Name Change

I had to change my blog name from “” to “ because the original name belongs to me but the blog has been suspended for reasons I know not and I cannot get into it.

This blog is an accurate copy of the original because I had a backup import but the domain address for now is but as far as I am concerned the heading title remains the same.

My own hosted backup domain has been diverted here.

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Chasing Eldorado

I was now self employed and working from a brick built building at the rear of my father’s shop at Colnbrook near Slough in a space about 7 by 5 metres. I was regretting the move away from Phoenix, made in a fit of pique, because I had only one source of income and that was the decoy pigeons.

I desperately tried to find other grp (glass reinforced plastic) products to sell but that wasn’t easy. An attempt was made at a grp fishpond but that was abandoned as being too difficult to market. Flower boxes on wrought iron stands, door canopies – wrought iron supports and translucent corrugated grp. Some of these things were before their time and appeared on the market many years later backed by companies with a budget and not on a shoestring. Continue reading

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The Phoenix Years

I left McMichael Radio to work back on the Slough Trading Estate at the Phoenix Rubber Company. They produced rubber compounds that went into all sorts of products for instance windscreen wiper blades and rubber bonded to metal engine mountings and goodness knows what else. The rubber was sent off to the manufacturers of these products in an uncured state.

They were also big in producing PVC compounds for use in the growing injection moulding industry and also plastic extrusions. They produced their own range of floor tiles especially the heavy duty anti static tiles used in hospitals.

Basically I was taken on as a junior draughtsman. I had my own office next to Mr Schueler’s complete with drawing board, bookshelves, cupboards and good view out of the
window of the girls crossing the railway track and the road from the associated factory opposite.

Did I say girls? Yes, the previous three jobs were, like school, free of females. Now it was different. My job involved roaming around, going across the road to the buyers office, bumping into those various girls and it was there that I met my first girlfriend when I was at the age of nineteen I believe. Well, she had just become sixteen, and I was three years older.

I didn’t realise it at the time but George William Kenneth Schueler was almost like a father to me. He certainly took me under his wing and was probably the only man whom I can say Continue reading

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My First Car

I found an old set of negatives – the old black & white 120 size – in the most unlikely place, almost under my nose in my sitting room. How they got there I don’t know. I held them up to the light and I almost jumped with joy. Lo and behold there was the only negative, the original, the only picture ever taken of my first car. The print of this I can Continue reading

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From Pigeon to Canary

From my first job to my second took only a couple or three weeks. I had signed on for unemployment benefit but that amounted to just over £2 a week – and that was the rate for a grown man in those days!

My next job was again in a drawing office, again in the aircraft industry. I suppose my one GCE was a help in getting those drawing office jobs. What I learned at Self Priming Pumps (SPE) on the Slough Trading Estate was that it could be an incredibly boring, unfulfilling Continue reading

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Tea Boy to Rock ‘n Roll

We cannot have been living in Old Windsor for long, it was about August 1956 and just a couple of months from school that my father arranged my first job. As area supervisor for Melias he used to visit the Egham shop on a regular basis.

Next to the shop there was a door marked Westbury Products and up a flight of stairs was a drawing office. He arranged for me to take my first job there on the basis that I had a GCE in Geometrical & Engineering Drawing. I don’t think I  had much say in the matter I turned up and was employed as a junior/trainee draughtsman for the sum of £2 a week. Continue reading

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School Years#3/2

In all the time I attended that school my mother gave me the bus fare to get there and back. It was probably a couple of pence per journey but I always walked, whatever the weather, there and back. It was probably a couple of miles each way down the steep hill of Quarry Hill Road, along Roundhay Road and up Harehills Road.

The saved bus fare paid for one of the few pleasures;  at morning break time we would stampede down the stairs to a neighbouring bakers shop where we would rush to get an early place in the queue for penny “breadies”. Freshly baked and warm they were round and flattish and enjoyed with our pre-Thatcher gill of milk – a gill being a third of a pint.

It’s hard to believe that all school children were supplied with a daily gill until sometime in the 1970’s but it happened, presumably introduced after the second world war as part of other measures to improve the health of children.

Apart from rushing to buy penny “breadies” break times would see a sort of market place in the lower playground. Boys were swapping and selling comics, marbles and other things. This was an activity that I was very much involved in and I was particularly Continue reading

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School Years#3/1

I described Harehills Secondary Modern as anything but modern in School Years #2 and as it was built in 1897 it hadn’t changed much or should I say no improvements had been made when I attended from 1951 to 1956. That included the toilets which were at the top of the school yard, the urinals in the open air with no roof. A visit during class time meant going down three flights of stairs and up the yard – in all weathers – so was to be avoided unless it was an emergency.


Entrance marked as “Girls”

There were no girls toilets because there were no girls it was an all boys school although there were two entrances one with “girls” engraved in stone and the other with “boys”. Circa the late forties it was previously known as Gipton Board School and perhaps there were girls then.

Consequently I had no contact with girls during my early teenage years. I didn’t know of any youth clubs in the area and the only girls I knew lived across the road from home and the only contact with them was some mild flirting with scribbled notes. I don’t remember any face to face contact. This must have been a huge disadvantage for my generation in socialising with the opposite sex. On the other hand such things when at school were somewhat in the background which must have been a benefit for learning. I do believe that sexual matters these days take up a lot of time with young people.

Continue reading

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School Years#2

When I went to junior school – Talbot Road C.P – sometime around 1948/9 I was a strong reader and knew my times tables, learned by rote, as I said earlier,  up to the 12 times. My spelling and comprehension was well up no doubt because I was an avid reader of books at the age of 9 or 10, the earliest being Enid Blyton’s Famous Five followed by W.E. John’s Biggles, Richmal Crompton’s Just William and J. Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons which I loved.

I remember being in Miss Day’s office – the headmistress – with my mother and being told that I should be a farmer. The details are sketchy but I think she meant farmer’s labourer and was suggesting I was thick. It must have been early in the year probably 1951 and I was not due to take my 11 plus exam until the following year – over a years time from then. Continue reading

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School Years #1

The first time I attended school was at the age of five and as I said previously that was at Yapton in Sussex. As I said marmalade tart was part of the school lunch one day. I remember absolutely nothing more.

We returned to our council house home in Leeds sometime in September , I assume. I attended infants school in Harehills Lane. At the age of five I was expected to make my own way to and from school. This involved crossing a main road, Harehills Lane, without the aid of a lollypop man/woman. I don’t think “school crossing patrols” existed for quite Continue reading

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Fish, Spratts, Barbed Wire & Trikes

During the war years my mother used to  make a trip to Sunderland by train and visit her Aunts Cissie and Sally and then her Mother-in – Law, Esther (nee Hopps) at Wingate, a pit village just a few miles away. On the other hand most places in that part of Co. Durham were colliery villages, the area was riddled with them.

We started the journey from Leeds Central Station and I have a memory of the always pungent smell of fish as we stood on the platform. In those days fish was transported around the country by train from the fishing ports and was no doubt in wartime an important source of protein. Continue reading

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Memories Like Snapshots

Writing about the 1940’s as I have been is quite an exercise. Some memories I will never forget they are engraved deep on my brain whilst sometimes – rarely – a new memory will emerge as I trawl the depths. Memories of many years ago are just like snapshots. I think the earliest ones from the age of 2 up to about 11 are of the snapshot variety. Anything after that may have more depth and detail.

I asked my mother what I was doing on VE day,  on the day of the 60th Anniversary. She needed coaxing because her long term memory was deteriorating. Her short term memory was almost gone altogether. Continue reading

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On Being A War Baby

The day I was born the second world war had been under way for some 10 months, the army had been rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, and Hitler was making preparations to invade. Operation Sea Lion as it was called was poised to be launched, the barges were being loaded in the channel ports and the British public were fearfully expecting the Germans to be landed on our beaches at any time.

There was one thing left to be done and they thought it was a mere formality; they had to take control of the skies above England. As the Luftwaffe had easily subdued the air forces of the rest of Europe they had every reason to believe England would be no different. Continue reading

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Antigone, June 1996 – September 2015

Antigone died yesterday between 16:15 and 16:30, aged 19 years and 3 months. She was euthanised on my say so over the phone. I did not say goodbye because she was 15 miles away at the PDSA.

I feel bad about that because I always protected her. Telling the vet to do the deed was difficult with an emotional, shaky voice. When I put the phone down I shed more tears than when my mother died but then the reason for that becomes clear from the previous posting regarding my mother’s death. Continue reading

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Mother Dies

Mother died on June 14th, 2011 at the age of 94. I am not sure why she died or why she was admitted to hospital in the first place just 14 days or so earlier. One thing is certain – going into hospital at that age, whatever the reason is tantamount to a death sentence.

I was not informed by my brother that she had been admitted to hospital and discovered only by ringing round the hospitals to see if she had been. That was 10 days after admittance. When I turned up to visit her he was there, looking very ill at ease. I said we had to talk, open up a line of communication. He didn’t want to do that, and would communicate through a third party.

I suggested we forgot about bygones (again) but he didn’t want to know.

About a week later the hospital rang at  11pm to say that she had a fall would I be visiting. As she was 50 miles away I said no not that night. There was no indication of any urgency. A doctor rang an hour later and said she may not make it through the night. Just as well I didn’t drive 50 miles in the early hours or I would have met the brother as he lives locally to the hospital. He was there when she died, which was appropriate – adoring son sees out adoring mother.

He later asked by e-mail if I wanted to arrange the funeral. I said no, he could do it.

She was after all, his mother more than mine as he became number one son when he was born 10 years after me. I don’t remember any affection from my mother ever. What I do remember is a biting tongue and nastiness. That only stopped when she was put on anti phsycotic drugs when she was diagnosed with senile dementia 9 years ago.

Anyway, it’s the end of an era and I still feel a sadness – just occasionally – despite how I feel but the good thing is that I don’t have to have any further contact with the brother. Maybe I wouldn’t anyway because I hear he’s on the way out.

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Goose Fair

I am posting on this blog but it may not be noticed because in order for them to follow previous articles sequentially I am pre dating them.

As for now, well there isn’t much to say. It is Goose Fair day in Tavistock today. Hundreds of stalls lining the Plymouth road, the same cheap Chinese imports the usual traffic chaos.

Goose FairStrangely enough geese do have something to do with it. They are auctioned every year at this time since the 13th century.

It’s always a good thing to have plenty in on Goosy Fair day because it becomes very difficult to get across town to Morrisons supermarket. A quick downhill slide to Christmas always follows Goose Fair.

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Loose Ends

I’m sorting through cine film and pics I took in the early 60’s with a view to completing my film making efforts for that era. Amongst my group of friends I was the only one taking colour pics let alone 8mm cine in the early 60’s so I have some interesting stuff that they might want to see.

The fact that I was the only one using cine or taking pics was not because I was well off. On the contrary. It was just different priorities with scarce resources. A 3 minute cine film would cost me half of my weekly wage of £

In the last posting I was wondering where my first love Julie, was now. I happened to be searching the electoral roll, for which I paid £3.95 for an hour’s use – and I took a long shot and tried for a couple of others – to get my money’s worth, so to speak. Well, I was amazed that I was able to find Julie in one go, and I had a pleasant conversation with her husband of 40 years.

I then did a second search for Barry, whom Julie knew too, and I found him living just 30 miles or so from me. We had a couple of amazing conversations with each of us having the same and sometimes different memories of those times. No doubt we will meet soon.

The whole point of that exercise was to see if they wanted copies of the cine on DVD. Barry featured in most of the stuff up until 1963 and in fact the only reason that I appear on film is that Barry was quite a good cameraman – an important point when film cost was the equivalent of £80 for 3 minutes in todays wages.

The pic above from left to right. Me, Julie, Barry.

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Julia Wendoline Green Where Are You?

Julia Wendoline Green from Slough was my first love. She was sixteen and I was 3 years older. We went out together for 4 and a half years. It ended when I had to declare a new love, Christine, whom I married in 1965.

It broke my heart breaking the news to Julia – or Julie as she liked to be known  – just as it probably broke hers. Whether it was the right thing to do, well, I will never know. The marriage to Christine lasted 25 years. Julie and I were undoubtedly heading for the altar if events had not happened. Would it have lasted, would we be growing old together? Probably not, I’m not easy to live with.

Has Julie had a happy life with Myles Taylor her soldier husband? Did she have lots of babies and subsequently lots of grandchildren? Can’t help wondering. There’s one thing for sure, I would not recognise her now, nor her me. Time will have taken it’s toll on sweet sixteen and handsome young nineteen.

Things were different in those days, so no we didn’t. Girls wore cast iron knickers then, and Christine, my wife to be, was no exception. It all seems a bit silly today when you consider just ten years later the girls were at it like rabbits. Those ‘girls’, now in their mid fifties will confess to multiple pre-marital sexual relationships or encounters, I know, I’ve had a few of them. Unfortunately the bloom of youth had long passed by then, because it was when I was in my fifties that I ‘sowed the wild oats’ that I couldn’t when I was young.

As for Julia Wendoline Taylor (nee’ Green) I have quite a lot of cine film footage of her in the bloom of her youth and it would be nice to send her a video of it all. She never saw it in the first place – I didn’t have a projector until later.

Posted in 1950's, time flies, women | Leave a comment

The Golden Age

The Daily Express published an item about 1976 because 30 years on we have another long hot summer. The interesting part was the comparison of a few typical prices:

  • 1976                                                      2006            x Factor
  • Average House Price

    £12,415                                            £190,051           15.3

  • Loaf of Bread

    23p                                                        £1                   4.35

  • Petrol

    18p per litre                                         98p                  5.44

  • Beer

    25p                                                     £2.40                 9.60

In 1970 we bought a 4 bedroomed detached house with double garage for £6,500. I was earning around £2,500 a year with company car supplied. So, for just under 3 times my earnings I could buy a house. Mortgages were no problem. With average house prices coming upto £200,000 here in the South West I pity the young people today.

Furthermore the new house we bought in 1970, in Wells, Somerset, had a large front and back garden. The back garden I landscaped and built a swimming pool with patio areas, rockery, garden pond, lawns, and a huge vegetable garden. We sold the house in 1978 for £23,000 in order to move to the ‘Good Life’ in Cornwall. That was a mistake and another story.

Today the average new houses are built so close together you could NOT swing a cat between the houses and only just, in the garden. In fact it must be hell in the summer when windows are open and the noise from families packed 30 to the hectare (just over 2 acres) are playing music, screaming kids etc.

There’s no doubt about it the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s really were the Golden Age, never again to be repeated. Then along came Thatcher and society changed in all ways for the worse although we didn’t really think so at the time as the previous Labour Government had made a mess of things too.

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Things I Regret #1

If it was possible to turn the clock back and change things these are some of the things I regret and either would do differently or not do at all

(1) Rearing commercial rabbits in the early eighties, and taking anything upto 3 dozen at a time to a commercial (rabbit) slaughterhouse and processing plant. I also feel the same way about the calves I hand reared . The thought of the day I loaded them on a lorry for slaughter fills me with remorse and guilt.

(2) After the ‘good life’ experience I started a computer company. Everything was OK until I employed or became associated with the following people:

Maurice Symonds
Mike Roberts
Peter Malcolm
Chris Swallow
Frank Morris
My Brother

I was stupid and too naive. Most of them cheated and swindled me to the extent that the company folded in 1985. I will write further on all of these matters in due course.

(3) After the computer company collapse I was left with nothing to do. In desperation I once again started a business to make glassfibre products only this time I wanted to use the latest technology. I went to Alan Harper of Plastech who was selling RTM (resin transfer moulding) technology. I spent thousands developing an 8 foot dinghy. It was too complicated to be made and sold in quantity.

Alan Harper just wanted me to do it so he could tell other people it could be done and produce photographs at his seminars. He didn’t advise me ‘to keep it simple’ – which is what he should have done and what I should have done if I had known. If I had, and I made a 9′ runabout instead I would be wealthy by now. By the time I realised what I should have done it was too late. I ran out of money and that was part of the reason why I ended up in a rented property.

(4) I left my wife in 1984 for 5 months to go off with my office manager, Judith Freeguard. She thought she was on to a good thing and I was again naive. I regret that very much for the hurt it caused. I returned to the family home but we were divorced in 1991. That I do not regret and it was for other reasons anyway but I cannot visualise being married to her now.

(5) I regret wearing my hair long and in a pony tail. It was probably something to do with a complete life and belief change but it was stupid.

(6) Part of the life and belief change was a change of job; I became manager of a hostel for homeless young people. The requirement was that I lived in a flat on site. We owned two semi detached houses having moved from an expensive riverside house in Cornwall. My wife lived in one and I lived in the other. I still had a semi detached 3 bedroom house in Calstock. I should have hung onto that house come what may. Instead it was sold for £10,000 less than we paid for it because I was fed up with trying to keep tenants in there. Better to keep it empty or get better tenants.

I will be writing in detail at another time about all of the things I regret as above. I am sure there are more to be added to the list.

Posted in 1980's, time flies