August 18th 23:00 Careful what you wish for.

August 18th23:00    Careful what you wish for.

        I am old enough to remember, the whisper going around town, of some bacon in ‘Denyers’, a local grocer, and of the queue of ladies, that quickly formed outside, hoping to have a few rashers, before Mr Denyer would say “That’s all folks, it’s all gone”.

Of course it will all be different when we leave the EU; the ladies will be sitting in their cars in a queue outside the overflowing ‘Tesco’ car park, now full of other shoppers sitting in cars, who have driven there from miles around, just because someone said there was some bacon in stock.

That all depends, of course, on whether they were able to find some petrol to drive there in the first place.

OK, that’s a bit fanciful. It wouldn’t be like this……………..would it?

 The truth is no one knows!

August 17th 2019, 01:30….If I was a rich man.

August 17th2019, 01:30…..If I was a rich man.

I have found, the quickest way of losing a friend, is to paint their portrait.

Another good way is to discuss politics.

But, in todays world it is impossible to avoid.

The thing is—and it is only my opinion—the politicians we have in our once proud little country, are like puppets, controlled by a few ‘newspapers’.

The owners of these papers, are only interested in preserving the wealth of the country, in the hands of a few people.

 These same people, have no interest in the wealth and well being of the rest of us.

Once upon a time, our little group of islands, really was Great Britain, we punched above our weight.

There are moments, of course, not to be proud of what we did, but we gave the world many of the better standards that the rest of the the world take for granted now. 

Now these ‘buccaneers’ are willing to break us apart, for one very good reason.

They are terrified of having to pay their share of the taxes that we ordinary people have no choice but to do.

So scared are they, of having to do this, they are quite happy to forego the very generous subsidies they receive from the EU— just for owning great swathes of land in our country.

It was not always like this, some very wealthy manufacturers, ploughed some of their profits—admittedly from the poor working conditions that were normal at that time—into model towns with wonderful parks and such like, solely for their workers.

In my home town of Chertsey, a wonderful park—St Annes Hill—was given to the people of the town to enjoy.

Can you imagine any, any, employer doing that now?

So, don’t blame the politicians that we have at the moment, they know not what they do.        

August 9th 22:00 That hole in the desk.

August 9th22:00  That hole in the desk.

Normally, my stories are my own, but this one happened while I was absent, and I only heard it second hand.

Stepgate’s, !944; 

 Our teacher was Miss James, a rather ‘jolly hockey sticks’ sort of a woman.

She was also the girl’s sports teacher, voluptuous in her sports split skirt and white blouse.

This did not go un-noticed by the more, worldly boys, and there were lots of giggles and rude remarks.

But one day, Miss James, had the upper hand.

One very forward boy—who I won’t name—in case he is still about, who was one of the ring leaders, managed to jam his thumb in the little hole, that is meant for cleaning the inside of the desk—in case you have ever wondered.

Apparently, he tried everything to free his thumb, but it would not budge.

Eventually he had to ask Miss James for help.

Miss James made the most of it, calling in Miss Weller to help this poor helpless boy, with the whole class gathered around laughing and jeering, they tried to free the boy, but, still it wouldn’t move. 

She then had to call the wood-work teacher, who came with a ‘Key-hole’ saw, and very carefully managed to cut a perfect Key-hole, and finally the boy was shared any more blushes.

I am told that he was never heard to tease Miss James again.

As if it was impossible to make matters worse for the poor kid.

I was later told it was not his thumb that was jammed in the hole!!   

July the 4th 12:15………Friends.

July the 4th12:15……. Friends.

  In a recent post, I wrote of the amount of time that children spend on their computers or smart phones.

I have a confession to make, I am addicted to my computer!! 

I, like many others of my age, have suddenly found a way of ‘meeting’ new friends. I feel as if I know them all personally.

During most of my life, I have had only a handful of friends, plus a few neighbours and work-mates, with whom I would have had a conversation of any length.

 Can anyone imagine, then, having a conversation lasting more than a few minutes about pram’s? Maybe, with one or two friends, but here we have comments from more than a dozen responders, about their favourite make of pram or how they loved their trolley or go-carts, eventually made from them. 

All this made possible by that pesky computer, or one of these new fangled smart phones.

I don’t know what the world is coming to! 

August 3rd 01:30 Perambulators

August 3rd01:30 Perambulators. 

Perambulators, or to give them their normal name; ‘Prams,’ are really amazing things, they have such an extended life, I can’t think of another every-day item in most people’s homes that are used in so many different ways, as the humble pram.

You could tell how well off a family was by the size of the wheels on the pram, not only did they have very large wheels, the back wheels were bigger than the front ones, such as The Marmet, a very fine coach built affair and very expensive, or The Silver Cross, another brilliant design and very popular.

 Large wheelers were for the people up Ruxbury Hill, or St Anne’s Road.

Sometimes one of theses desirable vehicles would find it’s way down to ‘Apache’ country, and be highly prized, as they were so easy to push. The large wheels also allowed a large tray to be fitted under the body, perfect for the shopping. 

 Chertsey was a baby factory, large families were the norm; at one time these family prams must have been new, but I can only remember old ones, a little past their best.

One pram could be used by several families, going backward and forward between them as new children arrived, no one seemed to own them, they were communal.

Eventually the plastic interior would start to crack and crumble, and they would start to smell—always like condensed milk for some unknown reason— and the pram would take on it’s next life, it was the perfect shape for logs, coke or anything heavy, that needed carrying any distance.

Once the coachwork had been worn beyond any safe use, it would have been stripped down for a trolley for the kids, the spring arms were perfect for holding on to when we were daring enough to hurtle down St Annes hill.

Then there was the commercial use, cheaper ones with a metal body, were prized by the muffin man, he could put a little pile of glowing coke in the bottom, to heat his muffins, it’s a wonder it didn’t go up in flames. He would be out for several hours in the evenings, around our streets, ringing his bell, in the same way as todays ice cream men do.

Another man would sell winkles and cockles, measured out in a pint jug, again from an old pram, not very hygienic, but no one seemed to be the worse for it, perhaps we were all immune to a bit of dirt in those days.  

Of course, as these families did all their shopping in Chertsey, they were perfect, but when Staines or even Addlestone began to have a better variety of shops; The folding push chair such as the McLaren was king, but to us kids, no way near as useful. 

Eventually, just the wheels and axles were used on a plank of wood with a bit of rope to steer; Such a simple fun making device, so much better than playing alone on some computer game.

August the 2nd 22:00.

I have been in Manchester, for about three months, and only now, have I sorted my things out.

Who would have thought, that a boy living in Chertsey, just after the war, with just one set of clothes, would now at the age of 87, be embarrassed by having two many pairs of trousers? ………Seventeen pairs to be precise! 

 Not only that, but what about all the shirts, socks, pants and god only knows what else?

 The simple truth is, that I never throw anything away,

OK, I have really lost any hope, that my lovely pair of flared jeans, may, one day come back in fashion. But on the other hand if I do actually throw them out, you can bet they will be all the rage immediately.

Mind you, I haven’t got the bum for them now. In fact, my legs look as if they are attached to my shoulder blades, without anything to fill the back of my trousers!

  This habit of hoarding, that most men have, and certainly in my case, goes back to the time, just after the war, when we only had one set of clothes.

My brother Bernard came home, after being demobbed, with a lovely light grey, double breasted, worsted wool suit. I don’t think he ever wore it, he was a very quiet man, and hardy left the house, due to his war experiences in France. 

This lovely, light grey, double breasted, worsted wool suit, was given to me, it was my first suit of any sort let alone one such as this.

I thought I was the bee’s knees, I looked dashing complete with my white plimsolls, heavy with several coats of white Blanco, and open necked shirt.

But, like so many things that look wonderful one day, the suit soon lost the factory crispness that it once had, the first thing I noticed was that the lapels started to droop, no matter what I did they just hung down, as if they were very sad, which in fact the whole suit must have been, everything just drooped.

A year later, I am back to one set of clothes, not at all suitable for a visit to Mr Croft, the dentist, next to the Town Hall.

Now my other brother comes to the rescue, Don was in the Army Cadets, and had a full uniform, there was a slight problem, he was of average build, and I was freakishly tall, nothing really fitted.

The other option was to wear my sister Chris’s Land army uniform, that would have been a better fit, apart from her breeches, the last thing I wanted was to look ridiculous.

So, when Miss Chase—who had been very kind to our family during the bad times—came to collect me in her Rolls Royce Shooting Break, I was very smart in Don’s uniform, albeit a bit tight.

I will never forget the dentists look of astonishment when I walked into his surgery, I must have looked a bit odd.

July 30th 19:00. Wood Burners.


  Last week, it was so hot—even here in Manchester! That I was seeking some shade, luckily there are plenty of large trees surrounding our home.  Now it is so cold and wet—as it is in most parts of the country, that, Amanda, thought we should light the wood burner in the kitchen.

That made me think of the amount of wood that was used for heating years ago.

It was quite a business in Chertsey, we had Mr Johnson’s small wood yard at the end of Chelsey Green, specialising in fire wood and logs, delivering all over the area.

   George Cawley’s much larger business, also selling logs, and involved in tree felling and a large saw mill for producing large planks of timber, which was stacked in the adjacent field to season.

  As a child, I remember going to see Mrs Cawley, with my mother—I believe the Cawley family lived in Pyrcroft road, and remained friends with my mother. I was friends with Roy, their youngest son. Now they lived in a bungalow next to the wood yard.  It was paradise for me, Roy had a pedal car with pump up tyres!! and they had an old car in a barn which was our playground—to have a car in any condition, must have meant the business was flourishing.

The river Bourne flowed past the house under ‘The New Bridge’, another playground for us kids, Mr Cawley widened the Bourne into a large pool beneath an over hanging tree with a rope for swinging.

After the war ended, while I and Roy were in the garden having a swing, we saw one of the Cawley boys come home from the war, with his big kitbag, It was amazing to see, even Mr Cawley, who was as hard a man as you could ever meet, break down and cry.

A few years later, I, like a lot of the local boys, worked at Cawleys, but only very briefly, after I saw a man cut three of his fingers off on a circular saw, this was an occupational hazard—as they say. 

In the nearby Johnson wood yard, Mr Johnson’s sons had all lost a couple of fingers at various times.

 I started to think I should seek safer employment after that.