What would we do without our cars? This Sunday morning, when I pulled back my bedroom curtains, there were twenty-three cars belonging to the eight houses immediately surrounding mine in Bradmore Way, all belonging to the house owners and recognisable as such: no visitors included.
How things have changed in my lifetime. I recall meeting a lady who was born in 1932 just round the corner from here and she told me that there was a total of just two cars in the whole of Bradmore Way, though the road was then missing some dozen houses that were built after World War Two. Just a couple of cars serving some hundred houses!
Six of the eight houses I counted on Sunday have families with grown-up children in them, which accounted for the multiple ownership, but still… One house, with four cars, belongs to a chap who rebuilds MGs as a hobby, so at least two of his four came into that category and another house includes three Jaguars, one of which is going to be sold.
By coincidence it was also in 1932 that my father bought his first car, a second-hand 1926 Morris Bullnose; it cost him the princely amount of £5, a little less than a week’s salary then for him; it served us well for three or four years, a good investment.
My own first car cost me nothing in the end. I bought it when I went out to Nigeria in 1951 and at that time there was no public transport for Europeans in Lagos, so Government bought it, a brand new Ford Consul for £500; I paid it back monthly but they paid me an allowance which was more each time.
If they ever take my driving licence away from me, I shall just curl up and die, I think, so I am just as guilty as my neighbours, but what the hell…
We hope to welcome back Alan Horwell today, now out of hospital following an accident which caused him to have serious breathing problems.
Jim Mulvey reports: A goodly number of our Members and their ladies spent a delightful weekend cruising the Gloucester Ship Canal. The snowstorms and foul cold weather of the first part of April made us nervous as we approached the date of departure, however the clouds rolled back for our weekend break and we cruised in beautiful sunshine the whole time; in fact it was so warm during our tour of the Slimbridge Water Fowl Trust, that many of us were glad to get back to our boat.
On the Saturday evening we had excellent entertainment on the boat, most of us being amazed at what can be achieved with a plastic Chinese trombone!
Unfortunately the last day or our break was marred for some by an outbreak of Norovirus which had managed to get aboard. The bug struck some on Saturday night and Sunday morning, laying low several of us including Jim Mulvey, Don Wilkinson, Anthea and Graham Fox, Brian and Nancy Thomas, Brenda Urquhart and Christine Barker. Fortunately after about 48 hours most sufferers had recovered, though Anthea Fox had to go to Gloucester hospital where, she reports, the care was really excellent.
All agreed that it was a wonderful way of spending the weekend, bugs excluded and must be repeated in the future.
Tuesday June 4th: Book it now for a splendid trip to Herstmonceux Castle & Obervatory¸organised by Ian Payne, phone 01737 554449.
Now, good drivers amongst us, we have something of a problem: Graham Fox who organises drivers to take unable-to-drivers to the PACE Club lunches on Thursdays or Fridays, says he could do with another two volunteers from us, to relieve the members doing it now. With only four drivers listed, another two (or more) would reduce the rate of duties.
Your Editor did this for years and made many friends amongst his passengers, but had to give it up when his health failed. It is just a matter of having a four-door car and being available to collect elderly folk from their homes late in the morning and delivering them to lunch at the PACE building in Landsdowne Road in Purley, then collecting them around 3 p.m. and taking them home.
So please, those of us aged 65 – 75, give Graham ring on 01737 556092.
It’s helpful to those in need of help and not difficult to perform
John Glenister came to tell us something of a service all of us never have to call on, Air Ambulances and in particular our local service which is a member of the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance Trust, established in 1989 in Kent and subsequently expanded to us in 2007.
Our AAT has just two helicopters to cover the 4.2 million of us who live in the 3,500 square miles it is responsible for, one in Kent and other at Redhill aerodrome. Called out only when a road ambulance would take too long to reach what is often a remote accident location, the helicopters can reach any site within a few minutes rather than hours by road. Both a doctor and a NHS paramedic are on board, so many results of accidents or illness can be dealt with immediately, or, after checking shows the need, the patient can be flown to a hospital, again within minutes. The patient is covered against the cold of the flight in bubble-wrap.
The helicopters are special, too. They don’t have the usual tail rotor one sees, instead each has two separate jet engines for safety. They can land just about anywhere beyond road accessibility, though one supposes a careful check is made that there are no ‘phone or electricity wires in the way, a danger that the pilot – usually an ex-Service man – is well aware of.
This service continues to develop, particularly in the supply of more helicopters, for each of the current two have a six-week servicing. (It is notable that our Trust, with two ‘copters, has twice as many a London with one serving some 11 million people).
So what does this service cost the Trust? Each call-out averages £2,500 and all costs amount to some £5 million per annum, nearly all of which has to be raised from charities and legacies.
Today:Alan & Vera Baker go into history with tales of the
British Music Hall.
June 6th:Neil Sadler tells us of a policeman’s lot, or “when is a bomb not a bomb?”
July 4th:R M Skelton, MBE, is the Principal Doorkeeper to the
House of Lords, so he should have lots of tales to tell us.
August 15th: Note late date: The Silk Road in Burma and Bhutan, ` described by Mike Murray.
September 5th: Bomber Command at War, by Rupert Matthews.
Words, Words, Words
By Roger Brunton
When I was working in Widnes, my secretary, finding that I was from the other side of the Pennines, very kindly bought me a copy of Teach Yourself Scouse, even though Widnes has a very different accent – even a different language – from that of Liverpool. I don’t think that those of us born in the West Riding have ever felt it necessary to provide a similar volume for the guidance of strangers, but there were and probably still are distinctive words and usages. We even have our own shibboleth, allegedly being unable to say the word Bradford, pronouncing it Bratford instead.
A good deal of the dialect and usage of Yorkshire is due to its occupation by the Danes a thousand years ago. For example, in many towns the road to the church is Kirkgate, rather than Church Street, whilst the medieval wall gates to places such as York or Beverley are Bars. Even the county was divided into Ridings and subdivided into Wapentakes, rather than Hundreds as elsewhere in the country; though used for nothing else these days, Wapentakes are sill beloved by Family History Societies and I regularly receive a booklet called Claro Ancestors.
When I was young and we went out to play, we were said to be ‘laikin’, but as we grew older we found our elders used the word in a different sense: if they were ‘laikin’ it meant they were laid off or working short time. Whilst playing outside in winter we might end up ‘starved to death’; not hungry – though we might well have been – but freezing cold in our short trousers. Older boys might threaten to ‘bray’ us if we got in the way of their games, but the real danger was that we forgot the time and were late for our tea (if we had lived a bit further west it would have been ‘us tea’), in which case there was the fear that ‘me Mam will pay war wi’ us’, definitely not a friendly game with toy soldiers!
Again, as we grew up we became aware of the curious code by which our elders responded to enquiries about their health. These could vary from ‘fair to middlin’, implying robust good health, via a range of subtle variations through ‘middlin’ to ‘nobbut middlin’ which meant that the individual was at death’s door. Yorkshiremen have always had a morbid interest in death, hence our national anthem ‘On Ilkla Moor baht ‘at’ with its gruesome tale of cannibalism at two stages removed. Sadly I read somewhere recently that only a minority of Yorkshire children now know the words of this epic. Nevertheless it is probably still true to say that you should never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire, on the grounds that if he does he will already have told you and if he is not a Yorkshireman he will only feel humiliated.