Trains were a major feature of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I’d actually been on a train before my first birthday, but I do know that I had already travelled from the south east of England all the way to the Highlands, a journey that, even today, would be likely to take the best part of a day.
Even when we returned to live in the south a few years later we didn’t own a car so my father commuted to London by train and underground each day, and any holiday we took tended to feature traditional black cabs and card games played in waiting rooms at railway junctions.
Continue reading “train of thought”
I was brought up in a time before coffee shops.
Well, not entirely before coffee shops, but certainly before the global phenomenon of American chains with their skinny ventis, Americanos, and tall decaf drips.
There were tea shops in my childhood – both independents and the ubiquitous ABCs; and I have fond memories of Saturday afternoons spent in the Kardomah in Nottingham. But children were given nursery tea, while coffee was a drink for adults; even then, it was as likely to be Maxwell House as anything. (Our kitchen did have a bottle of Camp Coffee tucked away, but although I remember the intense smell of chicory of the inky brown liquid, I think it was only brought out to make coffee cakes, not to serve as a drink for guests.)
Continue reading “milking it”
Today I bought nectarines in the market. Five big, dark fruits that will need several days before they’re anywhere near ready for eating. Five fruits that cost me £2.50.
As I walked home, I was thinking that if they ripen properly, they will be well worth it, but if, like so much produce these days, they ripen unevenly, or rot before they are truly ripe, I won’t be very happy: after all, they cost ten shillings a piece, and that is a lot of money.
I’m not sure what triggered that reversion to old money, nor quite what path it was that my thoughts followed past the old-fashioned rambling rose draped over the wall to the fruit-filled memories of childhood.
Continue reading “assorted fruit”
Bank Holiday weekend gives me the opportunity to write an extra blog post.
While looking for something else entirely in my old files a few days ago, I came across a series of short prose pieces; I had forgotten writing them, but recognised them all, as they were based – some quite closely – on free-verse poems I’ve written.
One piece in particular has gone back and forth between poetry and prose a number of times since it originated as a children’s story nearly thirty years ago, being adapted to different forms and lengths depending on how and where I was going to use it.
Continue reading “a memory”
Finding a broken bicycle chain in the street today sent my mind spinning back into the past, when, many, many years ago I was employed through a temp agency during the Easter vacation to work in the Toy Division office at the TI Raleigh factory.
It was my first job and I enjoyed it so much that I was delighted to go back in the summer, this time employed directly by the company. It was only a holiday job, so I can’t really have worked there very long, particularly as there would have been a “factory fortnight” in August. It’s surprising, then, just how many thoughts and memories that chain has triggered.
Continue reading “links to the past”
Wednesday was the 21st of June – the solstice and the start of summer. Which means today is the 24th – Midsummer’s Day and as good a time as any to post more photos of roses.
Continue reading “a rose is a rose is a rose”
I mentioned “memory” in yesterday’s blog post, which is hardly a new subject for this blog: if you search on the word, you’ll find eight pages of posts come up, or 29 pages if you search for “remember”. This compares with no instances -until now – of “forgetfulness” and just six pages of posts including the word “forget”.
Since they are two sides of the same coin, I wonder why there is such a bias. Presumably it’s the way I phrase things: I probably talk more about “not remembering” than I do about “forgetting”, but I’m not sure why.
Continue reading “shaping memories”