Category Archives: Age of Innocence

Groceries and Home Delivery Service

During the current Lock Down we have been looking daily for home delivery slots to avoid having to go out and line up in the car park.  We haven’t been very successful but after fighting in the virtual queue we have managed to get one slot for 15th April.

This reminded me of Home Delivery when I was a boy.

mobile-shop

Mr Tucson’s mobile shop had a very distinctive earthy smell of decaying vegetables – especially potatoes I seem to recall which was especially strong in the summer when it was warm and mixed with diesel fumes.  He didn’t have a lot of stock on board, some boxes of wilting salad and vegetables, dusty boxes of cereal, some rusting tins of soup, spam, corned beef  and baked beans and a rack of 1960s teeth destroying sugary sweets.

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Brooke Bond Tea Cards

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I was only four years old and it was my dad who collected them really and I can remember sitting at the kitchen table while he used a bottle of gloy glue to stick them into place.  Gloy glue was a curious sticking paste that worked quite well at first but after a while dried out and the things that were previously stuck together just separated.

Later I used to collect them for myself and paste them into the books (which used to cost 6d) but I never made such a good job of it as him.

Does anyone else remember collecting Brooke Bond Tea Cards?

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A Ladybird Visits The Garden

Molly watering seeds

The Ladybird visitor reminded me of a story that I wrote several years ago now…

I was on child minding duties and I collected my three year old granddaughter from pre-school.  As she packed her bag and put her coat on one of the classroom assistants passed me a sheaf of papers which represented various bits of art and craftwork that they needed to get rid of to make space for the following week.

As I rolled it up to keep it safe Molly announced that she had another present for me and started to dig deep into her coat pocket.  I was expecting another masterpiece to add to all the others but eventually after a bit of foraging she produced a tiny ladybird.  I asked where she had found it and she said in the playground at lunchtime and that she had kept it for me.  I was certain the poor creature would be dead, either suffocated or crushed to death so was surprised that after she released it from her thumb and forefinger grip the thing began to crawl across her hand.  She transferred it to me but as soon as it had adjusted itself to being in the open air again it took its opportunity and free now from its captivity it promptly flew away.

Molly was disappointed of course and I tried to explain why it had gone but it didn’t really matter because after just a few steps she found another one anyway.

This week she stayed at my house and we spent some time in the garden together.  She likes gardening but not the insects that she occasionally comes across and the sight of a beetle or a spider or a worm will always be announced by a shrill shriek.  Not so the ladybirds however and spent some time hunting them down in the shrubs, gently collecting them up and transferring them to a glass jar for safe keeping.

This intrigued me and I asked her why she didn’t mind the ladybirds but didn’t like the other creatures and she explained that she liked them because they are red and pretty and kind!  I told her that a ladybird was a sort of beetle and not so terribly different to the black ones that we had recently disturbed under a stone but she just looked at me in a disbelieving sort of way and carried on collecting them up.

Entrance Tickets – Blarney Castle, Ireland

Blarney Castle

The main reason people visit Blarney Castle is to kiss the stone of eloquence – the famous Blarney, because it is said that whoever plants his lips on this saliva sticky stone will never be short of words ever again.  Politicians for example make a visit here a priority before they begin their careers and it turns them immediately into gobshites who cannot shut up or say anything sensible ever again – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab, Pritti Patel and so and so on.

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Thursday Doors – Cars

I am skiing off-piste this week and pushing the boundaries of the rules…

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

 

Postcard from Lanzarote

Lanzarote Postcard 1

What now seems an awful long time ago I used to like going on holiday to the Canary Islands, that agreeable part of Spain which is located just off the north-western African coast and in December 1983, before I was even thirty years old, I flew to Lanzarote with a group of friends with the intention of having a pre-Christmas party week in the sun.

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The Story of an Aussie in The English Fens (Part Four)

The Fens Map

From the village of Donington and the birthplace of Matthew Flinders we travelled east towards the coast and the North Sea.

This area was once marsh and fen but has been successfully reclaimed from the water to turn it into a highly productive arable farming industry.  Driving on the roads takes great care and undivided attention because it isn’t so difficult to slip off the tarmac and into one of the roadside drainage ditches.  People who move to the area to live are only ever really accepted into the community after they have paid a visit to the bottom of a ditch and become a member of The Fens ‘Dyke Club’.

South Holland Dyke

This was an area of wetland for two reasons, first it is barely at sea level and high tides would swamp the land and secondly because four major rivers flow into The Wash, The Witham, The Welland, The Nene and the Great Ouse, all of which drain the English Midlands into the sea.  At times when there was too much water there was inevitable flooding.  The East Coast Fens are simply former marshland.  This was a place where you almost always needed to wear wellington boots.

The Romans came to The Fens and built the first sea defence wall about ten miles inland and which stretched for thirty miles or so.  It is still called the Roman Bank.  Beyond the Bank they maintained salt pans.

For several hundred years a battle was fought to reclaim land from the sea and the prize was access to very valuable fertile farming land.  Several walls and enclosures were built in the late nineteenth century and many thousands of acres reclaimed for farming.  During the Second World-War Britain was short of food so more farming land was required so at about this time the final and present sea wall was built to provide even more arable farming land to feed the nation.  It is doubtful that they will ever build another one because with modern methods of farming there is enough land now for the time being.

After leaving the A17 and driving north there are miles and miles of absolutely bugger all.  A couple of small villages, some isolated farm workers cottages and modern industrial scale farms where there is rarely any sign of life.  It is a ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ sort of place where local people look at strangers with suspicion and wonder if they are not driving a mud caked Land Rover or a Massey Ferguson Tractor pulling a plough just what they are doing there.

This is a remote place without visitors.  There are no tourist signposts and I wasn’t sure after ten years away  if I could confidently remember exactly how to reach the place that I was trying to get to.  With the help of the SatNav (working again now) a huge slice of luck and a fading memory I found the road/track that leads to the sea wall and we made it to our destination.  A narrow pot-holed track and not the sort of lane that you want to meet mud caked Land Rover or a Massey Ferguson Tractor pulling a plough coming in the opposite direction!

The orange arrow indicates approximately where we were…

Lincolnshire Sea Wall

… just farm fields at the edge of the World before the marshes and as close to the sea as you can get without wellington boots.

This part of Lincolnshire can be inhospitable and bleak but on a blue sky day like today it is absolutely magnificent.  We parked the car and climbed to the top of the wall, not a brick or concrete structure but a stout earth wall decorated with concrete Second-World-War defence bunkers.  To the north-east we looked out over the marshes and the North Sea and behind us we stared out over acres and acres of patchwork farm land just waiting to leap into Spring.

John and I walked along the wall and swapped tales and stories from our lives separated by fifteen thousand miles or so geographically but what seemed to me now only as thin as a cigarette paper.

It occurred to me that John lives so far away in Australia and a thousand years or so ago someone may have stood in this exact place (in his wellington boots of course) and thought that it must surely be the edge of the World. Travel and friendship is so important in personal development and exploration and education.

On the way back we drove through the village of Moulton which has the tallest windmill in England (this part of Lincolnshire is full of surprises) and then to Cowbit, John thought it was a strange name and I told him that it is not pronounced how it looks on the sign but as ‘Cubit’.  Friendly sparring now, John told me that Melbourne is not pronounced in the same plummy way as Lord Melbourne but as ‘Melbun’.

It had been a very enjoyable and satisfying day.

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Almost forgot to mention that this is where I lived in The Fens for ten years, 2000-2010…

Pipwell Gate

Kim joined us and we spent a convivial time in the bar, drank more than we planned to and had an enjoyable evening meal.  I saw John again in the morning as he prepared to return home to Melbun in Australia…

South Holland Sea Wall

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