant about the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers. It was titled Collapse. She posted her recollection on her website and invited readers to reply with their own memories of that terrible day. This was my memory..
Seven Facts you didn’t know about Lesley Cookman: 1. I was taken up in a glider over Delhi. 2. I was asked to audition as a Bunny Girl at the Playboy Club. (I didn't) 3. I was hoiked out of a car by armed soldiers one night in Lagos. 4. My dad was one half of a nightclub act. 5. I was once the editor of "The Call Boy", the magazine of The British Music Hall Society, and met many of the "greats". (Taken in to dinner by Norman Wisdom.) 6. I worked briefly at Butlins in Clacton. 7. I won the RSPCA regional story prize two years running when I was at school.
As you know, on the 3rd of September, 1939, war was declared. Eric has hand-written his autobiography 'A LIFE WORTH LIVING' and I've typed and tweaked it for him. It will, hopefully, be published shortly. Hereunder is an excerpt:-
Chickens And A Man-Eating Rabbit. Or How My Mother Fed A Family Of Six When Food Was Still On Ration
I rolled up my sleeves, screwed up my eyes and stretched my arm into the cupboard under the stairs. Feeling around in the darkness my hand found the shallow dish but as I touched the cold gloopy liquid I screamed. I was about six years old and had been sent by my mother to get some eggs out of the dish of water-glass under the stairs.
Adding to my last story, I thought you may be interested in how it all came about, the marriage I mean.
My learner, Jovi, a Filipino, arrived back from his driving test scuffing the kerb, then managed to pull up so far from the pavement that a drawbridge would have been useful. I waited, watching through the windscreen as Jovi sat impassively while the examiner reeled off his faults and told him he had failed.
My grandson, following the Yorkshire male rite of passage, is about to learn to play cricket. He is following in the footsteps of his father who, when he isn't watching the ups and downs of the English cricket team, coaches my grandson's football team.
One of the finest ways to enjoy the outstanding beauty of Britain’s countryside is to take a slow, meandering cruise along the network of canals and rivers that make up Britain’s waterways.
My granddaughter, when she was seven or eight gave an impromptu violin performance at family barbecue. It was an instrument that she had recently started to learn at school. She stood, with remarkable confidence on the garden decking in front of an audience of friends and relatives sprawled in chairs on the lawn.
The first days of peace whizzed by: adapting work schedules, newsreels (no tv), and Japanese conflict. Atomic bombs were terrifying, but 15th August became VJ Day.
I've been listening to my granddaughter talk excitedly about her new teacher; he announces the end of lessons by playing a trumpet! She will remember this wonderful teacher all her life. When I was about her age I had a memorable teacher.
Over the years, you come across in teaching, some memorable students and the odd one or two you want to forget! When I went to teach in Brussels, it was from the sublime to the ridiculous, having gone from an inner city comprehensive to a school where the fees were higher than Eton.
My wartime memories are still vivid: On 6th June1944 rumours bounced around the Pharmaceutical Company that paid me the princely sum of one pound four shillings pw as filing clerk. The News at Six was exciting. We had invaded France. It really was the Beginning of the End but, with many cousins in uniform, my prayer list was full.
When my father died, my mother proved incapable of living on her own. Left to her own devices in Roslyn, near Edinburgh, she stalked her GP, Dr Pope, phoning him at five in the morning with imaginary ailments. Dr Pope, desperately seeking a quiet life, contacted me, pleading that I do something.
It's a memory that has stayed with me for over half a century. It was 1958 and coming to the end of the school year.
While I was stationed with the RAF Police at RAF Marham in Norfolk in 1983, the conversation one day in the Sergeant's Mess centred around the subject of practical jokes.
One of my early memories of my schooldays is of a flickering film in a classroom in a small school in Lasswade, Scotland.
Remember your first date? Were you nervous? I was absolutely terrified. I remember it like it happened yesterday.
I was eight at the time. Southampton had been decimated during the days of the Blitz
My father, Bill Chambers, joined up in January 1940 and spent the next five years as a Sapper, a private in the Royal Engineers.
On September 1st 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Two days later on September 3rd, Britain declared war on Germany. So started World War 2.
In 1939 war broke out between Germany and Great Britian and I was still in domestic service. When Dunkirk came along, it was very distressing to see the soldiers returning from France, lying along the footpaths at Wickersley in rags. They looked dreadful. It upset me very much to see them so I decided to ask dad if I could join the army. He was dead against it. I pestered him so much that he eventually gave in and said "yes".
My name is Steve Davies and I served in the Royal Air Force Police for 25 years between 1975 and 2000, mainly with the SIB. For the past 23 years, I have been researching and writing up the history of the RAF Police, and have, to date, published a number of books on the subject.
Soon after we moved into our Ledbury home we started hosting occasional weekend visits from our oldest grandson (then 4 years old), then later with his brother Joey (2 years old). These were always (deliberately) designed to give them some new experiences that their busy, city-dweller mum and dad had neither the opportunity nor time to replicate during their normal day-to-day family life.
‘Excuse me can you tell me where the school is? Mum stopped and asked. The woman pointed to a low, long building not too far away. ‘Thank you.’
When my oldest two children, Mike and Sarah, were still at Infant and Junior school respectively, a few years before we moved over here, they both experienced their first countryside holiday.
Summer holidays were always old-fashioned affairs in our family, reminiscent of my own childhood. The simple pleasures in life are worth far more than money could ever buy.
We (Judith and I) were looking after Harrison (one of our grandsons), and planned to take him to see his first pantomime in Hereford. And so our arrangements with his mom and dad included looking after him the night before, then taking Harrison to his very first (pre) Christmas pantomime
On reading about one woman's ridiculously expensive birthday party for her child, I thought back to when my two daughters were young and I had to plan two parties seventeen days apart as they were both born in November, so lots of baking, cooking, jellies and trifle to be made and party games to plan.
I've lost count of how many vehicles (cars and motorcycles) I've owned over the years, but usually only one or two at a time.
I found a photograph this morning of when I was in the paper,re the end of Crossroads! We went to Tewkesbury for a reunion, and I have some photos of us standing behind the Crossroads sign.
This is a true memory when I was about age seven or eight years of age.
'Our Kath. Go outside to coal'ouse and get bucket of coal,' my father said. (I should add that we were northerners, from the UK, hence the phrasing of this sentence)
When I first met my wife Judith, her father Bill Chambers was a wheelchair-bound pensioner with a lively sense of humour and full of stories about his experiences during WWII (which I'm sure you'll read more about via Judith's 'Bill's War Blogs').
Age 17 years,two months, three days and my first car had been bought and delivered. A Ford Prefect, green, two doors, three gears and I drove it to Newquay with my best friend. A seven hour journey with no motorways. After checking the oil, the tyres, the break fluid and having a full tank of petrol, I bid goodbye to my anxious mum and set off on my own feeling VERY grown up indeed!
I recently moved house and one day while unpacking and sorting through various boxes and bags that had been hastily packed away I found myself being distracted by photos, cards and momento's that had not been looked at for many years.
My father was a gardener and in the late 1940's and early 1950's, he worked in the gardens of a big house on the outskirts of Preston, Lancashire.
Caroline Saunders liked to dabble in palmistry. When she had a few drinks she could be persuaded to do this party trick. She preferred to read palms of people she didn't know, or at least those she didn't know very well, so she couldn't be accused of, 'ah, well you knew that about me anyway.'
'He's very quiet...' I mouthed the words to my husband, having checked that our latest house-guest was comfortable in the back of the car. On the journey home, I mused on his Oriental handsomeness...
THE journey which Rosa Blanche Williams made on her pony to Hay Market once a week would take her across some unforgiving territory. From Pant Farm at Rhulen the ten miles were a switchback route over Llanbedr Hill and down to Painscastle, back up and over The Begwns to Clyro and across the River Wye at Hay Bridge.
I recently came across a box full of old letters. They were passed to me a couple of years ago but, at the time, I didn't read them as I knew it would be such a mammoth task. But rediscovering them, I became transfixed.
As shown by Jan's post on Facebook, buttons and button tins evoke lots of memories for many people. As in this case, the memories of childhoods spent rummaging in grandmother's or mother's old button tins. Even though I had no memories of the buttons I found in my grandma's tin I still enjoyed looking at them and sorting them and spent many a wet afternoon doing just that.
I was born with a rare and complicated heart and lung condition and was never able to run around and play as other children did. Children can be cruel, and I was often bullied and made fun of.
Nursery Life In The 60's - Lego, Beswick Farm Animals, Matchbox Cars, Barbie Dolls, Enid Blyton And Ladybird Picture Books!
My mother, Mary Laughton 10.4.22 - 1.9.16 R I P, has dictated this article to me.
After working on the Queen Mary as a hairdresser for three and a half years, I was transferred to the Mauretania, a smaller vessel which sailed back and forth to New York for six months of the year but every December stayed in new York for six months, making several two week cruises around the West Indies and one three week cruise around the Mediterranean, returning to the UK in May.
When I was twenty four, I wanted to get away from home. Having come from a sea faring family, I wrote to the Cunard Company and said I would like to work for them as a hairdresser on board one of their liners and asked for an interview. Could they please make it on a Wednesday afternoon, my half day! I did mention my uncle's name as he was one of their executive chefs and I thought it might help my case.