Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Old friends

July 28, 2014

I’m looking back to 1969 or 70 today and a bunch of old friends. We were all at college together in south east London and I think I took this photo on an area of parkland called Hilly Fields.

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From left to right we have Nigel, Tony, Rog, Sue and Trev.

Sadly, I am not really in touch with any of them now. Tony died last year and I have seen Rog in recent years but he seems to have dropped off the radar at the moment. He ended up marrying Trev’s sister so when I saw Rog I got news of Trev (who I believe split up with Sue) but I haven’t seen Trev since college days.

I have seen Nigel just once in the past 44 years – enough to say he hadn’t changed – and I was fond of him when he was a student so that’s a positive comment.

Where are you all now?

Actually, I’m quite fond of the photo – just more than a silhouette and enough for me to recognise the features of the old friends.

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Dick and Ivy

April 21, 2014

When I was a child, family friends seemed few and far between but one man stands out as a real friend and he was called Dick. Dick lived in Leigh in Kent. He was a quietly spoken man, with a lovely gentle accent and a wife I don’t remember really called Ede or Edie.

I liked Dick very much and when we visited grandparents in Tonbridge, we often broke our journey home at Leigh Halt and went to see Dick, Sometimes, if there was time, he’d take us to his place of work which was the little sewage treatment plant for Leigh. Walks with Dick were full of country facts. He seemed to know every bird, every tree, and every flower. He knew where to see fish in the river. In fact he knew everything. I realised my dad also engaged him in conversation about politics and other matters of a more national or international kind and Dick was fully up to them as well. It was clear that Dick was perceptive and sharp witted despite what seemed to be quite a lowly job.

By the time I was a driver and went off to see grandparents on my own or with my girlfriend, Dick had remarried. He married his next door neighbour called Ivy. It amused me that after years of calling him ‘Mr Wood’ which was his name, she persisted well after they were man and wife.

Like my dad, I found Dick a fascinating chap and we used to visit him whenever we could.

Here he is with Ivy.

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This was on one of my dad’s Industrial Archaeology courses in the early 1970s. Dick loved to learn.

I have no doubt that Dick influenced my father and me as well. He never had children of his own, so it is good to think that some of his ways still live on.

In the back garden

April 20, 2014

Yesterday we looked at a picture taken in the back garden of my Great Aunt Mercy which was in Crawley in Sussex. Today we are looking at the back garden from my childhood. It is forty years newer than yesterday’s picture.

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The houses we see were not ours. We see next door, with the shed where Perce and Min lived. The middle one of that terrace of three changed hands quite often, but the end one had two spinster ladies – Alice and Beatrice Rapley who were known by us as Auntie A and Auntie B.

The garden bears a resemblance to Great Aunt Mercy’s, with the galvanised dustbin and some junk. There are the remains of the family swing although we children were all teenaged, or nearly so, by then so it probably had ceased to be used.

And now to the people.

We start, on the left, with my brother. He was twenty months older than me. We were always different and through childhood we didn’t make good playmates. I learned to love him after he left home and he became a really good friend until his sad death at the age of 33. Then there is me, looking rather smart in shirt and tie. I seldom wear one of them these days. But I had spent the first twelve years of my life never having new clothes and at about this time I had got my first brand new set of apparel – including a tie. By heck, I was going to wear it.

My sister comes next she’d have been at that age where parents know nothing and are a total embarrassment. I recall thinking, though, that she looked good in that skirt.

Then comes my dad, the other link between yesterday’s and today’s photos. After a war disrupted younger life, he had not long had a job which allowed us some luxuries in life.

The lady pointing out something is Geppa who, despite the very French sounding surname of Gerard, was German. She was the wife of Herman who had been a prisoner of war in this country – one of those German prisoners who became friendly with our family. Herman must have taken this photo.

Finally, we have my mum, enjoying life in that short period when the financial struggle was more or less over, and before she was diagnosed with cancer.

My dad’s fruit bushes are in the foreground. Having been a commuter to London – and he still was in part, he had decided that he should grow crops that were low in time need and fruit bushes fitted the bill.