Saturday, 26 October 2013

Hot summer days, long lost afternoon teas, slam door trains.

I had a lovely time with my friend Chrisi while the kids were at school.  We often used to pick the children up and take them to one or other house and have tea together.  Sam was friends with Mark and they used to wander along like little old men talking about their toys, the weather, what happened in assembly or Lego.  They mainly talked about Lego.  They both loved it.

Sam is working in a toy shop at the moment and he plans to use his staff discount and buy some Lego.  He is 27.  Some people never grow up.  He has promised to let me put it together with him if I am good.

Somehow I always got my children back from school in a dishevelled state.  Other kids would come out looking neat and clean, but mine looked as if they had been in a speed dressing contest with a blindfold on.  Shirt untucked, tie under left ear, buttoned up wrong and stained.  Later when it was George he would also come out covered in sticking plasters with holes in his trousers.


The boys played in their sand pit whenever they got the chance, Sam especially liked the hot weather and George enjoyed being wet and preferably muddy as well.

I am sorry about the speedos.  At the time I thought they were cute and although I now realise my mistake, it is simply too late to remove the evidence.  As they were only little boys, they didn't realise the fashion faux pas, but they are aghast when they see old photographs of them in speedos now.

Well personally I think they should count themselves lucky.   As a small child I wore speedos too.  And there are photos to prove it!

The sand pit was very robust and we kept it until last year when I decided that it was no use any more. Unfortunately I now find it would have been just the thing for bathing the dog when he has found a deliciously odorous fox poo to roll in.  This happens almost every time we take him out for a walk, and ALWAYS happens when I have just cleaned the bathroom.  Foxes have a lingering and pungent smell which seems to get into the wallpaper given half a chance.



Jim was dieting this particular summer.  He never had before so it was a bit novel. It didn't really last, but 20 years later he is dieting for the second time.  Let's hope it is less fleeting this time! Jim came home early from time to time which was always a treat for all of us.  He often did if it was really hot, to avoid the crowds and heat on the train.  

Standing up all the way from Waterloo station on one of the old carriages they used as rolling stock in those days was no joke, especially if the weather was hot.  We were on the track known as the Hounslow loop and often the trains would be short and therefore very crowded.  Somehow the modern trains with their pneumatic doors are not half so romantic as the corridor trains with slam doors.  I suppose they in their turn were not half so romantic as steam, so there you go.  Progress.


Here is one of the lovely old slam door trains.  I think I remember them fondly because it was so exciting to go to London with Mum and go on the train. I couldn't open the doors as the locks were incredibly stiff.  Often, even after I started work and commuted, I would have to hope that some strong man would open the door to get out so I could nip out behind him.  I was too shy to ask!

In idle moments I wonder what it was really like then, I can't see things as clearly as I would like, I need a time machine to go back and have a good look round.   If only I could go back to the roof garden at Biba and pay what seemed like an arm and a leg for afternoon tea. I certainly wouldn't go somewhere cheaper if I had the chance again! I would also like to go back to the Ceylon Tea House where we had tea in about 1965.  It was a good tea out even to my childish eyes.  how I would relish it now!  And just imagine all the lovely things you could buy at the prices then...