caddyman: (Snowman)
The FaceBook feed for the Shropshire Star has thrown up the nugget that today is the thirtieth anniversary of the coldest day recorded in England.

"Thirty years ago today, Shropshire recorded the lowest temperature ever seen in England as the mercury fell to a staggering -26.1 C (-15F)."

That was recorded about 6 miles from where I lived at the time, in Edgmond.

I realize that this is small beer to some of my friends who live in Canada and the American Mid-West, but honestly, England does not get anywhere near that cold as a rule. Minus 10 is exceptional and pretty rare; colder than that is pretty much unheard of even in the Highlands of Scotland (excluding wind-chill).

On 10th January 1982 I still lived at home in Telford with my parents. I was in the final couple of months of a contract for the now-defunct Oswestry Borough Council, still the best job I have ever had, if amongst the lowest paid. I used to have to drive around one of the more rural and scenic districts in the country and report on fly tipping. I was out of the office, driving around the place for hours at a time.

It was great.

But I digress. I didn’t do much driving that January. To Oswestry and back was a round trip of just under 70 miles and I was doing it in an ancient 1968 F Reg Mini Cooper (back then I was still thin enough to fold myself up and get into one. I doubt I could now). The calendar tells me that 10th January was a Sunday that year and I think I managed to avoid driving more than a couple of miles the entire week following it: I recall a tentative drive a couple of miles down to go to the bank with my sister, during which, as we crept along on the icy, snowed over roads in Hadley, a pedestrian tapped on the windscreen (yes, we were driving that slowly) to tell me that the rear wheels were not turning; they had clogged with snow and ice and I was effectively dragging the skating of the car along the road.

I don’t recall much about the coldest day itself, other than the fact that the power had gone off in the snow storm the night before and that when it stopped around 9.30pm I phoned my best friend, Phil and we trekked out into the darkness to investigate, ending up in the pub (as you do), where we enjoyed what in usual times would have been a lock in, but since the snow was several feet deep the landlord didn’t even pretend to close the pub and somehow civilisation failed to end.

title or description

This photo, which I have posted before, was taken on that walk up to the Bird in Hand on the Cockshutt between Wrockwardine Wood, St George’s and Oakengates. God, it was cold, but I was 22 and it was fun.

School Daze

Thursday, February 12th, 2009 12:41 pm
caddyman: (Vision On)
…and calm.

I have decided to take a few minutes out and think about just about anything other than the feeble-minded, knuckle-headed dunderbrains that make up our elected representatives.

A couple of nights back, Furtle and I were talking about this and that and the subject wandered around to school days, particularly primary school.

Furtle tells of the time she was asked a question about sums by the teacher and couldn’t get it right, no matter how many times she tried, so she just copied it from someone else. The teacher asked her how she got it right and Furtle squirmed a bit before admitting that she had copied it, making the teacher laugh because she was clearly so exasperated. This made me think about my own terror one time when old Joe Lineton, our junior school headmaster wandered around the class pointing at people and asking questions from the multiplication tables. I reckon I was about 8 or 9 at the time.

“Bryan, what is seven times seven?”

“Er. Um. Er, ooh...”

“It’s forty-nine, as everybody knows”.

A few minutes later, having randomly wandered around the class:

“Bryan, what is seven times seven?”

“Forty-nine, Sir, as everybody knows.”

He had a good sense of humour, did old Joe Lineton, and my downright cheek got me out of more than one corner.

It never occurred to me that you could have a favourite multiplication, but it seems quite by chance that Furtle’s favourite is seven times seven. Spooky.

It turns out too, that despite the passage of years and being in different parts of the country, kids’ playground antics are often conducted in the most unsubtle of ways. In Furtle’s day, Star Wars was the preferred game in the playground and she got into trouble because she got fed up with always having to be Princess Leia when the boys could choose whatever they wanted to be. Preferring to be (in order of preference) either Chewy or Han, she settled the argument by decking one of the lads after a long argument.

In my day, the preferred game in the junior school playground was, for a long time, Thunderbirds (later supplanted by Captain Scarlet and then the Champions).

Everyone wanted to be Thunderbird One, meaning you could race around the school yard with your arms held back making satisfying zoom noises. It wasn’t unusual for the fat kid to be Thunderbird Two, but these were up for negotiation and most people got a turn at one or the other. Plus there were Thunderbirds Three and Four to play and the Mole or any of the various things that had to be rescued, like the Sidewinder and other such fun things.

Invariably, however, the smelly unpopular kid was always Thunderbird Five, the space station. We told him that he was really good at it and no-one else could play it like he did. He always stood on one leg at the corner of the playground and sometimes we waved at him as we zooooomed past.

School Daze

Thursday, February 12th, 2009 12:41 pm
caddyman: (Vision On)
…and calm.

I have decided to take a few minutes out and think about just about anything other than the feeble-minded, knuckle-headed dunderbrains that make up our elected representatives.

A couple of nights back, Furtle and I were talking about this and that and the subject wandered around to school days, particularly primary school.

Furtle tells of the time she was asked a question about sums by the teacher and couldn’t get it right, no matter how many times she tried, so she just copied it from someone else. The teacher asked her how she got it right and Furtle squirmed a bit before admitting that she had copied it, making the teacher laugh because she was clearly so exasperated. This made me think about my own terror one time when old Joe Lineton, our junior school headmaster wandered around the class pointing at people and asking questions from the multiplication tables. I reckon I was about 8 or 9 at the time.

“Bryan, what is seven times seven?”

“Er. Um. Er, ooh...”

“It’s forty-nine, as everybody knows”.

A few minutes later, having randomly wandered around the class:

“Bryan, what is seven times seven?”

“Forty-nine, Sir, as everybody knows.”

He had a good sense of humour, did old Joe Lineton, and my downright cheek got me out of more than one corner.

It never occurred to me that you could have a favourite multiplication, but it seems quite by chance that Furtle’s favourite is seven times seven. Spooky.

It turns out too, that despite the passage of years and being in different parts of the country, kids’ playground antics are often conducted in the most unsubtle of ways. In Furtle’s day, Star Wars was the preferred game in the playground and she got into trouble because she got fed up with always having to be Princess Leia when the boys could choose whatever they wanted to be. Preferring to be (in order of preference) either Chewy or Han, she settled the argument by decking one of the lads after a long argument.

In my day, the preferred game in the junior school playground was, for a long time, Thunderbirds (later supplanted by Captain Scarlet and then the Champions).

Everyone wanted to be Thunderbird One, meaning you could race around the school yard with your arms held back making satisfying zoom noises. It wasn’t unusual for the fat kid to be Thunderbird Two, but these were up for negotiation and most people got a turn at one or the other. Plus there were Thunderbirds Three and Four to play and the Mole or any of the various things that had to be rescued, like the Sidewinder and other such fun things.

Invariably, however, the smelly unpopular kid was always Thunderbird Five, the space station. We told him that he was really good at it and no-one else could play it like he did. He always stood on one leg at the corner of the playground and sometimes we waved at him as we zooooomed past.

Tony Hart

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 02:32 pm
caddyman: (Vision On)
A lot of people are noting the passing of Tony Hart and rightly so. There are few true kids icons these days and most of those that remain are retired and remembered with fond nostalgia.

Being a few years older than most of those on my friends' page, I tend to remember Tony Hart from his days as resident artist on Vision On with Pat Kaysell. Vision On predated Take Hart and ran from 1964 to 1977. It was broadcast for the deaf and all communication was visual.


Vision On Logo


I have to say that most of the programme didn't appeal to me, being rather slow (deliberately so, so that deaf kids could follow the subtitles and hand gestures), but Tony Hart and the Gallery - which he retained in Take Hart were highlights. Tony Hart was also the man who introduced the nation to Morph, the mischievous and accident prone plasticine character created by the embryonic Aardman Animations.

On 28 December 2006, it was announced during It Started with Swap Shop that he was in poor health, though this was not elaborated upon until an interview with The Times published on 30 September 2008, revealing that two strokes had robbed him of the use of his hands and left him unable to draw. He described this as "the greatest cross I have to bear."

Rest in peace, Tony Hart.

BBC Obituary

Tony Hart

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 02:32 pm
caddyman: (Vision On)
A lot of people are noting the passing of Tony Hart and rightly so. There are few true kids icons these days and most of those that remain are retired and remembered with fond nostalgia.

Being a few years older than most of those on my friends' page, I tend to remember Tony Hart from his days as resident artist on Vision On with Pat Kaysell. Vision On predated Take Hart and ran from 1964 to 1977. It was broadcast for the deaf and all communication was visual.


Vision On Logo


I have to say that most of the programme didn't appeal to me, being rather slow (deliberately so, so that deaf kids could follow the subtitles and hand gestures), but Tony Hart and the Gallery - which he retained in Take Hart were highlights. Tony Hart was also the man who introduced the nation to Morph, the mischievous and accident prone plasticine character created by the embryonic Aardman Animations.

On 28 December 2006, it was announced during It Started with Swap Shop that he was in poor health, though this was not elaborated upon until an interview with The Times published on 30 September 2008, revealing that two strokes had robbed him of the use of his hands and left him unable to draw. He described this as "the greatest cross I have to bear."

Rest in peace, Tony Hart.

BBC Obituary
caddyman: (telly)
Another sad day for those of us on the sitting on the tail end of the baby boom as another one of our childhood entertainers shuffles off this mortal coil. Ventriloquist Terry Hall, creator of Lenny the Lion died on 4 April, though the news seems only now to have leaked out.


Terry Hall, 1926-2007


These days it's small beer, but when I was a kid, this sort of stuff was the staple of telly entertainment. You could rarely if ever see Terry Hall's lips move. Good stuff.
caddyman: (telly)
Another sad day for those of us on the sitting on the tail end of the baby boom as another one of our childhood entertainers shuffles off this mortal coil. Ventriloquist Terry Hall, creator of Lenny the Lion died on 4 April, though the news seems only now to have leaked out.


Terry Hall, 1926-2007


These days it's small beer, but when I was a kid, this sort of stuff was the staple of telly entertainment. You could rarely if ever see Terry Hall's lips move. Good stuff.
caddyman: (You'll believe a  man can fly)
Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be. I know that’s an old joke, but it also has the ring of truth. I don’t think we have much choice in what triggers feelings of nostalgia once the old photographs have been put away and the old records boxed up. After that it is hard to predict what will trigger the memory.

So we take our nostalgia where we can get it.

This morning I received from beloved a text message with a reported sighting of a chalky crumble1 on the pavement by Boots on the lane down to the tube station. By, I was taken back. I haven’t seen a chalky crumble (or more importantly had to avoid one) for well over 25 years; probably closer to 30 years, now I think on it. There were parts of the Donnington and Donnington Wood areas of Telford where they were all-pervasive during the 1970s when I was in my teens, but something changed and I had assumed that they were all but extinct.

But no: a sighting in Whetstone. It’s even odder when you consider that Whetstone is a rather more upmarket area than that part of Telford ever was or will be. Maybe there is a strange retro thing going on around here?

Told you that nostalgia isn’t what it was.

1Oh, come on. Everyone knows what a chalky crumble is, even if only by repute.
caddyman: (You'll believe a  man can fly)
Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be. I know that’s an old joke, but it also has the ring of truth. I don’t think we have much choice in what triggers feelings of nostalgia once the old photographs have been put away and the old records boxed up. After that it is hard to predict what will trigger the memory.

So we take our nostalgia where we can get it.

This morning I received from beloved a text message with a reported sighting of a chalky crumble1 on the pavement by Boots on the lane down to the tube station. By, I was taken back. I haven’t seen a chalky crumble (or more importantly had to avoid one) for well over 25 years; probably closer to 30 years, now I think on it. There were parts of the Donnington and Donnington Wood areas of Telford where they were all-pervasive during the 1970s when I was in my teens, but something changed and I had assumed that they were all but extinct.

But no: a sighting in Whetstone. It’s even odder when you consider that Whetstone is a rather more upmarket area than that part of Telford ever was or will be. Maybe there is a strange retro thing going on around here?

Told you that nostalgia isn’t what it was.

1Oh, come on. Everyone knows what a chalky crumble is, even if only by repute.

nostalgia

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006 12:20 pm
caddyman: (NWO)
I have just been rooting through some old files on my computer’s P:\1 drive looking for aged information that has suddenly become relevant again after many years’ disuse. Many of the files haven’t been opened in many a long year and a whole wad of them are in very old WordPerfect format, which luckily can still be opened by the version or Word we are required to use here in the office.

One of the things I found was a crib list of items that might need to be investigated by one Severus ex Guernicus, Keeper of Records, the character I played at Machiavelli Games’ Grand Tribunal years before I ever got involved in writing free forms with that group’s successor, NWO Games. The file was last edited and saved on 19 October 1996 about a month before the game was played.

I find it hard to believe that that weekend was just short of ten years ago, now. Much of it is still fresh in my memory, including the trip up in [livejournal.com profile] colonel_maxim’s rickety old second-hand caravanette which broke down outside Earl’s Court before we’d even left London and his careful dodging around outside to keep himself between the friendly and sympathetic traffic warden and the long expired tax disc in the front windscreen. The fact that we had to keep the engine running on the way back from Ilum on the Monday morning, even when we stopped off on the Motorway for a loo and food break, because we couldn’t be sure of ever starting the blasted thing again. I recall the long journey up with Ser Taylor (sans LJ) and a couple of other people who reside in my memory now only as faceless shadows (though I have a feeling from later memories that [livejournal.com profile] lucyas may well have been one of them) had us arriving on site as the masked ball was already underway, and feeling extremely out of place while wandering through in work a day clothes until I found somewhere to change into costume.

Highlights that still sit well in the mind include the explosive death of Vancasitum, his funeral orchestrated by Vector Tempestratum which involved real fireworks and a circle burnt into the drive way much to the horror and bemusement of the staff, the revelation of Tremere, the appearance of the Diedne, the transformation of the Lych and Vector’s show-stopping speech.

And we should never forget that "Ka is your friend"...

Ah yes, and trying to keep a straight face when reporting back to [livejournal.com profile] ysharros (whose character name now evades me) concerning a dispute over respect due to 'familiars', one of which was a potted plant.

Good times.

That was what got me interested in the hobby in the first place. And all this nostalgia has got me sentimental for it; I must stop and think of other things.

But mainly I was impressed by the fact that it is almost exactly ten years ago, now. I mean, I knew that already, but the file date reminder sparked it all off again and suddenly I feel a little bit old.

This nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, you know.



1Held on a server elsewhere in case this machine goes *poing* as it and its predecessors have on a number of occasions in the past.

nostalgia

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006 12:20 pm
caddyman: (NWO)
I have just been rooting through some old files on my computer’s P:\1 drive looking for aged information that has suddenly become relevant again after many years’ disuse. Many of the files haven’t been opened in many a long year and a whole wad of them are in very old WordPerfect format, which luckily can still be opened by the version or Word we are required to use here in the office.

One of the things I found was a crib list of items that might need to be investigated by one Severus ex Guernicus, Keeper of Records, the character I played at Machiavelli Games’ Grand Tribunal years before I ever got involved in writing free forms with that group’s successor, NWO Games. The file was last edited and saved on 19 October 1996 about a month before the game was played.

I find it hard to believe that that weekend was just short of ten years ago, now. Much of it is still fresh in my memory, including the trip up in [livejournal.com profile] colonel_maxim’s rickety old second-hand caravanette which broke down outside Earl’s Court before we’d even left London and his careful dodging around outside to keep himself between the friendly and sympathetic traffic warden and the long expired tax disc in the front windscreen. The fact that we had to keep the engine running on the way back from Ilum on the Monday morning, even when we stopped off on the Motorway for a loo and food break, because we couldn’t be sure of ever starting the blasted thing again. I recall the long journey up with Ser Taylor (sans LJ) and a couple of other people who reside in my memory now only as faceless shadows (though I have a feeling from later memories that [livejournal.com profile] lucyas may well have been one of them) had us arriving on site as the masked ball was already underway, and feeling extremely out of place while wandering through in work a day clothes until I found somewhere to change into costume.

Highlights that still sit well in the mind include the explosive death of Vancasitum, his funeral orchestrated by Vector Tempestratum which involved real fireworks and a circle burnt into the drive way much to the horror and bemusement of the staff, the revelation of Tremere, the appearance of the Diedne, the transformation of the Lych and Vector’s show-stopping speech.

And we should never forget that "Ka is your friend"...

Ah yes, and trying to keep a straight face when reporting back to [livejournal.com profile] ysharros (whose character name now evades me) concerning a dispute over respect due to 'familiars', one of which was a potted plant.

Good times.

That was what got me interested in the hobby in the first place. And all this nostalgia has got me sentimental for it; I must stop and think of other things.

But mainly I was impressed by the fact that it is almost exactly ten years ago, now. I mean, I knew that already, but the file date reminder sparked it all off again and suddenly I feel a little bit old.

This nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, you know.



1Held on a server elsewhere in case this machine goes *poing* as it and its predecessors have on a number of occasions in the past.
caddyman: (Default)
You know, it's a funny thing, but when you're a kid, if the notion of mortality even occurs to you, you pretty much reckon that you're immortal.

Today I wandered around the West End and spent some money. This isn't the non sequitur you might believe it to be at first glance.

My main purchases were CDs from FOPP which is rapidly turning into my favourite music shop. It doesn't have the selection that the HMV or Virgin Megastores do, but the range is quite reasonable enough, and the prices are much better. I managed to pick up a copy of the re-mastered Concert for Bangladesh for £15 (not too cheap granted, but the proceeds go to UNICEF), Deadwing by Porcupine Tree and The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips for a fiver each. I also have a copy of the Floyd's Final Cut, which on reflection could have been cheaper. The main purchase, however, was Chris Rea's Blue Guitars, 11 CDs and a DVD in an LP-size book format for £35. I already have the music on my Walkman, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] jimfer, but now I can listen to it with a clear conscience (not that I was losing sleep over it, you understand).

It was the Concert for Bangladesh that got me thinking. The concert was organised by George Harrison back in 1971 in aid of the suffering in what was then East Pakistan as it fought for independence and emerged as Bangladesh. The album was released in 1972, I think, in a box with a booklet and either two or three LPs in it - I honestly can't remember if it was a double or triple, now, and my copy is up in Shropshire, so I can't check. I do remember that it cost me three or four weeks' pocket money, and I do remember that it was my first introduction to Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Billy Preston, plus an extended live set from Bob Dylan. Of course, back in those days I hadn't yet picked up on the fact that I had heard stuff by Clapton and Billy Preston (even if in the case of the latter, it was his playing on some of the later Beatle tracks).

Anyway. Mortality, see. I was 13 when I bought my first copy of that album. Thirty-four years ago; so long ago that I hadn't even met that old grouch [livejournal.com profile] telemeister yet, though that delight was only a couple of months around the corner. The time doesn't half fly.

I think at that time, the buggers at school were still trying to get me to play rugby - that's how long ago it was, because they gave up quite early as soon as it became manifest that I hadn't the slightest interest. That reminds me: central London seemed to be awash with Irish rugby fans, which was odd, since I thought the Republic were playing at home, and not in or against England. Still, they all seemed happy enough.

Anyway, I finished my trip around the West End with a wander into Comic Showcase to pick up my standing order, and Forbidden Planet to be astounded at the prices they charge, I was out and about for several hours longer than originally intended, but hey, who cares?

I must have dawdled for part of the time, because after a couple of hours the sciatica kicked in (it was probably the browsing in FOPP and Planet, now I come to think about it), this doesn't happen if I stride around purposefully. What does happen is that I tend to feel the rheumatism in my left hip when I walk a lot, so with magnificent ease, I managed to get the worst of both worlds. These are ailments that do not bother you while you are a young immortal, but they loom large if you're a middle-aged fatty.

I used to think that I would live to be a hundred, and surprise my great grandchildren by showing them my birthday telegram from (presumably by then) the King. I'm not so sure anymore. Quite apart from the not having any kids issue, which rather buggers the timetable, I find the early 21st century really quite baffling enough, and that's while my brain still works as well as it ever did (stop laughing you at the back). Imagine what I'd fail to make of the mid 21st century! It doesn't bare thinking about (won't have to drive so far to get to the seaside, mind).

These days I am quite happy to realise that I shan't make a hundred, largely because I'm a fatty who smokes and takes no exercise. If I emulate my dad, who is still alive and kicking at nearly 86, I shall be happy enough. The twinges that I get at age 47 are enough to make me wonder what the twinges will be like when I get to 80. Less fun, I'll bet.

No I'll be happy if I hit my mid 80s.

And lest you think I'm in a maudlin poor mood or some such, think again; I'm not, I am actually quite cheerful. See, based upon my thoughts and recollections of thirty-odd years ago, and the way things disappear just to come around again, I have made some calculations. The main reason I shall be happy to go at somewhere between 84-87 years of age, is simply that I don't think I could live through flares for a third time.
caddyman: (Default)
You know, it's a funny thing, but when you're a kid, if the notion of mortality even occurs to you, you pretty much reckon that you're immortal.

Today I wandered around the West End and spent some money. This isn't the non sequitur you might believe it to be at first glance.

My main purchases were CDs from FOPP which is rapidly turning into my favourite music shop. It doesn't have the selection that the HMV or Virgin Megastores do, but the range is quite reasonable enough, and the prices are much better. I managed to pick up a copy of the re-mastered Concert for Bangladesh for £15 (not too cheap granted, but the proceeds go to UNICEF), Deadwing by Porcupine Tree and The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips for a fiver each. I also have a copy of the Floyd's Final Cut, which on reflection could have been cheaper. The main purchase, however, was Chris Rea's Blue Guitars, 11 CDs and a DVD in an LP-size book format for £35. I already have the music on my Walkman, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] jimfer, but now I can listen to it with a clear conscience (not that I was losing sleep over it, you understand).

It was the Concert for Bangladesh that got me thinking. The concert was organised by George Harrison back in 1971 in aid of the suffering in what was then East Pakistan as it fought for independence and emerged as Bangladesh. The album was released in 1972, I think, in a box with a booklet and either two or three LPs in it - I honestly can't remember if it was a double or triple, now, and my copy is up in Shropshire, so I can't check. I do remember that it cost me three or four weeks' pocket money, and I do remember that it was my first introduction to Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Billy Preston, plus an extended live set from Bob Dylan. Of course, back in those days I hadn't yet picked up on the fact that I had heard stuff by Clapton and Billy Preston (even if in the case of the latter, it was his playing on some of the later Beatle tracks).

Anyway. Mortality, see. I was 13 when I bought my first copy of that album. Thirty-four years ago; so long ago that I hadn't even met that old grouch [livejournal.com profile] telemeister yet, though that delight was only a couple of months around the corner. The time doesn't half fly.

I think at that time, the buggers at school were still trying to get me to play rugby - that's how long ago it was, because they gave up quite early as soon as it became manifest that I hadn't the slightest interest. That reminds me: central London seemed to be awash with Irish rugby fans, which was odd, since I thought the Republic were playing at home, and not in or against England. Still, they all seemed happy enough.

Anyway, I finished my trip around the West End with a wander into Comic Showcase to pick up my standing order, and Forbidden Planet to be astounded at the prices they charge, I was out and about for several hours longer than originally intended, but hey, who cares?

I must have dawdled for part of the time, because after a couple of hours the sciatica kicked in (it was probably the browsing in FOPP and Planet, now I come to think about it), this doesn't happen if I stride around purposefully. What does happen is that I tend to feel the rheumatism in my left hip when I walk a lot, so with magnificent ease, I managed to get the worst of both worlds. These are ailments that do not bother you while you are a young immortal, but they loom large if you're a middle-aged fatty.

I used to think that I would live to be a hundred, and surprise my great grandchildren by showing them my birthday telegram from (presumably by then) the King. I'm not so sure anymore. Quite apart from the not having any kids issue, which rather buggers the timetable, I find the early 21st century really quite baffling enough, and that's while my brain still works as well as it ever did (stop laughing you at the back). Imagine what I'd fail to make of the mid 21st century! It doesn't bare thinking about (won't have to drive so far to get to the seaside, mind).

These days I am quite happy to realise that I shan't make a hundred, largely because I'm a fatty who smokes and takes no exercise. If I emulate my dad, who is still alive and kicking at nearly 86, I shall be happy enough. The twinges that I get at age 47 are enough to make me wonder what the twinges will be like when I get to 80. Less fun, I'll bet.

No I'll be happy if I hit my mid 80s.

And lest you think I'm in a maudlin poor mood or some such, think again; I'm not, I am actually quite cheerful. See, based upon my thoughts and recollections of thirty-odd years ago, and the way things disappear just to come around again, I have made some calculations. The main reason I shall be happy to go at somewhere between 84-87 years of age, is simply that I don't think I could live through flares for a third time.
caddyman: (Default)
A quiet day with nothing planned for this evening, and yet it's still better than my last birthday when I was up to my neck in packing and managed to down 3 aged cans of Stella Artois by way of celebration. I may organise something for next weekend when I'm back in The Smoke.

Or I may not.

Went to bed rather late last night - I was hijacked by BBC2 and their documentary on the making of Disraeli Gears which was very entertaining and not a little nostalgic. I intended to go to bed when that had finished, but picking up their theme and running with it, they followed up with a broadcast of the footage from Cream's reunion gigs at the Royal Albert Hall last May. Having seen it, I really rather regret not having coughed up the money to go (safe in the knowledge it's nearly a year too late and that I would still baulk at the prospect of shelling out around £75, if I remember my original objections correctly).

My birthday presents so far include a rather nice and very useful cash injection from Mum & Dad(admittedly it's birthday and Christmas pressie rolled into one, but even so...), and a "well you never said what you wanted" from my sister. Still, she gave me back the tenner I subbed her to buy a friend's birthday present, so it's not a total loss.

So far, other than having a slightly clearer view of the tombstone on the horizon, 47 doesn't feel markedly different to 46, though I did manage to feel vaguely ancient momentarily when Mum dug out a photo of me, my sister and my best friend at the coast, circa 1972 or 1973, aged 13 or 14. Yours Truly was lanky, gawky, had hair (though I'm not sure what I was doing with it - cracking basin cut style that it was) and was about 1/3 of the distance around the waist that I am now. Which is apt, I suppose, since I would have been more or less 1/3 of the age that I am now. I recall thinking I was fat back then, but an additional 30-odd years of lardiness puts it all in perspective, and if I was that weight now I daresay someone would drag me in for blood tests and a good feed.

Happy days.
caddyman: (Default)
A quiet day with nothing planned for this evening, and yet it's still better than my last birthday when I was up to my neck in packing and managed to down 3 aged cans of Stella Artois by way of celebration. I may organise something for next weekend when I'm back in The Smoke.

Or I may not.

Went to bed rather late last night - I was hijacked by BBC2 and their documentary on the making of Disraeli Gears which was very entertaining and not a little nostalgic. I intended to go to bed when that had finished, but picking up their theme and running with it, they followed up with a broadcast of the footage from Cream's reunion gigs at the Royal Albert Hall last May. Having seen it, I really rather regret not having coughed up the money to go (safe in the knowledge it's nearly a year too late and that I would still baulk at the prospect of shelling out around £75, if I remember my original objections correctly).

My birthday presents so far include a rather nice and very useful cash injection from Mum & Dad(admittedly it's birthday and Christmas pressie rolled into one, but even so...), and a "well you never said what you wanted" from my sister. Still, she gave me back the tenner I subbed her to buy a friend's birthday present, so it's not a total loss.

So far, other than having a slightly clearer view of the tombstone on the horizon, 47 doesn't feel markedly different to 46, though I did manage to feel vaguely ancient momentarily when Mum dug out a photo of me, my sister and my best friend at the coast, circa 1972 or 1973, aged 13 or 14. Yours Truly was lanky, gawky, had hair (though I'm not sure what I was doing with it - cracking basin cut style that it was) and was about 1/3 of the distance around the waist that I am now. Which is apt, I suppose, since I would have been more or less 1/3 of the age that I am now. I recall thinking I was fat back then, but an additional 30-odd years of lardiness puts it all in perspective, and if I was that weight now I daresay someone would drag me in for blood tests and a good feed.

Happy days.
caddyman: (Default)
When I was a kid I looked after my toys. They got the odd chip in the paintwork from being played with if they were particular favourites, but by and large they didn't suffer much damage. Some of the more fragile plastic ones would get glued together when inevitable accidents occurred, but even they would not be harshly treated until the signs of obvious repair became to great to meet my exacting standards1.

Once a plastic model had deteriorated to the point of no return, it was fair game for destruction in the back garden with games involving stones, marbles and as many vocally-generated Ba-booms as I could manage. In Telford there is even a house with a busted model of Stingray built into its foundations, though that was accidental as it hadn't quite reached the level of degeneration required for toy martyrdom,2 and somewhere out on what the locals call the cinder-hills if they haven't been built on yet, there is a very weathered 40 year old catapault-fired Fireball XL-5 glider I lost when I was 7. I think it disappeared into a gorse bush, but that's only a guess. I never found it again much to my annoyance.

Anyway, the point is, that the metal toys, being generally more robust tended not to meet this sort of fate. When I finally grew out of toys, several neighbours' kids and junior cousins inherited a fair collection of toy cars and such pretty much in full working order, and only partially scratched or chipped.

Except for my Batmobile which one day fell victim to an unexpected and still unexplained bout of vandalism involving a claw hammer, a bottle of lighter fluid and a box of matches. I have always rather regretted that act of destruction, and have never properly explained to myself why I did it, other than noting thatI wished I hadn't done it almost as soon as I'd finished smashing it to smithereens.

Now, nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and I do have a fair collection of pointless if not worthless goo-gaws and totems around the house (excepting, of course, the TARDISes, which are neither worthless nor totems)3. It occurred to me that e-bay is the place to go to acquire a nostalgia-fuelled replacement for the toy I destroyed all those years ago. It would look nice collecting dust on the shelf along with John Steed's Bentley4. So I looked on e-bay with a view to bidding on a 1966 Corgi Models' 267 Batmobile (It had to be the 1966 version 267 as the early 1970's re-issues did not have the red bat-logo on the wheels, and some had towing hooks for the Batboat, for Heaven's sake. My standards haven't fallen that far).

If I still drank strong liquor, I should have had to calm myself with a double scotch.

You should see the prices even quite tatty models are fetching out there! It's insane. All the more so when I consider that the toy I had probably cost my parents around 5/- (25p) back then. Even allowing for forty years' inflation, that does not work out at £399.99 as I have seen a couple going for (I doubt they'll sell with an opening bid at that price, but I have seen them creep up in bidding wars from around £30 to well over £200). I still occasionally look to see what they are currently fetching on e-bay -this weekend in fact, thus this post- but this ritual has turned into a sort of morbid curiosity, which is laced with a deeper regret that I smacked the bejasus out of something that would have netted me a handsome profit all these years later.

Thank the Lord that I managed to hold onto all my old Lee & Kirby Fantastic Fours from the 1960s!



1Exacting to the point that I wouldn't mix toys of different scales beyond a certain point. I could just about accept a 1/72 scale Airfix aeroplane in the same game as an 00 scale Corgi car, the pilots were just rather tall, which of course they should be, since being a fighter pilot was a very glamorous job; but I looked with contempt at those kids who played happily with a 1/100 scale Matchbox double-decker bus and a 1/48 tank in the same game. What were they thinking?

2Someday archaeologists will wonder about the significance of this little plastic "ritual" object. If only I could be there to see their faces.

3Not in my little world they're not, thank you very much. Stop giggling at the back.

4It is a sign of how far my standards have slipped since I was 10 in that it does not worry me that the Corgi model of the car is based upon the 1927 Bentley in British Racing Green, whereas John Steed actually drove a 1935 Bentley in British Racing Green.
caddyman: (Default)
When I was a kid I looked after my toys. They got the odd chip in the paintwork from being played with if they were particular favourites, but by and large they didn't suffer much damage. Some of the more fragile plastic ones would get glued together when inevitable accidents occurred, but even they would not be harshly treated until the signs of obvious repair became to great to meet my exacting standards1.

Once a plastic model had deteriorated to the point of no return, it was fair game for destruction in the back garden with games involving stones, marbles and as many vocally-generated Ba-booms as I could manage. In Telford there is even a house with a busted model of Stingray built into its foundations, though that was accidental as it hadn't quite reached the level of degeneration required for toy martyrdom,2 and somewhere out on what the locals call the cinder-hills if they haven't been built on yet, there is a very weathered 40 year old catapault-fired Fireball XL-5 glider I lost when I was 7. I think it disappeared into a gorse bush, but that's only a guess. I never found it again much to my annoyance.

Anyway, the point is, that the metal toys, being generally more robust tended not to meet this sort of fate. When I finally grew out of toys, several neighbours' kids and junior cousins inherited a fair collection of toy cars and such pretty much in full working order, and only partially scratched or chipped.

Except for my Batmobile which one day fell victim to an unexpected and still unexplained bout of vandalism involving a claw hammer, a bottle of lighter fluid and a box of matches. I have always rather regretted that act of destruction, and have never properly explained to myself why I did it, other than noting thatI wished I hadn't done it almost as soon as I'd finished smashing it to smithereens.

Now, nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and I do have a fair collection of pointless if not worthless goo-gaws and totems around the house (excepting, of course, the TARDISes, which are neither worthless nor totems)3. It occurred to me that e-bay is the place to go to acquire a nostalgia-fuelled replacement for the toy I destroyed all those years ago. It would look nice collecting dust on the shelf along with John Steed's Bentley4. So I looked on e-bay with a view to bidding on a 1966 Corgi Models' 267 Batmobile (It had to be the 1966 version 267 as the early 1970's re-issues did not have the red bat-logo on the wheels, and some had towing hooks for the Batboat, for Heaven's sake. My standards haven't fallen that far).

If I still drank strong liquor, I should have had to calm myself with a double scotch.

You should see the prices even quite tatty models are fetching out there! It's insane. All the more so when I consider that the toy I had probably cost my parents around 5/- (25p) back then. Even allowing for forty years' inflation, that does not work out at £399.99 as I have seen a couple going for (I doubt they'll sell with an opening bid at that price, but I have seen them creep up in bidding wars from around £30 to well over £200). I still occasionally look to see what they are currently fetching on e-bay -this weekend in fact, thus this post- but this ritual has turned into a sort of morbid curiosity, which is laced with a deeper regret that I smacked the bejasus out of something that would have netted me a handsome profit all these years later.

Thank the Lord that I managed to hold onto all my old Lee & Kirby Fantastic Fours from the 1960s!



1Exacting to the point that I wouldn't mix toys of different scales beyond a certain point. I could just about accept a 1/72 scale Airfix aeroplane in the same game as an 00 scale Corgi car, the pilots were just rather tall, which of course they should be, since being a fighter pilot was a very glamorous job; but I looked with contempt at those kids who played happily with a 1/100 scale Matchbox double-decker bus and a 1/48 tank in the same game. What were they thinking?

2Someday archaeologists will wonder about the significance of this little plastic "ritual" object. If only I could be there to see their faces.

3Not in my little world they're not, thank you very much. Stop giggling at the back.

4It is a sign of how far my standards have slipped since I was 10 in that it does not worry me that the Corgi model of the car is based upon the 1927 Bentley in British Racing Green, whereas John Steed actually drove a 1935 Bentley in British Racing Green.

(no subject)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005 07:20 pm
caddyman: (moley)
Over on his LJ, my old friend [livejournal.com profile] telemeister and I have been reminiscing about school days at Adams’ Grammar School in Newport, Shropshire back in the 70s. The days when the world was garish, the music glittery, shoes platformed and clothes flared.

The mullet was the hair style of choice for many a spotty oik, and those of us who didn’t have one generally had long hair with centre partings. I recall that we were not allowed to grow a beard at school (one or two of us thought we could, but they were distinctly nu-metal Belgian beards, and hideous). I myself, in one of those rebellious streaks that you spend the rest of your life regretting1, had sideburns that stopped exactly one razor’s width apart. You couldn’t call them mutton-chop sideburns unless you were taking your sheep from Belsen, but they would have been had my face follicles been more accommodating between the ages of 16 and 20.

My mother told me that I looked like an idiot, and Dad (unwittingly quoting Rod Stewart) said we looked ridiculous.

You have to remember that I was only half the man then that I am now, almost literally. (I believe the weight gain over the past 25 years puts me officially one steak dinner away from being two people – neither of them anorexic).

This has sent me into something of a reverie, as I am choosing to remember the bits I liked, or rather of which I have fond memories. My good friend [livejournal.com profile] telemeister has rather darker memories of being bullied on occasion, but advancing senility has largely edited that sort of unpleasantness from my bonce. Thus it is that I can recall standing in the sun on the lawn behind Beaumaris House in the late summer of 1973 with a bunch of friends listening to Suzi Quatro singing Can the Can on the tranny,2.

The masters (for they were masters: no mere teachers for the likes of us) were an odd and unlikely bunch. Most of them (but not quite all) now retired, and many sadly deceased.

There was old Motty Mottershaw, the senior historian: a man with breath that could drop an elephant at twenty paces. His successor in waiting, one Rodney Rodders Jones, the cheery young history master who liked to pretend he was one of the chaps. A man who looked rather aghast when a friend of ours, John Cotterill (who later joined the army and who I believe is currently a major serving in Basra), hauled him over the coals in class for disparaging the achievements of the army in the First World War3.

And what of old Bernie Deakin, the world-weary giant of a chemistry teacher who would look balefully at miscreants and announce that he would “come down on them like a sack of bricks from a very, very great height” if they didn’t mend their ways?
There was, for a while, Tony Cave, the English Master who was also an Old Boy. This gave him an unfair advantage, because he always knew exactly where people went to skive off, carve their names in the masonry, or just have a smoke. He’s done it all himself ten years earlier. He like modern jazz, and drove around town in a half-timbered estate car with a double-bass sticking out of the back.

I think he may have been a Time Lord.

My favourite teacher was the eminently laidback Jerry Chambers, denizen of the art room and Beatle fan. He was permanently sad that the school no longer had a skiffle band, and bemoaned in a gentle way the fact that it (skiffle) had died out after a brief flowering, some 15 years earlier.

It transpired that my cousin was going out with, or was at least a friend of my old geography teacher, Tom “Master” Bate. In those days he was fresh from teacher training college and a dead shot at ten paces with a wooden board cleaner or piece of chalk. Of course, I had a certain licence in his class on account of my cousin. This was rather wasted by the fact that I quite liked geography, so paid attention instead of up.

Lastly, the man who closed the world of mathematics to me forever, with his cheerily boring lessons: Mr Edgoose, or Spock as he was known. He meant well, and wasn’t a particularly nasty man or anything like that. But Lord, could he bore for England. I do recall, though, his exasperated catch-phrase, “Watch the board while I go through it again.

There were many, many more notably Flash Newton, the communist biology teacher who had the good grace not to mention to anyone outside the staff room that in one of my essays on bird reproduction, I had consistently used the word ‘clitoris’ instead of ‘cloacae’ much to my later mortification and his amusement. These are the incidents that scar us, and the fact that he didn’t take the piss out of me in front of my class mates gives me just about the only fond memory I have of that man.

Still, that’s all for another day.

1Largely because you are never entirely sure that you have destroyed all the photographs

2I have covered this ground in previous entries: in the far more naïve 1970s a tranny was a radio, not a bloke in a dress saving up for the operation.

3I believe Johnny came very close to accusing him of treason and calling him out.

(no subject)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005 07:20 pm
caddyman: (moley)
Over on his LJ, my old friend [livejournal.com profile] telemeister and I have been reminiscing about school days at Adams’ Grammar School in Newport, Shropshire back in the 70s. The days when the world was garish, the music glittery, shoes platformed and clothes flared.

The mullet was the hair style of choice for many a spotty oik, and those of us who didn’t have one generally had long hair with centre partings. I recall that we were not allowed to grow a beard at school (one or two of us thought we could, but they were distinctly nu-metal Belgian beards, and hideous). I myself, in one of those rebellious streaks that you spend the rest of your life regretting1, had sideburns that stopped exactly one razor’s width apart. You couldn’t call them mutton-chop sideburns unless you were taking your sheep from Belsen, but they would have been had my face follicles been more accommodating between the ages of 16 and 20.

My mother told me that I looked like an idiot, and Dad (unwittingly quoting Rod Stewart) said we looked ridiculous.

You have to remember that I was only half the man then that I am now, almost literally. (I believe the weight gain over the past 25 years puts me officially one steak dinner away from being two people – neither of them anorexic).

This has sent me into something of a reverie, as I am choosing to remember the bits I liked, or rather of which I have fond memories. My good friend [livejournal.com profile] telemeister has rather darker memories of being bullied on occasion, but advancing senility has largely edited that sort of unpleasantness from my bonce. Thus it is that I can recall standing in the sun on the lawn behind Beaumaris House in the late summer of 1973 with a bunch of friends listening to Suzi Quatro singing Can the Can on the tranny,2.

The masters (for they were masters: no mere teachers for the likes of us) were an odd and unlikely bunch. Most of them (but not quite all) now retired, and many sadly deceased.

There was old Motty Mottershaw, the senior historian: a man with breath that could drop an elephant at twenty paces. His successor in waiting, one Rodney Rodders Jones, the cheery young history master who liked to pretend he was one of the chaps. A man who looked rather aghast when a friend of ours, John Cotterill (who later joined the army and who I believe is currently a major serving in Basra), hauled him over the coals in class for disparaging the achievements of the army in the First World War3.

And what of old Bernie Deakin, the world-weary giant of a chemistry teacher who would look balefully at miscreants and announce that he would “come down on them like a sack of bricks from a very, very great height” if they didn’t mend their ways?
There was, for a while, Tony Cave, the English Master who was also an Old Boy. This gave him an unfair advantage, because he always knew exactly where people went to skive off, carve their names in the masonry, or just have a smoke. He’s done it all himself ten years earlier. He like modern jazz, and drove around town in a half-timbered estate car with a double-bass sticking out of the back.

I think he may have been a Time Lord.

My favourite teacher was the eminently laidback Jerry Chambers, denizen of the art room and Beatle fan. He was permanently sad that the school no longer had a skiffle band, and bemoaned in a gentle way the fact that it (skiffle) had died out after a brief flowering, some 15 years earlier.

It transpired that my cousin was going out with, or was at least a friend of my old geography teacher, Tom “Master” Bate. In those days he was fresh from teacher training college and a dead shot at ten paces with a wooden board cleaner or piece of chalk. Of course, I had a certain licence in his class on account of my cousin. This was rather wasted by the fact that I quite liked geography, so paid attention instead of up.

Lastly, the man who closed the world of mathematics to me forever, with his cheerily boring lessons: Mr Edgoose, or Spock as he was known. He meant well, and wasn’t a particularly nasty man or anything like that. But Lord, could he bore for England. I do recall, though, his exasperated catch-phrase, “Watch the board while I go through it again.

There were many, many more notably Flash Newton, the communist biology teacher who had the good grace not to mention to anyone outside the staff room that in one of my essays on bird reproduction, I had consistently used the word ‘clitoris’ instead of ‘cloacae’ much to my later mortification and his amusement. These are the incidents that scar us, and the fact that he didn’t take the piss out of me in front of my class mates gives me just about the only fond memory I have of that man.

Still, that’s all for another day.

1Largely because you are never entirely sure that you have destroyed all the photographs

2I have covered this ground in previous entries: in the far more naïve 1970s a tranny was a radio, not a bloke in a dress saving up for the operation.

3I believe Johnny came very close to accusing him of treason and calling him out.

Dream nostalgia

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005 07:58 am
caddyman: (Default)
For the first time in many months, I remember the dream I had last night. This is rather unusual for me.

My subconscious seems to have turned to cheap spy pulp for inspiration: I dreamt that I was at a conference somewhere, and that I bumped into a woman I knew at college back in the late 70s. I have barely thought of her in the intervening quarter century, in that way people just slip out of your consciousness when they are completely absent from your sphere of friends or acquaintances for long enough.

Anyway, in my dream, Inga was suitably aged - the years had served her well, but she was not still the 18 or 22 year-old I knew back then, but still dressed in jeans and tee shirt. Whatever she was up to at the conference in the dream, it was clearly something she was anxious not to be recognised for. My "hello" was met with a moment's recognition followed by feigned incomprehension, and a shadowy other person would then begin running interference whenever I tried to contact her.

Very strange. I wonder what my subconscious is, or has been up to?

I recall my first day at college as a spotty 18 year old, sitting in a lecture theatre as part of the induction process, looking across the sea of faces, and trying to work out who in that crowd was the exotic tall blonde Swede called Inga Rutenberg. I found out some hours later, that she was neither blonde nor Swedish, not particularly tall either. And she was from Coventry.

I last saw her in 1982 with her husband to be, at a mutual friend's wedding. Contact with all long since lost, I find myself wondering what became of the mysterious and exotically named Inga...

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